Sexual and Gender Variation in American Public Law: From Malignant to Benign to Productive
William N. Eskridge, Jr.* 
57 UCLA L. Rev. 1333

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Sexuality, gender, and the law now constitutes an important field of legal inquiry and scholarship. This Article traces the evolution of the “big idea” in this area: Contrary to natural law assumptions, the nation is moving decisively toward the norm that sexual and gender variation are typically benign and not malignant. Today, this liberal norm is hotly contested by both traditionalists who oppose legal reforms that require them to accommodate sexual and gender minorities, and progressives who argue that the norm should be pressed more aggressively to assail status quo institutions such as marriage. The notion that sexual and gender variation is benign and can be educational continues to revolutionize American constitutional as well as statutory law.

* John A. Garver Professor of Jurisprudence, Yale Law School.

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