Books Worth Reading

The Essential Guide to Gay and Lesbian Weddings
by Tess Ayers. Harper San Francisco, 1994. $17.00, pb.
For anyone who ever considered a Holy Union, a Commitment Ceremony, or any other formalized relationship agreement, this book holds all the answers. From the basic question of why a gay or lesbian couple should have a wedding, through all the stages of planning any kind of ceremony, from a small group of friends, to an ultra-formal, ultra-traditional, inviting-half-the-community Event, Ayers has answers, suggestions, and examples. And it’s fun to read, too!

Same-Sex Unions in Premodern Europe
by John Boswell. Vintage, 1994. $13.00, pb.
Those familiar with John Boswell’s Christianity, Social Tolerance and Homosexuality (University of Chicago Press, 1980) will find the same level of high scholarship and richly evocative writing in this, his final work. From the fourth century to the Byzantine age, he has uncovered ceremonies of commitment between same-sex couples, once sanctioned by many churches, including the Catholic and Eastern Orthodox.

The Case for Same-Sex Marriage: From Sexual Liberty to Civilized Commitment
by William Eskridge Jr. Free Press, 1996. $25.00, hc.
This timely and thought-provoking book should be read by anyone interested in the question of same-sex marriage. Eskridge offers evidence that the objection to it is really a modern Western phenomena, and goes on to argue that legalizing homosexual marriages is the next step to social maturity, and why. He includes an Appendix of letters from the clergy of a wide variety of denominations in support of legalization, which is sure to be a surprise.