E.J. Graff

E.J. Graff writes on social-justice and human-rights issues, particularly discrimination and violence against women and children; marriage and family policy; and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender lives. She is a resident scholar at the Brandeis Women's Studies Research Center and the author of What Is Marriage For? The Strange Social History of Our Most Intimate Institution (Beacon Press, 1999, 2004).

Recent Articles

What Does Global Warming Look Like?

What does climate change look like? These pictures give you a glimpse. Here’s the featured expert’s quote: “I was still completely unprepared for the gob-smacking scale of the breakup, which rendered me speechless." Me too.

Some Things You May Have Missed

Everyone's favorite state, Arizona, is working to balance its budget with a new tax -- er, fee -- on poor folks. If you had to balance a budget, wouldn't you find the poorest and least educated families, the most likely to have families afflicted by crime and addiction, and charge 'em $25 to visit their brothers, mothers, and cousins in jail? Remember that horrifying gang rape of a child in rural Texas? Nineteen boys and men raped an 11-year-old girl -- and the initial New York Times reporting heavily quoted residents who thought the child was a slut who dressed like a prostitute and probably brought it on herself. In this month's GQ , Kathy Dobie takes an in-depth look at the stew of influences that enable such a horror . Does abortion stop when it's illegal? Yeah, right. Check out the experience of Colombia, where 30 percent of pregnancies end in abortion, more than 99 percent of them illegal. One in 26 Colombian women had an abortion in 2008; one-third of those resulted in "medical...

Yesterday in the Ongoing Saga over the Withering Defense of Marriage Act ...

As you may know, there are three current battlefronts in the effort to repeal DOMA, the Defense of Marriage Act. One's in Congress: Senators Feinstein and Nadler have introduced a bill, The Respect for Marriage Act , that won't go anywhere in an election year. Another is in several federal courts: a series of lawsuits are underway on behalf of same-sex couples who are legally married in their home states -- Massachusetts, New York, California -- but, because of DOMA, do not have their marriages recognized by the federal government. In that second front, Obama's Justice Department this year declined to defend the law, saying that it believed DOMA to be unconstitutional. Yesterday's news comes in the third, and splashiest, front: Perry v. Schwarzenegger (now, Perry v. Brown ), the Ted Olson/David Boies lawsuit against California's Proposition 8 . The backstory is incredibly tangled and technical, but here are the most important points: In 2008, California's courts opened marriage to...

No More Family Secrets

The New York Times ran an astounding story yesterday about a sperm donor with 150 offspring . Imagine having 149 half-siblings, putting you in one of the biggest genetic families in history. Jacqueline Mroz's piece nicely explored some of the ethical queasiness and consequences of leaving family-making entirely to the free market. Here's the key quote: "We have more rules that go into place when you buy a used car than when you buy sperm," said Debora L. Spar, president of Barnard College and author of "The Baby Business: How Money, Science and Politics Drive the Commerce of Conception." "It's very clear that the dealer can't sell you a lemon, and there's information about the history of the car. There are no such rules in the fertility industry right now." Should these rules (or libertarian lack thereof) really be left up to the buyers and sellers, making people into commodities? It's hard for those in the throes of baby hunger to think through all the possible complications that lie...

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