Langston Hughes, whose literary legacy is enormous and varied, was closeted, but homosexuality was an important influence on his literary imagination, and many of his poems may be read as gay texts.
The writers of the Beat Generation, many of whom were gay or bisexual, endorsed gay rights as a part of their rebellion against inhibition and self-censorship.
The Comedy of Manners, which flourished on the Restoration stage, has been particularly amenable to twentieth-century gay male writers as a vehicle for social satire in both dramatic and nondramatic works.
Using his and his family's experiences, particularly his childhood in Raleigh, North Carolina, and his own wacky perspective on life, David Sedaris has become a world-famous humorist, comedian, writer, playwright, and radio personality.
From the great modernist writers of the 1920s and 1930s to the pulp writers of the 1950s to the lesbian writers of today, lesbian novelists have had a powerful impact on the lesbian community.
From its beginning, the nineteenth century in England had a purposeful homosexual literature of considerable bulk, both male and female, though it was fettered by oppression.
Persecuted for his homosexuality by the Castro government he had once championed, Cuban novelist, essayist, and poet Reinaldo Arenas challenged all types of ideological dogmatism.
Baudelaire was among the first French poets to include lesbians as subjects.
In a brief filed on February 22, 2013, the Department of Justice asked the Supreme Court of the United States to declare unconstitutional Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). In its brief arguing the merits in United States v. Windsor, the Justice Department said that "Section 3 of DOMA violates the fundamental constitutional guarantee of equal protection. The law denies to tens of thousands of same-sex couples who are legally married under state law an array of important federal benefits that are available to legally married opposite-sex couples. Because this discrimination cannot be justified as substantially furthering any important governmental interest, Section 3 is unconstitutional."
The brief, signed by Solicitor General Donald B. Verrilli and openly gay Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Stuart Delery, also asserts that laws impacting gay men and lesbians warrant "heightened scrutiny."
The government argues that "gay and lesbian people have suffered a significant history of discrimination in this country" and that "[t]he federal government, state and local governments, and private parties all have contributed to a regrettable history of discrimination against gay and lesbian people in a variety of contexts," ranging from employment and immigration discrimination to police raids of gay bars.
The Justice Department also cites the history of marriage referenda to buttress the argument of our relative political powerlessness. Pointing to the long string of defeats at the ballot box that have only recently been reversed, the brief notes that "Only six states, by comparison, have conferred marriage rights to same-sex couples through the political process; the other three have through judicial decision. That is not a convincing record of political power rendering protection unnecessary."
The brief disputes the rationalizations for DOMA proffered by the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group, which is defending the constitutionality of DOMA on behalf of the House of Representatives. It also rejects BLAG's argument that the Court should "allow the democratic process to run its course."
Instead, it continues, "deference to the democratic process must give way to the fundamental constitutional command of equal treatment under law. Section 3 of DOMA targets the many gay and lesbian people legally married under state law for a harsh form of discrimination that bears no relation to their ability to contribute to society. It is abundantly clear that this discrimination does not substantially advance an interest in protecting marriage, or any other important interest. The statute simply cannot be reconciled with the Fifth Amendment's guarantee of equal protection. The Constitution therefore requires that Section 3 be invalidated."
The 67-page brief may be read in its entirety below.
In the video below, Lavi Solaway, founder of The DOMA Project appears on MSNBC to discuss the brief with Thomas Roberts.