My dissertation, “Deviant Justice: Gay Rights and Mental Health in America since 1973,” examines the central role that mental health theories and professionals played in the evolution of gay rights legislation and litigation after the American Psychiatric Association declassified homosexuality as a mental illness in 1973. Through studies of lesbian mother custody cases, gay and lesbian foster care and adoption bans, ballot initiatives to repeal and prohibit sexual orientation anti-discrimination laws, battles over school curricula, and debates over marriage equality, my dissertation reveals how ideas about mental health contoured the gay rights movement and the conservative backlash to it. By analyzing the development of gay rights at the local and state levels, and across public and private legal spheres, my dissertation highlights the trajectory of gay civil liberties beyond the constitutional arguments that are at the center of many studies on gay rights. It also raises broader questions about the intersection of science and law, examining how changes in scientific thought have impacted legal rights and analyzing the normative implications of this relationship.
I am currently an Associate-in-Law at Columbia Law School. My research has been supported by numerous grants, including Yale’s John Morton Blum Fellowship, the Yale University Fund for Lesbian and Gay Studies, and Cornell University’s Phil Zwickler Memorial Research Grant.
My work has appeared in the Journal of the History of Sexuality, Columbia Journal of Gender and Law and the National Black Law Journal, and my article on lesbian mother custody cases will soon be published in the Law and History Review.
I graduated from Georgetown University in 2003 and received a Master’s from Oxford University in 2006. I graduated from Columbia Law School in 2007, after which I worked as a prosecutor at the Miami State Attorney’s Office and as a litigation associate at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison in New York.
For more information, visit www.marieameliegeorge.com.