Release Date: June 26, 2013
BUFFALO, N.Y. – A pioneering academic and gay activist at the University at Buffalo has praised today’s U.S. Supreme Court decision on same-sex marriage as “the biggest advance in queer rights since the Lawrence v. Texas decision in 2003, which overturned anti-sodomy laws.”
Art historian Jonathan D. Katz, UB professor of visual studies and founder of the Harvey Milk Institute in San Francisco, is one of nation’s most prominent experts in queer studies, the academic discipline examining sexual orientation and gender identity.
“DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act) was our Jim Crow, a law that made manifest our inequality, our status as second-class citizens who could be discriminated against with legal impunity,” he says.
“With its demise, same-sex marriage now has real teeth, real tangible benefits. We will see a huge upsurge in same sex marriages in the next year as many more couples opt for the real, as opposed to the largely symbolic, state benefits of marriage.
“And, as the justice gap between states that have ratified same-sex marriage and states that still discriminate against us grows, the American public will grow increasingly uncomfortable with this division, and the inevitable result will be freedom to marry across the land.”
In late 2010, Katz co-curated the groundbreaking exhibition “Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture” at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C. The popular show was the first prominent American museum exhibition devoted to gay and lesbian themes.
Jonathan D. Katz
Director, Visual Studies Doctoral Program
University at Buffalo