News Release
University Affairs Office
1801 E. Cotati Avenue
Rohnert Park, CA 94928-3609
(707) 664-2057
    February 23, 2004
    Contact: Jean Wasp, Media Relations Coordinator, (707) 664-2057


Professors Available for Comment on History, Politics and
Legal Issues of Same-Sex Marriage

The following Sonoma State University professors are available for commentary on issues surrounding same-sex marriage. Please contact them at the information listed below.


Nan Alamilla Boyd, professor of Women’s and Gender Studies at Sonoma State University, is available for comment on the same-sex marriages that are occurring in the city of San Francisco.

She is an expert on San Francisco history and the history of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender communities in the U.S. Boyd has written extensively on Gay-Lesbian-Bisexual-Transgender history and her recently-published book, "Wide Open Town: A History of Queer San Francisco," has been enthusiastically reviewed in both the academic press and popular news media.

The San Francisco Chronicle listed "Wide Open Town" as one of the Best Books of 2003. Boyd has been featured on KRON TV, and her book has been reviewed by a host of local and national news outlets.

“It is no surprise that the city of San Francisco has become the site for a national challenge to the Defense of Marriage Act,” Boyd maintains. “The city has a long history of bucking the status quo.”

“San Francisco led the way on gay and lesbian civil rights with a challenge to police raids on gay bars that resulted in a 1951 California Supreme Court decision that legalized the public assembly of homosexuals – the first such
ruling in the United States,” Boyd notes.“San Francisco was also the place where the first known lesbian and gay civil rights organizations were headquartered.”

“Most importantly,” Boyd argues, “San Francisco has a long tradition of defying the rules. That’s why the people of San Francisco overwhelmingly support Mayor Gavin Newsom’s decision. San Francisco prides itself on being
iconoclastic. During the Prohibition Era, for instance, San Francisco refused to use city funds to prosecute infractions to federal or state law prohibiting the production and sale of alcohol.”

During Prohibition, San Francisco went on drinking. Similarly, as the Defense of Marriage Act heats up, San Francisco defiantly has begun to marry same-sex couples.” With history analysis, Boyd can provide the background for the ‘gay marriage’ controversy that has erupted in San Francisco. She can explain what it is about San Francisco, as an urban center, that set the stage for the history-making events of the last several weeks.

Boyd teaches in the fields of feminist theory and gender studies, with a specific emphasis on the history of local queer politics.

Main Office: (707) 664-2840
Direct Line: (707) 664-2574


David McCuan, professor of political science at Sonoma State University, is available for available for comment on the same-sex marriages that are occurring in the city of San Francisco.

Dr. McCuan is an expert on California state and local politics. He has written extensively in this area, including a specific focus on the rise of nationwide bans across the U.S. in his book, "Initiative – Centered Politics: The New Politics of Direct Democracy," which will be published later this Spring.

He can speak to the broader issues affecting politics based on actions taking place in San Francisco, across the country, and in Washington, D.C. For example, the ban on same sex marriages is the new trend to watch at the
ballot box.

The issue was first tested in Hawaii and in Alaska in 1998 and in California in March 2000. From these victories, proponents of this issue moved inland placing the issue on ballots in Nebraska and Nevada where they both passed
handily giving rise to the chances that this reform is here to stay and likely to flourish as a battle on ballots across the country.

McCuan has provided commentary and analysis to CNN, The Wall Street Journal, as well as regional and national news outlets on the politics and practices of state politics.

McCuan teaches in the fields of state and local politics, campaigns and elections, and political behavior. He is also graduate coordinator of the Master’s in Public Administration program at the University.

Main Office: (707) 664-2179
Direct Line: (707) 664-3309


Craig N.Winston, assistant professor of criminal justice administration at Sonoma State University is available to discuss the recent proposal for a Constitutional Amendment to ban same-sex marriages. He is an expert in criminal law and procedure and civil liberties and has conducted a significant amount of research in these areas. He is well-versed in the legal issues related to the proposed Amendment and the legal issues faced by those who are opposed to current California law.

He is available to discuss the historical purpose of the Bill of Rights, the Amendment process, the legal impact of a Constitutional Amendment, and other substantive issues related to proposed Constitutional ban on same-sex

Winston teaches a number of courses in law including civil liberties and criminal procedure as well as courses in policing and criminological theory.

Main Office: (707) 664-2934
Direct Line: (707) 664-2159


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Last Modified: 02/24/2004