Angry debate over gay marriage has divided the nation as no other issue since the Vietnam War. Why has marriage suddenly emerged as the most explosive issue in the gay struggle for equality? At times it seems to have come out of nowhere-but in fact it has a history. George Chauncey offers an electrifying analysis of the history of the shifting attitudes of heterosexual Americans toward gay people, from the dramatic growth in acceptance to the many campaigns against gay rights that form the background to today's demand for a constitutional amendment. Chauncey illuminates what's at stake for both sides of this contentious debate in this essential book for gay and straight readers alike.