This essay examines how lawyers and judges have framed the question of children's queerness in litigation over same-sex marriage. First, it argues that in United States v. Windsor and Obergefell v. Hodges, the US Supreme Court invoked the tropes of dignity, injury, and immutability to set the outer limits of sexual liberty for both children and adults. Next, the essay looks back to the early work of queer theorists, legal scholars, and lawyers to unearth a more promising vision of law's relationship to children's queerness. By juxtaposing how two judges approached the possibility of the gay child in Utah and California, it develops a claim that has yet to be vindicated—that the US Constitution protects every child's right to be queer.

References

References
American Academy of Pediatrics
et al.  
.
2008
.
Just the Facts about Sexual Orientation and Youth: A Primer for Principals, Educators, and School Personnel
. www.apa.org/pi/lgbt/resources/just-the-facts.pdf.
American Psychiatric Association
.
2013
.
Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders
.
5th ed.
Arlington, VA
:
American Psychiatric Association
.
American Psychological Association
.
2006
.
Brief of Amicus Curiae in Support of Plaintiffs-Appellees for Citizens for Equal Prot. v. Bruning. 455 F.3d 859 (8th Cir.) (No. 05-2604)
.
Balkin
Jack
.
1997
.
“The Constitution of Status.”
Yale Law Journal
, no.
106
:
2313
74
.
Benkov
Laura
.
1994
.
Reinventing the Family: The Emerging Story of Lesbian and Gay Parents
.
New York
:
Crown
.
Berlant
Lauren
.
1997
.
The Queen of America Goes to Washington City: Essays on Sex and Citizenship
.
Durham, NC
:
Duke University Press
.
———.
1998
.
“Intimacy: A Special Issue.”
Critical Inquiry
, no.
24
.
Boucai
Michael
.
2012
.
“Sexual Liberty and Same-Sex Marriage: The Argument from Bisexuality.”
San Diego Law Review
49
, no.
2
:
168
,
415–53
.
Brown
Wendy
.
1995
.
States of Injury: Power and Freedom in Late Modernity
.
Princeton
:
Princeton University Press
.
Butler
Judith
.
2002
.
“Is Kinship Always Already Heterosexual?”
In
Left Legalism / Left Critique
, edited by
Brown
Wendy
Halley
Janet
,
229
58
.
Durham, NC
:
Duke University Press
.
Carpenter
Dale
.
2012
.
Flagrant Conduct: The Story of Lawrence v. Texas: How a Bedroom Arrest Decriminalized Gay Americans
.
New York
:
Norton
.
Clarke
Jessica
.
2015
.
“Against Immutability.”
Yale Law Journal
125
, no.
1
. www.yalelawjournal.org/article/against-immutability.
Clendinen
Dudley
Nagourney
Adam
.
1999
.
Out for Good: The Struggle to Build a Gay Rights Movement in America
.
New York
:
Simon and Schuster
.
Duggan
Lisa
.
1994
.
“Queering the State.”
Social Text
, no.
39
:
1
14
.
Eckholm
Erik
.
2012
.
“Gay ‘Cure’ for Minors Is Banned in California.”
New York Times
,
October
1
.
Edelman
Lee
.
2004
.
No Future: Queer Theory and the Death Drive
.
Durham, NC
:
Duke University Press
.
Feinberg
Joel
.
1980
.
“The Child's Right to an Open Future.”
In
Whose Child? Children's Rights, Parental Authority, and State Power
, edited by
Aiken
William
LaFollette
Hugh
,
124
53
.
Totowa, NJ
:
Rowman and Littlefield
.
Fejes
Fred
.
2008
.
Gay Rights and Moral Panic: The Origins of America's Debate on Homosexuality
.
New York
:
Palgrave Macmillan
.
Franke
Katherine
.
2004
.
“The Domesticated Liberty of Lawrence v. Texas.”
Columbia Law Review
104
:
1399
1527
.
Gilden
Andrew
.
2013
.
“Cyberbullying and the Innocence Narrative.”
Harvard Civil Rights–Civil Liberties Law Review
48
:
357
407
.
Greenberg
Julie A.
2012
.
Intersexuality and the Law: Why Sex Matters
.
New York
:
New York University Press
.
GLSEN and Harris Interactive
.
2012
.
Playgrounds and Prejudice: Elementary School Climate in the United States, A Survey of Students and Teachers
.
New York
:
GLSEN
.
Hall
Stuart
et al.  
.
1978
.
Policing the Crisis: Mugging, the State, and Law and Order
.
New York
:
Palgrave Macmillan
.
Halley
Janet
.
1994
.
“Sexual Orientation and the Politics of Biology: A Critique of the Argument from Immutability.”
Stanford Law Review
36
, no.
3
:
503
68
.
Prentice
Ron
et al.  
.
2008
.
Arguments in Favor of Proposition 8
.
California General Election Official Voter Information Guide
. vigarchive.sos.ca.gov/2008/general/argu-rebut/argu-rebutt8.htm.
Rachmilovitz
Orly
.
2014
.
“Family Assimilation Demands and Sexual Minority Youth.”
Minnesota Law Review
, no.
98
:
1374
1452
.
Rosky
Clifford J.
2009
.
“Like Father, Like Son: Homosexuality, Parenthood, and the Gender of Homophobia.”
Yale Journal of Law and Feminism
20
, no.
2
:
257
355
.
———.
2013a
.
“No Promo Hetero: Children's Right to Be Queer.”
Cardozo Law Review
35
:
425
510
.
———.
2013b
.
“Fear of the Queer Child.”
Buffalo Law Review
, no.
61
:
607
97
.
Ruskola
Teemu
.
1996
.
“Minor Disregard: The Legal Construction of the Fantasy That Gay and Lesbian Youth Do Not Exist.”
Yale Journal of Law and Feminism
8
, no.
2
:
269
331
.
Schmeiser
Susan R.
2009
.
“Changing the Immutable.”
Connecticut Law Review
41
, no.
5
:
1495
1522
.
Sedgwick
Eve Kosofsky
.
1990
.
Epistemology of the Closet
.
Berkeley
:
University of California Press
.
———.
1991
.
“How to Bring Your Kids Up Gay.”
Social Text
, no.
29
:
18
27
.
Skougard
Erika D.
2011
.
“The Best Interests of Transgender Children.”
Utah Law Review
, no.
3
:
1161
1201
.
Stockton
Kathryn Bond
.
2009
.
The Queer Child, or Growing Sideways in the Twentieth Century
.
Durham, NC
:
Duke University Press
.
Valdes
Francisco
.
1995
.
“Queer Legal Theory.”
California Law Review
83
, no.
1
:
344
77
.
Vidal
Gore
.
1981
.
“Some Jews and the Gays.”
Nation
,
November
14
,
508
17
.
Warner
Michael
.
1999
.
The Trouble with Normal: Sex, Politics, and the Ethics of Queer Life
.
Cambridge, MA
:
Harvard University Press
.
Yoshino
Kenji
.
2006
.
Covering: The Hidden Assault on Our Civil Rights
.
New York
:
Random House
.