This book examines how media coverage helped to define and shape the gay marriage debate as well as gay rights activism during the period 2003–2012. Through an analysis of media reports and in-depth interviews with leaders of the modern gay rights movement, it investigates how media frames and activist discourses evolved surrounding the issue of same-sex marriage. It looks at the aims and challenges of leading gay rights activists who sought to harness the power of mainstream news media to advocate for their cause and reform images of their community. It also considers how gay and lesbian rights groups attempted to shape coverage of the same-sex marriage debate, and what images and narratives about gay and lesbian life activists foregrounded. Finally, it discusses ways in which media attention surrounding the gay-marriage issue reshaped the structure, organization, and goals of the contemporary gay rights movement. This introduction provides an overview of the legal and political contexts of gay marriage in the United States, the rise of gay-themed media, and the research approach and plan of the book.

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