Speak Now

Buy From Amazon Buy from Barnes & Noble Buy from Indie Bound

Speak Now
Marriage Equality On Trial

A distinguished constitutional law scholar, Kenji Yoshino was also a newly married gay man who at first felt ambivalent about the suit. Nonetheless, he recognized that Chief Judge Vaughn Walker’s decision to hold a trial in the case was momentous. Boies and Olson rose to the occasion, deftly deploying arguments that LGBT advocates had honed through years of litigation and debate.

Reading the 3,000-page transcript, Yoshino discovered a shining civil rights document–the most rigorous and compelling exploration he had seen of the nature of marriage, the political status of gays and lesbians, the ideal circumstances for raising children, and the inability of direct democracy to protect fundamental rights. After that tense twelve-day trial, Walker issued a resounding and historic ruling: California’s exclusion of same-sex couples from civil marriage violated the U.S. Constitution. In June 2013, the United States Supreme Court denied the final appeal in Hollingsworth v. Perry, leaving same-sex couples in California free to marry.

Drawing on interviews with lawyers and witnesses on both sides of the case, Yoshino takes us deep inside the trial. He brings the legal arguments to life, not only through his account of the case, but also by sharing his own story of finding love, marrying, and having children. Vivid, compassionate, and beautifully written, Speak Now is both a nuanced and authoritative account of a landmark trial, and a testament to how the clash of proofs in our judicial process can bring a debate to the ultimate level of clarity.

Crown, 2015
Hardcover/384 pages
ISBN 0385348800
eBook ISBN 9780385348812

Transcript of Proceedings in Perry v. Schwarzenegger

Summary Judgment Hearing

Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4Day 5 | Day 6 | Day 7 | Day 8Day 9 | Day 10 | Day 11 | Day 12 |

Closing Argument

Advance Praise for SPEAK NOW

“Precision and compassion are frequently opposed, but Kenji Yoshino writes with almost fanatical clarity about the vulnerabilities of the human heart.  His hard-won ability to imbue intellectual conundrums with moral certainty, his meticulous reporting on legal mechanisms and procedures, and his willingness to acknowledge his personal interest in Perry without indulging it to boost his arguments are all signs of his penetrating mind and dignified spirit.  His exquisite restraint and quiet eloquence imbue this book, which is as much a triumph of poetry as it is of legal reasoning.”
ANDREW SOLOMON, author of Far from the Tree

“Kenji Yoshino combines, in a breathtakingly beautiful way, the personal and legal aspects of the battle for marriage equality. The result is a poignant and powerful book that triumphs both as a human drama and a celebration of the judicial process. By the end, I had tears in my eyes.”
WALTER ISAACSON, author of The Innovators

 Speak Now is a beautifully and scrupulously written account of why facts matter, why trials matter, and why courts are well situated to unearth complex truths. It’s also a story of why love matters and how the law – at its best – makes love visible to the rest of us.”
DAHLIA LITHWICK, Legal Correspondent, Slate

“Kenji Yoshino’s Speak Now proves anew that marriage is that sacred place where love meets law. This glorious human rights story, elegantly recounted by one whose own life has been transformed, should change forever the global conversation about the real meaning of same-sex marriage.”
—HAROLD HONGJU KOH, Sterling Professor of International Law, Yale Law School

 “In this marvelously intricate tale of ‘two civil ceremonies’—a marriage and a trial—Kenji Yoshino offers brilliant insights into the ways a well-run civil trial can serve as an engine of cultural awakening.”
LAURENCE TRIBE, Carl M. Loeb University Professor, Harvard University

 “The beauty and elegance of Yoshino’s writing about law at times stops you short. There will likely be no more important trial about same-sex marriage than Hollingsworth v. Perry and there will likely be no more important book about that trial than this one.”
DALE CARPENTER, author of Flagrant Conduct; Earl R. Larson Professor of Civil Rights & Civil Liberties Law, University of Minnesota Law School

“In this deeply reasoned and highly personal retelling of the most important marriage-equality case so far, Kenji Yoshino shows that the United States still has a living constitution that evolves in response to social norms as presented by able attorneys and reflected in judicial opinions. Speak Now reminds us just how much lawyers and judges matter in America.”
EDWARD J. LARSON, author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Summer for the Gods; University Professor, Pepperdine

“Beautifully crafted…A celebration of the power of the adversarial system, at its best, to distinguish fact from bombast. In Kenji Yoshino Hollingsworth v. Perry has found it’s ideal chronicler.”
ANTHONY APPIAH, author of The Honor Code; Professor of Philosophy and Law, New York University

Speak Now shows how trial courts are uniquely well positioned to evaluate the truth or falsehood of ‘legislative facts’—broad empirical propositions that are often politically contested—in ways that can advance equality and liberty. ‘Let there be a trial,’ Yoshino concludes, and by vividly describing the gay rights trial of the new century, he has created a gripping and memorable constitutional narrative.”
JEFFREY ROSEN, author of The Supreme Court; Professor of Law, George Washington University Law School

“Kenji Yoshino seamlessly weaves together the story of the landmark litigation over same-sex marriage in California, incisive insights about the power of trials, and personal reflections about his own marriage and parenting. The result is a captivating introduction to the issues of fact, law, and meaning surrounding marriage equality.”
MARTHA MINOW, Morgan and Helen Chu Dean and Professor, Harvard Law School

“Eloquent, lucid, and profoundly moving…Yoshino demonstrates how the careful and respectful procedures of the courtroom can separate fact from prejudice, and perhaps even allow the distilled light of reality to mend passionate social divisions. He has written a compelling tale for our zealous and polarized times.”
—ROBERT POST, Dean and Sol & Lillian Professor of Law, Yale Law School

“A stirring paean to the critical role of the rule of law—and the beauty of reason–in the cause of justice.”
—LINDA HIRSHMAN, author of Victory: The Triumphant Gay Revolution

Speak Now is a uniquely thoughtful account of one of the most important legal trials of our generation, from someone who truly understands the movement for equality. Part history lesson, part personal narrative, part analysis—all from a brilliant legal mind.”
RICHARD SOCARIDES, former Senior Adviser to President Bill Clinton