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Sexuality and the Law  

Last Updated: Nov 15, 2016 URL: Print Guide RSS UpdatesEmail Alerts

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Search Terms for Beginning Research

Where to start:

When you are unfamiliar with a legal topic area, it is best to begin by familiarizing yourself with the area of law you are researching.  Legal encyclopedias are a great place to start for this research. Not only does a legal encyclopedia give you a general understanding of the state of the law for a specific topic area, but it also can provide you with the legal terminology used in that area of law, which will help you conduct more refined searches.  The following resources are located in the Reference Collection on the third floor of the Library, near the Reference Desk.  

Corpus Juris Secundum (CJS) and American Jurisprudence 2d (Am Jur 2d) are legal encyclopedias that give a nationwide perspective of the law on a particular legal topic.

CJS search:

Am Jur 2d search: Florida Jurisprudence and Georgia Jurisprudence are located in the Regional Collection on the third floor of the Library.

Florida Jurisprudence (Fla Jur) provides a complete statement of the law on a particular topic in the state of Florida.

Search: Georgia Jurisprudence (Ga Jur) provides a complete statement of the law on a particular topic in the state of Georgia. 


The LTC uses the Library of Congress Subject Headings for classifying resources in the LTC catalog.  The Library of Congress has designated ‘K’ as the subject heading for law.  ‘KF’ is used for United States law, and ‘KFF’ is the subject heading for United States law for the state of Florida.    Below is a list of subject headings related to sexuality and the law. 

Sex and law--United States.            Homosexuality--Law and legislation--United States.

Gay rights--United States.               Gays--Legal status, laws, etc.--United States.

Sexual orientation--United States.   Gay men--Crimes against.

Lesbians--Crimes against.              Transsexuals--Crimes against.

Hate crimes.                                     Lesbians--Legal status, laws, etc.--United States.

Homophobia.                                    Same-sex marriage--United States.

Same-sex marriage--Law and legislation--United States.

Same-sex marriage--Political aspects--United States.

Additional resources that are good for beginning your research are legal treatises.  See a sample listing of treatises by opening the Advanced Research tab of this research guide.   



How to Use This Guide

This guide is meant to take you from start to finish. Look at ALL THREE TABS. Information is not repeated across tabs. Each tab has different resources that you should look at. Check each one to make sure you haven’t forgotten about a great resource. 
If you need additional help, please contact the Reference Desk by phone at (904) 256-1156 or by email at  You can also meet with any of the Librarians individually.

Introduction and Basic Search Terms

This pathfinder is intended for persons researching LGBT related legal issues. LGBT issues involve and overlap a broad range of legal fields, including employment discrimination, military law, family law, and civil rights.  This pathfinder includes materials available at the Coastal Law Library and Technology Center (LTC), and materials available online at other library and organization websites. 



Evaluating Resources

Have you ever found a resource and thought "can I use this?"  Well, here are a few guidelines to see if the resource you found is a quality resource. 

  • Check the date.
    • How current is it?
    • Is it possible the law or fact changed since then?
  • Check the author/corporation.
    • What are the author's affiliations?
    • Is s/he an expert in the area, or just someone who wrote one article on the subject?
    • If it's a corporation, what is the corporation's interest in the subject?
  • Check the publication itself.
    • Was the source peer-reviewed?
    • Is the source available in print from a major publisher or online through a trusted database?
  • Check for relevancy.
    • Does the source provide information relevant to your research?
    • Does the source cite other sources?

Subject Guide

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Colleen Martinez-Skinner
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Reference Librarian
Office #325
Phone 904-680-7719
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