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Experiencing Same-Sex Marriage

Individuals, Couples, and Social Networks

Pamela Lannutti

This book provides an understanding of how the legal and cultural debates and advances and limitations on same-sex marriage are experienced by gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender (GLBT) people, same-sex couples, and their social networks. Using data collected from hundreds of GLBT people, same-sex couples, and their social networks over the past decade, the book examines the following topics: same-sex marriages’ impact on how GLBT individuals view their relationships and community; same-sex couples’ decision making regarding whether to marry or not; the interactions between same-sex couples and members of their families-of-origin regarding same-sex marriage; the same-sex marriage experiences of understudied members of the GLBT community; and the interactions between same-sex couples and members of their social networks in locations with restrictions against legally recognized same-sex marriage. These findings are examined through the lens of the social scientific study of relationships. They are based on a communication studies perspective on personal relationships, and therefore emphasize communication concepts and theories relevant to the understanding of same-sex marriage experiences.
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Chapter Five. Same-sex Marriage Experiences of Understudied Members of the GLBT Community


If you are interested in learing more about same-sex relationships and perform a search for studies within the research literature, you will quickly discover that although researchers refer to the “GLBT” community, they often just include people who identify as gay or lesbian in their research samples and rarely include people who are bisexual and/or transgender among their participants. Further, these studies based on samples of gay men and lesbians tend to include groups of particpants who are mostly White, middle-class, urban, college-educated, and under the age of 50. Thus, much of what we know about same-sex relationships and the GBLT community is based on the experiences of only part of the community. The research literature examining same-sex marriage is still relatively new and limited, yet this growing body of research is vulnerable to the same lack of diversity that exists in the more general GLBT and same-sex relationship literatures. Given the lack of attention paid to certain segments of the GLBT community in the current research literature, I conducted two studies to attempt to learn more about the same-sex marriage experiences of some understudied members of the GLBT community. While these studies represent only one small piece of a research body that needs much more diversity and inclusiveness, the studies suggest that understudied members of the GLBT community may have unique experiences with legally recognized same-sex marriage that warrant futher research attention.

People who identify as bisexual are often challenged by both heterosexual and homosexual people (Mulick...

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