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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 Six. When Banns Are Banned: Experiences of Same-sex Marriage Prohibitions


Thus far, this book has focused on the experiences of American same-sex couples who have the option of legally recognized marriage. Yet, at the time this book was written, the majority of U.S. states (38) had either amended their state constitutions or passed legislation to prohibit the legal recognition of same-sex marriage (see Marriage, n.d.). As discussed in Chapter 2, same-sex marriage is a new type of relational context for same-sex couples in states that allow same-sex marriage and those that have banned same-sex marriage. The political battles for and against same-sex marriage and the dynamic changes in relationship recognition for same-sex couples have consequences for GLBT individuals, same-sex couples, and their social networks across the United States. Yet, most of the research on same-sex marriage has focused on legal recognition. This chapter focuses on experiences of same-sex marriage prohibitions of GLBT individuals, same-sex couples, and their social networks.

The research available on the social and psychological consequences of marriage restrictions has identified consequences for GLBT people and their social networks (Horne, Rostosky, & Riggle, 2011; Maisel & Fingerhut, 2011; Riggle, Rostosky, & Horne, 2009; Rostosky, Riggle, Horne, Denton, & Huellemeier, 2010). Riggle et al. (2009) examined the effects of the passages of marriage-restricting amendments in U.S. states in 2006 through a national survey and found that GLBT individuals were exposed to more negative messages about themselves and their relationships during the campaigns for marriage restrictions and experienced increases in negative psychological effects. Maisel and Fingerhut (2011) found...

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