License to Wed
What Legal Marriage Means to Same-Sex Couples
Publication Year: 2013
Published by: NYU Press
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Title Page, Copyright, Dedication
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At the core of any work of social science are the people whose story it tells. This one was inspired by a few groups of particularly brave indi-viduals: the advocates and attorneys at GLAD, NCLR, Lambda Legal, Marriage Equality USA, Mass Equality, and elsewhere who have fought tirelessly for the rights of LGBT citizens; the public officials in local and ...
Preface: Putting a Face on the Debate
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It was Valentines? Day weekend 2004 when forty-eight-year-old San Diego resident Wes heard the news that they were letting same-sex cou-ples get married in San Francisco.1 His partner of twelve years, Craig, was out of town?but when he returned a few days later, Wes had an urgent proposal for him?he wanted to go to San Francisco to get mar-...
1. Introduction: Situating the Meanings of Marriage
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In a small, little-known museum amid the storefronts on a side street of one of the United States? most famous ?gay-borhoods,? stands an odd display: among the political signs, photos, handbills, and other histori-cal paraphernalia are two women?s pantsuits, one a vibrant turquoise blue and the other a deep shade of lilac. The outf_its are unremarkable ...
2. The Road to Same-Sex Marriage: The Beginning
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The f_irst decade of the twentieth century witnessed profound changes in the social and legal position of gay and lesbian couples. The U.S. Supreme Court?s decision in Lawrence v. Texas in June 2003 struck down sodomy laws in those thirteen states where they remained.1 Five months later the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court rendered its ...
3. The Rite as Right: Marriage as Material Right, Marriage as Strategy
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Despite its varied past (and present), the right to marriage is one that has been treated in modern western history as so vital that is deemed ?fun-damental? in United States law. The Supreme Court has upheld the right to marriage for interracial couples, deadbeat dads, and those convicted of a felony. Like becoming a parent?also a venerated and protected sta-...
4. Marriage as Protest: The Political Dimensions of Marital Motivation
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Given Schwarzenegger?s prediction of the scene at San Francisco City Hall in 2004 when the f_irst same-sex marriages occurred there, it would hardly be a stretch for the casual news reader to assume that these mar-riages were little more than an elaborate gay rights protest. Although those who were present saw far more celebration and singing than riots ...
5. Marriage as Validation: Subjects before (and after) the Law
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The modern institution of marriage lays claim to many meanings: com-mitment, love, responsibility, family. But is it also power? Certainly the use of the marriage ritual to enact resistance or make a statement for gay rights leads us to believe so?at least symbolically. From the privileged position of heterosexuality, though, ?power? is not something that comes to mind ...
6. Making It Personal: Marriage, Emotion, and Love inside and outside the Law
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At f_irst glance it might seem absurd that in a book about marriage, only one chapter is dedicated to discussion of love and romance. After all, as a number of couples poignantly point out, what other reason is there to marry? The old saying that ?love and marriage go together like a horse and carriage,? however trite, certainly holds true for a great number of ...
7. Conclusion: The Multiple Meanings of Marriage
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When Phyllis Lyon and Del Martin donned their brightly colored wedding pantsuits and stated the vows that would mark a milestone in American history, few would have predicted that they would ever see that moment, not least the two women themselves. As LGBT rights pioneers they had already made history by defying convention and living outside of the ...
Appendix 1: Survey Instrument
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Appendix 2: Overview of Survey Findings
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About the Author
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Kimberly D. Richman is an Associate Professor of Sociology and Legal Studies at the University of San Francisco. She lives in San Francisco ...
Page Count: 272
Publication Year: 2013