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Impact of Marriage Restriction Amendments on Family Members of Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Individuals: A Mixed-Method Approach


  • This research was supported in part by grants from the American Psychological Foundation's Wayne F. Placek award and The University of Kentucky's Center for Drug and Alcohol Research. We thank C. Stuart Reedy for his invaluable assistance with the online survey. We could not have accomplished this project without his help.

Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Sharon G. Horne, Department of Counseling and School Psychology, 170 Wheatley Hall, 100 Morrissey Blvd, University of Massachusetts Boston, Boston, MA 02125 [e-mail:].


This study explored the experiences of family members of lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) individuals (N= 198) following the 2006 November election in the United States. Family members in states that passed a constitutional amendment to restrict marriage recognition (PASS) reported greater exposure to negative media messages about LGB individuals and greater negative affect related to the amendments than family members living in non-PASS states. Family members in PASS states reported similar exposure to negative media and affect but less stress than LGB PASS individuals (N= 361). Analysis of responses to an open-ended question about feelings about marriage amendments revealed 6 themes, including concern for the safety and well-being of LGB family members and negative impact on family. Overall, findings suggest that family members may experience increased concern for LGB family members during policy initiatives aimed at LGB individuals. Social justice implications for family members are discussed.