This work was supported in part by Wellesley Centers for Women core funds, a generous donation from Wellesley alumna Risa Greenlindger, and a grant-in-aid from the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues. The authors wish to thank Lisa Fortuna, Anne Noonan, and two anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments on the manuscript.
“Never in Our Lifetime”: Legal Marriage for Same-Sex Couples in Long-Term Relationships*
Article first published online: 31 MAR 2008
© 2008 by the National Council on Family Relations
Volume 57, Issue 2, pages 144–159, April 2008
How to Cite
Porche, M. V. and Purvin, D. M. (2008), “Never in Our Lifetime”: Legal Marriage for Same-Sex Couples in Long-Term Relationships. Family Relations, 57: 144–159. doi: 10.1111/j.1741-3729.2008.00490.x
- Issue published online: 31 MAR 2008
- Article first published online: 31 MAR 2008
- family diversity;
- gay/lesbian relationships;
- qualitative family research;
- sexual orientation issues
Abstract: We present data from 4 lesbian and 5 gay male same-sex couples who have been together 20 years or more. Couples included those legally married and unmarried, with and without children, and were interviewed within the first year legalized same-sex marriage was enacted in Massachusetts. Using life course theory and case study methodology, we investigate supports and constraints related to relationship longevity and how these factors influence the couples’ responses to the option of legal marriage decades into their relationships. Seven out of 9 couples married immediately or soon after legalization. The two who did not marry reaffirmed and maintained their commitment. Results are discussed in light of theory and practice within the context of a period of historic change.