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Keywords:

  • adolescents;
  • emerging adults;
  • gay;
  • lesbian;
  • marriage;
  • qualitative

The debate over whether same-sex couples should be allowed to enter into civil marriages continues in the United States. Forty-nine adolescents and emerging adults (ages 14–29) with lesbian, gay, and bisexual parents were interviewed for the current exploratory study, which examined how individuals perceived themselves and their families as being affected by marriage (in)equality, as well as the factors that shaped their perspectives. More than two thirds of participants voiced unequivocal support for marriage equality, citing numerous legal and symbolic benefits that their families were denied. One quarter of participants articulated critical perspectives of marriage or the fight for marriage equality, while also acknowledging the benefits associated with marriage. As the first study to examine the perspectives of individuals with lesbian, gay, and bisexual parents with regard to marriage (in)equality, this research has important implications for the marriage equality debate and provides a springboard for future studies on this topic.