This article was edited by David Demo.
The Power and Limits of Marriage: Married Gay Men's Family Relationships
Article first published online: 16 JAN 2013
Copyright © National Council on Family Relations, 2013
Journal of Marriage and Family
Volume 75, Issue 1, pages 191–205, February 2013
How to Cite
Ocobock, A. (2013), The Power and Limits of Marriage: Married Gay Men's Family Relationships. Journal of Marriage and Family, 75: 191–205. doi: 10.1111/j.1741-3737.2012.01032.x
- Issue published online: 16 JAN 2013
- Article first published online: 16 JAN 2013
- marriage and close relationships;
- qualitative research;
- social support;
Same-sex marriage has received much scholarly attention in the United States in the past decade. Yet we know little about how same-sex couples experience marriage. In this article, I present findings from in-depth interviews with 32 legally married gay men in Iowa. I focus on their experiences with families of origin and investigate the legitimating potential of same-sex marriage. The men had high expectations about the power of marriage to help them gain recognition and support, but their experiences with family members were more varied and complex than they expected. Although marriage often led to positive family outcomes, it also commonly had negative consequences, including new and renewed experiences of family rejection. This study complicates ideas about the legitimating potential of marriage for same-sex couples by illuminating both its power and limits in helping gay men gain status and support from their families of origin.