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Abstract

This article focuses on lesbian and gay couples and families and the politics of same-sex marriage. Drawing from the literature on same-sex couples, same-sex marriage, and queer theory’s concept of heteronormativity, we argue that gay and lesbian couples and families both affirm and challenge heterosexual and gendered family forms. First, we review literature that discusses how same-sex relationships and families are similar to and different from conventional heterosexual relationships and families. Second, we discuss the socio-legal and cultural inequalities faced by LGBT families. Third, we discuss the politics of same-sex marriage, examining the debate among social conservatives, pro-marriage activists, and queer critics over the desirability of same-sex marriage. We conclude that the growing visibility of LGBT couples and families has made their exclusion from the institution of marriage more conspicuous and that recognition of LGBT relationships and families seems likely to increase.