FROM THIS DAY FORWARD: Commitment, Marriage, Famliy in Lesbian an: Commitment, Marriage, and Family in Lesbian and Gay Relationships Paperback – May 16 2000
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In this timely study, based on a doctoral dissertation, sociologist Gretchen A. Stiers presents the results of 90 face-to-face interviews with lesbians and gay men on the subject of commitment ceremonies and same-sex marriage. "At their core," she argues, "same-sex ceremonies are rites of integration as well as rites of passage; their two primary objectives are the creation of family and the building of community." Although her reliance on long, chatty quotations jars at times with her academic prose, Stiers manages to convey the surprising breadth of responses in the gay and lesbian communities today to issues such as the legalization of same-sex marriage and its importance for gay rights in general. Most lesbians and gays believe they should have the legal right to marry, for example, yet when asked if they would consider marriage themselves if the laws changed, Stiers's subjects replied in unromantic terms: "Maybe for the legal and economic benefits"; "We could sign up for the family medical plan"; "Yes ... we could get matching towels and all sorts of appliances and things." --Regina Marler --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
According to Stiers, an assistant professor of sociology and anthropology at West Virginia University, lesbians and gay men believe they should have the right to marry even if most are not sure they would do it themselves. Her report is based on firsthand interviews conducted in 1993 and 1994 with 90 residents of Massachusetts who self-identified as either lesbian, gay or bisexual. Although her sample seems too small and well-educated to use as a basis for broad assertions about lesbian and gay attitudes, Stiers found the results fascinating since, as recently as the 1970s, lesbians and gays "decried the oppressive nature of marriage in general and advocated that it be abolished." She also reports on how respondents defined love, commitment and family; their reasons for wanting to be married; and whether they supported such traditional elements of courtship and marriage as engagements, wedding showers and church weddings. She supplements her data and conclusions with a discussion of the series of legal cases in Hawaii in which same-sex couples sought the right to marry (which ultimatelu provoked the national debate that led to the 1996 congressional Defense of Marriage Act, barring federal recognition of same-sex marriages and signed by President Clinton. Stiers's sometimes stodgy academese makes it unlikely this adapted doctoral dissertation will realize her aim to reach a wide audience, though it makes a useful contribution to the field of lesbian and gay studies.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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From This Day Forward:
Commitment, Marriage, and Family
in Lesbian and Gay Relationships
(New York: St. Martin's Press, 1998)
(Library of Congress call number: HQ76.3.U5S76 1999)
This book is based on interviews with stable lesbian and gay couples.
It presents realistic portraits of how they live
and how they understand their commitment.
Many living-together couples consider themselves married,
especially if they have had a commitment ceremony.
A large part of this book is devoted to exploring
the pros and cons of a marriage-like ceremony for lesbian and gay couples.
Some couples readily embrace the complex traditions of 'getting married',
but other reject marriage because it reminds them too much
of the traditions and obligations of heterosexual marriage.
(Some have been married to other-sex partners in the past.)
Most of the couples expected their relationships to last until death,
but as a matter of fact, gay and lesbian marriages
last about as long as heterosexual marriages.
In general, the couples interviewed
had conventional views about love and commitment
--expectations very similar to heterosexual couples.
One major purpose of this book is to normalize same-sex relationships.
These couples seem no different from heterosexual couples.
However, one difference is that the ceremony of making a public commitment
usually takes place after the relationship has lasted a few years.
This is because so many gay and lesbian relationships do not last long.
But after the couple has been together for say 10 years,
they often find it meaningful to mark that anniversary with a ceremony,
which they call "holy union", "commitment ceremony", or "recommitment ceremony".
When the couple is alienated from their families-of-origin
because of their sexual orientation,
the ceremony includes only other members of the gay and lesbian community.
But increasingly straight people (family and friends) are invited.
In some cases, the commitment ceremony finally convinced parents
that their children were not going to change into heterosexuals.
Everyone who reads this book
will be more favorably disposed toward same-sex marriage.
The people are real individuals,
with their own views of how to structure their relationships.
Some use the marriage-model and others do not.
If you would like to read other books about same-sex couples,
search the Internet for the following expression:
"SAME-SEX MARRIAGE--FIRST BOOKS".
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