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When Gay People Get Married: What Happens When Societies Legalize Same-Sex Marriage Hardcover – August 1, 2009

ISBN-13: 978-0814791141 ISBN-10: 081479114X

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 307 pages
  • Publisher: NYU Press (August 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 081479114X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0814791141
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.3 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,762,718 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

While the summer of 2008 may have been the summer of love for American same-sex couples, as thousands flocked to California for marriage licenses, the summer of 2009 may go down in history as a time of profound contention and confusion over Proposition 8, which revoked those couples' right to marry. Still, as Badgett, the research director of the Williams Institute for Sexual Orientation Law and Public Policy at UCLA, argues, the transformation of the policy landscape for gays and lesbians was nothing short of remarkable, considering the very real possibility of a constitutional amendment to ban it just a few years earlier. Despite her optimism about gay unions, however, Badgett sets out to examine their potential impact in the U.S., using European Union countries, specifically the Netherlands—where same-sex couples have had the right to marry since 2001—as her rainbow-hued road map. Badgett's cogent and comprehensive study of the societal implications of same-sex marriage is learned and persuasive; gays and lesbians who once again pick up their protest signs and banners might do well to bring along Badgett's book as well. (Aug.)
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&%8220;When Gay People Get Married devotes considerable time to contemplating whether marriage discrimination against same-sex couples can be equitably rectified by alternative forms of family recognition--something that could satisfy or at least appeal to both conservative and radical opponents of marriage.”
-Women's Review of Books


“Looking at quantitative and qualitative data, [Badgett] makes an argument friendly to same-sex marriage and marriage more generally, that the institution of marriage is less transformed by including same-sex couples than gay identity is changed by the availability of marriage...”


“In addition to providing the most solid empirical case to date on why supporters of the institution of marriage have nothing to fear from expanding it to include same-sex couples, When Gay People Get Married might also serve to remind both marriage advocates and their progressive allies that marriage equality for gays and lesbians is not, in the end, a matter of single-issue politics.”
-Adam Haslett,author of Union Atlantic and You Are Not a Stranger Here

“. . .An eminently readable volume that drwas on state population data, survesy, and Badget's own interviews.”
-Against The Current


"When Gay People Get Married: What Happens When Societies Legalize Same-Sex Marriage provides a well-grounded contribution to the arguments needed to fight for full rights for LGBT people here in the United States and around the world."-International Socialist Review,

More About the Author

M. V. Lee Badgett is an economist and director of the Center for Public Policy and Administration at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She is also the research director of the Williams Institute for Sexual Orientation Law and Public Policy at UCLA. In 2008, Curve Magazine named her one of the twenty most powerful lesbians in academia. Prof. Badgett's policy-related work includes testifying as an expert witness in legislative matters and litigation, analyzing public policies, consulting with regulatory bodies, briefing policymakers, writing op-ed pieces, speaking with journalists, and advising businesses.

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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful By John Kloprogge on February 29, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
The public discourse around same-sex marriage too often involves the opponents confidently declaring an end to civilization as we know it, and the proponents responding with scoffing sarcasm, self-righteousness or indifference. Both sides do their cause no good, as they simply talk over each other - and any hope of progressing the debate is lost.

Here is a book that brings empirical research - qualitative and quantitative - to the debate, and takes a dispassionate, scientific view. The first country to legalise gay marriage did so over a decade ago. What has been the experience of same-sex marriage in those countries that have it? What can we learn from it? Can this evidence be used to allay public fears about this reform?

While scientific, this book is written in an accessible, conversational style, and exhibits the sensitivity of the author to the deep meaning and social significance of marriage to society, and to the emotional dynamics between same-sex partners.

Professor Badgett's research persuasively leads us to conclude that marriage equality is about "people, not politics" - and that it will benefit not only gay couples, but also singles, the children of same-sex couples, and families and society as a whole. It offers deeper arguments for reform beyond the tired catchwords of "equality" and "rights". It looks at the meaning and purpose of marriage in social life and asks, "If marriage is good for families, why shouldn't it be extended to families of same-sex couples?". In other words, if the glove fits, why do we continue to deny same-sex couples the benefits of marriage?

Highly recommended for anyone who is craving a deeper, thoughtful understanding of this important social issue.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Art on February 24, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
To address the nonthink of homophobes and fundamentalists, Badgett undertook a study of gay marriage in both the US and abroad and reports some interesting facts. Far from threatening marriage as an institution, allowing gays to share in this bond contributes to both gays as well as society as a whole. For any person interested in facts, not religious bias, this is the book for you.
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