cover image When Gay People Get Married: What Happens When Societies Legalize

When Gay People Get Married: What Happens When Societies Legalize

M. V. Badgett, . . New York Univ., $35 (288pp) ISBN 978-0-8147-9114-1

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.)