Claremont, Calif. (December 19, 2013) – Pitzer College alumna Kimberly Richman ’96 pens License to Wed: What Legal Marriage Means to Same-Sex Couples to be released by New York University Press on December 30, 2013.
A majority of Americans now support same-sex marriage. License to Wed examines what marriage means to the wedded couples in California and Massachusetts, where same-sex couples receive the same legal rights. The two states offer a compelling contrast. In California the rights that go with marriage—inheritance, custody, hospital visitation and so forth—were already granted to couples under the state’s domestic partnership law, while those in Massachusetts did not have this same set of rights. Massachusetts has offered civil marriage consistently since 2004 while Californians have experienced a more turbulent legal path. And yet, same-sex couples in both states seek to marry for a variety of interacting, overlapping and evolving reasons that do not vary significantly by location. This book shows how access to a legal institution fundamentally alters their consciousness, and what the impact of legal inclusion is for those traditionally excluded.
“Richman’s interviews and analysis highlight the multi-layered meanings of marriage—romantic, political, practical, and symbolic—to the gay and lesbian couples who first succeeded (or failed) to secure legal recognition for their unions. An illuminating and moving study,” said Stephanie Coontz, author of A Strange Stirring: The Feminine Mystique and American Women at the Dawn of the 1960s.
Shannon Minter from the National Center for Lesbian Rights praised it as “a wonderfully rich, deep, and surprising book that will change your understanding of why gay couples have fought so hard to marry.”
Kimberly Richman is an associate professor of sociology and legal studies at the University of San Francisco. She is the author of Courting Change: Queer Parents, Judges and the transformation of American Family Law released in December 2008. Richman double majored in psychology and political studies at Pitzer College.
Digital and hard copies of License to Wed are available for preorder through Amazon and NYU Press.