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As same-sex marriage has become a legal reality in a rapidly growing list of countries, the time has come to assess what this means for families and relationships on the ground. Many scholars have already begun to examine how marriage is helping some same-sex couples, but in this introduction I call for a broader and more critical research agenda. In particular, I argue that same-sex marriage crystallizes a key tension surrounding families and relationships in many contemporary societies. On the one hand, strict family norms are relaxing in many places, allowing more people to form more diverse types of caring relationships. On the other hand, some relationships continue to be more honored and protected than others. I frame the spread of same-sex marriage as an opportunity to study this tension, and I argue that queer critiques of marriage provide useful tools for helping ground such research. I argue for research that sees same-sex marriage not as an isolated shift in the status of some same-sex couples, but instead as embedded in broader “relational landscapes” where different relationships of different types intersect with each other and shape each other. Such research would highlight inequalities among married couples and between married and unmarried people, and it would trace changes in other relationship forms outside of same-sex marriage itself. I describe how the chapters in this volume pursue these goals, helping develop queer and other critiques of marriage to lay the groundwork for a contextualized, critical research program on families and relationships after same-sex marriage.


This is a preprint version of the introduction chapter to the edited volume, Queer Families and Relationships After Marriage Equality, co-edited with Angela Jones and Joseph Nicholas DeFilippis, and published with Routledge in 2018. For the full volume, please visit All my publications are cataloged at and at


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