|This collection of personal narratives explores the hotly debated issue of same-sex marriages. The twenty-four interviews with lesbians and gays who have celebrated wedding ceremonies as well as couples who remain unmarried or choose not to marry reveal the qualities that bind people in lifetime partnerships as well as the everyday tensions of committed relationships. Most of the interviews are accompanied by personal snapshots. The couples come from many regions of the United States and from diverse ethnic and class backgrounds. They include such prominent activists as Harry Hay, Phyllis Lyon, and Del Martin.
These intimately described relationships are as new as three years and as enduring as thirty-eight. Each dialogue grapples with the reactions of family and friends to the couple's commitment and the everyday struggles of their own relationship. The interviews are preceded by essays by Thomas Stoddard and Paula Ettelbrick that offer opposing viewpoints on marriage. The book closes with a section of personal observations by ceremony officiators from a variety of religions—from Catholic priests to a Wiccan high priestess—and a resource directory.
Although viewed by some lesbians and gays as an "abhorrent ritual" of patriarchy and by others as a "celebration of commitment," marriage is more than a relationship sanctioned by law; it is the centerpiece of the social structure and the core of the traditional notion of family.
Why, then, are loving couples who jointly own homes faced with the cruel enigma that "legally, we are strangers"?