The Impact of Marriage Equality on Sexual Minority Women’s Relationships With Their Families of Origin

Ellen D.B. Riggle, Laurie Drabble, Cindy B. Veldhuis, Angie Wootton, Tonda L. Hughes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Support from family of origin is important to the health and wellbeing of sexual minority women (SMW) and structural stigma may impact that support. The recent extension of marriage rights to same-sex couples in all U.S. states provided an opportunity to examine whether this change in law would impact the relationship of SMW with their families of origin regarding their same-sex relationships, including marriage. Interviews with 20 SMW were conducted to learn about their perceptions of how support from families of origin had been impacted by or changed since the U.S. Supreme Court decision (Obergefell v. Hodges, 135 S. Ct. 2584, 2015). Thematic analysis of the narrative responses revealed stories of continued family support; increases in acceptance or support; mixed support/rejection or unclear messages; “don’t ask, don’t tell” or silence; and continued or increased family rejection. Most participant narratives included more than one theme. Implications for SMW's health and relationships are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1190-1206
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Homosexuality
Issue number9
StatePublished - Jul 29 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Research reported in this publication was supported in part by a grant from San José State University and the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 Taylor & Francis.


  • Bisexual women
  • family relationships
  • lesbian
  • marriage equality
  • same-sex relationships

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • Social Psychology
  • Education
  • Psychology (all)


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