Cover image for From this day forward : commitment, marriage, and family in lesbian and gay relationships
From this day forward : commitment, marriage, and family in lesbian and gay relationships
Stiers, Gretchen A., 1962-
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : St. Martin's Press, [1999]

Physical Description:
xx, 236 pages ; 22 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
HQ76.3.U5 S76 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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"From This Day Forward" presents an up-to-date look at gay and lesbian lifestyles and shows the complexity of community life at the end of the twentieth century.

Author Notes

Gretchen A. Stiers is a sociologist at the U.S. Census Bureau in Washington, D.C.

Reviews 3

Publisher's Weekly Review

According to Stiers, an assistant professor of sociology and anthropology at West Virginia University, lesbians and gay men believe they should have the right to marry even if most are not sure they would do it themselves. Her report is based on firsthand interviews conducted in 1993 and 1994 with 90 residents of Massachusetts who self-identified as either lesbian, gay or bisexual. Although her sample seems too small and well-educated to use as a basis for broad assertions about lesbian and gay attitudes, Stiers found the results fascinating since, as recently as the 1970s, lesbians and gays "decried the oppressive nature of marriage in general and advocated that it be abolished." She also reports on how respondents defined love, commitment and family; their reasons for wanting to be married; and whether they supported such traditional elements of courtship and marriage as engagements, wedding showers and church weddings. She supplements her data and conclusions with a discussion of the series of legal cases in Hawaii in which same-sex couples sought the right to marry (which ultimatelu provoked the national debate that led to the 1996 congressional Defense of Marriage Act, barring federal recognition of same-sex marriages and signed by President Clinton. Stiers's sometimes stodgy academese makes it unlikely this adapted doctoral dissertation will realize her aim to reach a wide audience, though it makes a useful contribution to the field of lesbian and gay studies. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Stiers (anthropology, West Virginia Univ.) conducted 90 interviews with lesbians and gay men in Massachusetts in which she inquired about their relationships. In contrast to Ellen Lewine's Recognizing Ourselves (LJ 5/1/98), Stiers's study does not focus primarily on the content of commitment ceremonies but on the overall quality and meaning of relationships that may include a formal commitment. Stiers traces the recent history of same-sex marriage and discusses the current political and legal battles, though the latest setback in Hawaii is not mentioned. Each chapter is peppered with quotes as the interviewees explain their views on commitment, marriage ceremonies, and what makes a good relationship. Though it looks at only a small sample of gay and lesbian couples, this timely and very readable work gives some insight into long-term gay and lesbian relationships and puts a personal face on the same-sex marriage debate. Recommended for public and academic libraries.√ĄDebra Moore, Loyola Marymount Univ. Lib., Los Angeles (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

Stiers (sociology and anthropology, West Virginia Univ.) studied 90 people (45 lesbian or bisexual women and 45 gay or bisexual men) who had long-term love relationships with a same-sex partner. Using open-ended and structured questions, she asked them about those relationships: which qualities were most important to them (e.g., commitment, honesty, trust, respect), how they defined those qualities, whether or not they had (or wanted to have) a ceremony uniting them, what they called such a ceremony, e.g., a "marriage" or a "holy union" or a "commitment ceremony," and the extent to which they accepted or resisted the concept of "marriage." Stiers also reviewed the legal and possible future aspects of such arrangements. Her writing style is objective, lucid, and jargon-free. She relegates the methodology and demographic aspects of her sample to two (also jargon-free) appendixes. Interesting to readers at all levels. R. W. Smith California State University, Northridge

Table of Contents

List of Tablesp. v
Acknowledgementsp. vii
Preface to the Paperback Edition: Our Common Humanityp. ix
Prefacep. xiii
Part I Lesbian and Gay Relationships
1. Our Love Is Here to Stay: Lesbian and Gay Relationships in the 1990sp. 3
2. As Long as I Have a Heart: On the Meaning of Love in Lesbian and Gay Relationshipsp. 25
3. The Power of Two: On the Meaning of Commitment and Marriage in Lesbian and Gay Relationshipsp. 45
Part II Lesbian and Gay Commitment Ceremonies
4. For Richer, For Poorer?: Same-Sex Ceremonies as Rites of Passagep. 71
5. Going to the Chapel and I'm Going to Get -----?: Same-Sex Ceremonies and the Politics of Namingp. 105
6. Church Bells May Ring: Same-Sex Ceremonies as Acts of Accommodation and Resistancep. 125
Part III Same-Sex Marriages and Legal Issues
7. A Change Is Gonna Come: The Movement to Legalize Lesbian and Gay Marriagesp. 161
Appendix I Fieldwork and Methodsp. 191
Appendix II Demographic Characteristics of Samplep. 199
Notesp. 205
Bibliographyp. 211
Indexp. 231