Date of Award

Fall 2012

Project Type


Program or Major

Family Studies

Degree Name

Master of Science

First Advisor

Michael Kalinowski


This study explores the effects of New Hampshire's revised marriage statute and the ability to marry on married, resident same-sex couples and their families. The researcher used qualitative research methods in order to investigate the experiences of eleven participants in regards to the effects that marriage has had in their lives and the lives of their dependent and adult children. Based on the data and content analysis, a grounded theory of developing a same-sex marital identity emerged showing that the effects of marriage depend on an on-going interplay between personal and social contexts. Participants' lives were affected by marriage in multiple and varied ways based on their spousal relationship, personal surroundings, and interactions with those in their families and communities. Discrepancies between state and national laws governing marriage also influenced the way that marriage impacted the lives of participant couples.