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Documenting Same-Sex Marriage

As the debate and changes unfold at a dizzying speed around the right to marry, The Kinsey Institute is growing an archive of material on the topic for current and future scholars to document and analyze this social, legal, and cultural phenomenon.

These same-sex marriage dolls, donated to the Kinsey Institute by Kenneth Anger, are designed to top wedding-cakes.

A search for titles in the library, using keywords ‘gay marriage,’ revealed over 60 entries, including George Chauncey’s authoritative Why Marriage: The History Shaping Today's Debate Over Gay Equality; legal advocate Evan Wolfson’s Why Marriage Matters: America, equality, and gay people's right to marry; Suzanna Walters’ provocative All the Rage: the story of gay visibility in America; and an audio recording from the Brookings Institute, A Matter of Faith: Religion in the 2004 Presidential Election. Along with the published books, there are numerous magazines and pamphlets covering news, events, and legal decisions concerning same-sex marriage.

Besides these current holdings, the Kinsey library staff compiled more than 40 bibliographies in the 1980s, including a one entitled "Homosexual Marriages" (PDF).

Ascherman photo
Eric and Sean, one of several photographs donated by photographer Herbert Ascherman Jr.

This document lists 118 citations, from articles, books and pamphlets on same-sex parenting, laws, sex, psychology, and other issues related to gay and lesbian relationships. Included in the citations is a 1943 article from Psychoanalytic Review, the "Psychological Implications of the Male Homosexual Marriage" and a Journal of Family Law comment on "Constitutional Aspects of the Homosexual's Right to a Marriage License."

Digging more deeply into the catalog, might reveal personal diaries of long-term same-sex unions, or cross-cultural accounts of commitment ceremonies.

The Kinsey Institute art collection holds a growing number of images of same-sex pairs. Cleveland artist Herbert Ascherman Jr. has been taking portraits of gay and lesbian couples for years, and he is now donating these prints to the Institute's contemporary photography collection. Our most regular contributor, Kenneth Anger, recently sent an addition to his archive - two pairs of three-inch tall same-sex partners, destined for the top of a wedding cake.


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