Same-Gender Marriage: Implications for Social Work Practitioners
Keywords: Same-gender marriage, same-sex marriage, civil union, marriage equality
AbstractNotably, in 2013, Maryland, Rhode Island, Delaware, and Minnesota became the 10th, 11th, 12th, and 13th states, respectively, to legalize same-gender marriage. Without legal recognition or social support from the larger society, the majority of same-gender partnerships in the U.S. are denied privileges and rights that are considered basic for heterosexual marriages. This manuscript draws from a national cross section of published survey data from 1996 to 2013 reporting Americans’ attitudes regarding same-gender marriage and civil unions. Social work practitioners have broad opportunity to apply their skills to the critical needs facing same-gender partners. After an overview of the legal status of same-gender marriages and their accompanying social and policy issues, recommendations are provided that include identification of specific needs for premarital counseling of same-gender partners and ensuring sensitivity to the myriad challenges they face.
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