Marriage equality has become a hotly debated topic within public and political discourse within recent years. The personal choices we make based on our sexuality and intimate relationship have been taken out of the private arena and spotlighted as issues of institutional ideology, morality, and equality. Throughout this, the impact felt within LGBTQ communities based on this discourse has been largely overlooked. This study explores the immediate impact newfound marriage equality may have on individuals and couples identifying as members of a diverse sexuality group. Using semi-structured interviews, sixteen respondents self-identifying as lesbians provided narratives exploring the possible impact legalization of same-sex marriage in the state of Minnesota may have had on their identities and relationships. Feelings of validation, increased discussion about diverse sexualities, and the negotiation of heteronormative gender performances and expectations were overarching themes that emerged from these narratives. Within these themes, experiential differences based on age, location, and intersectionality are further explored.


Emily M. Boyd

Committee Member

Sarah N. Epplen

Committee Member

Daniel Sachau

Date of Degree




Document Type



Master of Arts (MA)


Social and Behavioral Sciences

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License



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