Deborah Merrill, a professor of sociology at Clark University, focuses her studies on parent-child relationships and marriage. Her new book, When Your Gay Or Lesbian Child Marries: A Guide for Parents, is described on Amazon as an examination of “how same-sex marriage changes the relationships between parents and their gay or lesbian adult children.”
The book is the first major work to delve into the evolving dynamics between gay children and their parents when same-sex marriage comes into play. The book’s description elaborates: “More than 70,000 same-sex couples have married in the U.S. Although these couples have the right to marry, it is not without its costs to their families, particularly to their relationships with their parents. Some parents may not accept their child’s decisions; others don’t understand how marriage may be different for their children or the obstacles that they may face in being part of a same-sex union.”
Merrill says: “Parents who are able to accept their child’s sexual orientation and incorporate their spouse into the family will find that they gain a second daughter or son and bypass much of the tension involved in a child’s heterosexual marriage”
By conducting a series of interviews, the author shares stories and anecdotes in the book from married gay children with parents and parents who had both a married homosexual child and a married heterosexual child.
Through her own work, Merrill has discovered that the best advice she can give parents is to separate their feelings about homosexuality from their love for their child.