Same-Sex Marriage: Exploring the Issues

ABC-CLIO. Jan. 2022. 161p. ISBN 9781440875236. $40. REF
In this work exploring the intersection of marriage, LGBTQ+ civil rights, religion, society, and politics in the United States, Merriman (history, Troy Univ.; When Religious and Secular Interests Collide) shows how religion has determined law and social mores, in 49 well-written, alphabetically arranged, three-to-four-page entries on subjects relating to religion, marriage, same-sex marriage, and marriage equality. The preface and overview provide a historical account of American LGBTQ+ civil rights movements and the push for marriage equality in the U.S.; there’s also a chronology (1000 BCE–2020) of international events. There are entries about issues (adoption; restaurants; surrogacy; church schools; sacraments), court cases (Burwell v. Hobby Lobby; Obergefell v. Hodges), people (Pete Buttigieg; Kim Davis), religious denominations (Presbyterianism; Evangelical Christianity; Islam; Judaism), history (the civil rights movement; the 2000s), and government (religious law and practice; religion and interracial marriage)—each with cross-references and an up-to-date bibliography. Despite its ground-breaking approach, Merriman’s work has some weaknesses. For example, the article on adoption mentions that Michigan requires adoption agencies to allow same-sex couples to adopt without bias; here Merriman states that adoption policies are covered in another of the book’s articles but he fails to clearly cross-reference it. See also the entry on Buttigieg, which doesn’t discuss his appointment as U.S. Transportation Secretary or his children. However, the book’s detailed index and topical list aid access. Reference works on same-sex marriage tend to focus on legal, political, and social themes or specific religions, so Merriman’s book stands out for its coverage.
VERDICT This accessible work is informative and appropriate for a wide variety of readers, from high school and seminary students through politicians, religious leaders, and think tanks.
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