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Richman's (sociology, Univ. of San Francisco) book examines the impact of marriage on same-sex couples who were the first to marry in California and Massachusetts when gay marriage was legalized in those states in 2004. Based on surveys and follow-up interviews with 1,467 couples who applied for marriage licenses in 2004, the book tells the stories of these couples and the reasons why they married. The author then uses these stories to discuss the fight for same-sex marriage rights and the historic shift in attitudes that has occurred within the last ten years. She argues that marriage removes legal obstacles that are not faced by heterosexual couples, including medical decision-making, child-custody issues, and property considerations. Additionally, gay couples reported that marriage, as opposed to other types of legal unions, validated their relationships in the eyes of others. Still other couples said that marriage gave them a sense of security and self-worth. Richman concludes that gay couples marry for many reasons. VERDICT This book addresses a timely and still evolving issue with directness and sensitivity while rigorously examining the legal basis for same-sex marriage. Readers who are interested in the subject will want to read this. Recommended for law, academic, and large public libraries.—Becky Kennedy, Atlanta-Fulton P.L.