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Brian Powell
Department of Sociology

Last modified: Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Expert source: Same-sex marriage expert available to comment on California ruling

Editors: A federal judge in California overturned the state's voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage. Indiana University Professor Brian Powell, who focuses on sociology of the family, has talked with more than 2,000 adults nationwide about their attitudes toward same-sex marriages and writes about the topic in a book that will be published in September. He is available to talk about the issue and can be reached at 812-360-0474 and

Aug. 4, 2010

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- A federal judge in California ruled that the controversial ban on same-sex marriages violated the Constitution's equal protection clause under the 14th Amendment. Indiana University Sociology Professor Brian Powell said the legal ruling claimed that public opinion is not sufficient to deny people certain rights. Public opinion, however, also is changing, according to his research that involves interviews with more than 2,000 adults nationwide about their attitudes toward same-sex marriage.

"There's been an increasing receptiveness to include same-sex couples in people's definitions of family," said Powell, whose book, Counted Out: Same-sex Relations and Americans' Definitions of Family, will be published next month by the Russell Sage Foundation in conjunction with the American Sociological Association. The interviews were conducted in 2003, 2006 and 2010. "This decision, if upheld, likely will propel even more people to accept and possibly embrace same-sex couples as a family."

Powell is the James H. Rudy Professor of Sociology. He can be reached at 812-360-0474 and The Department of Sociology is in IU's College of Arts and Sciences.