Same-Sex Unions and the Changing Family

January 23, 2017

Michael Rosenfeld, social demographer and professor of sociology at Stanford University, discusses the current state of same-sex unions and the changing American family at noon on Thursday, Jan. 26 in Stevenson 1002 at Sonoma State University. The lecture is part of the Women's and Gender Studies Queer lecture series offered each semester. The public is invited.

Rosenfeld is a social demographer who studies race, ethnicity, immigration, and family structure, especially family structure changes over time. 

His current research agenda focuses on alternative family forms of racial intermarriage and same-sex cohabitation in the U.S., and on the reasons for the rising incidence of these alternative family forms. 

In this talk, he looks at what is currently known about same-sex couples, their children, their relationships, and broader American attitudes about gays and lesbians, using a variety of recent data.

He is the author of THE AGE OF INDEPENDENCE: Interracial Unions, Same-Sex Unions and the Changing American Family published by Harvard University Press. The book offers a new theory of family trends and social change in the US. The argument revolves around the independent life stage, a life stage which has emerged since 1960 where young men and women go away to college, travel, begin careers, and enjoy a period of relative social independence. The rise of the independent life stage has reduced parental control over the dating and mate selection choices of their children. 

His most recent work is How Couples Meet and Stay Together, a revolutionary study of social life in the US, funded by the National Science Foundation. 

For more information, visit his web site at