With the aim of increasing practitioner competence, this dissertation provides marriage and family therapists and mental health service providers with insight into the experiences of legally married same-sex couples. Specifically, the inquiry's objective was to elicit narratives of strength and agency from these couples who navigated the oppressive circumstances of an anti-gay amendment campaign situated within the debate over the extension of marriage rights to same-sex couples. Fourteen couples were interviewed in order to respond to the dissertation's overriding question: How do the lesbian and gay couples and families who are among those who were legally married in California before the passage of Proposition 8 narrate their experiences of their marriages? Through portraiture (Lawrence-Lightfoot & Davis, 1997), a method of inquiry situated within a postmodern, social constructionist framework, a narrative was produced which evolved through five emergent themes: 1) Our Commitments Have Rich Histories--the symbolic and legal ways in which these couples commemorated and brought definition to their commitments, in the absence of a nationally-sanctioned and collectively-recognized state of legal marriage; 2) Not a Simple Matter: The Complexities of Language Choice--their contextual language choices, which reflected the absence of representative and collectively-recognized language options for their relationships after their legal marriages; 3) The Battle Metaphor--the couples' experiences of California's political debate over the extension of marriage rights to same-sex couples; 4) Support Shaped Lived Experiences--the impact of support from friends, family, and community; and lastly, 5) Legal Marriage Shaped Individual, Relational, and Social Identities---individual, relational and social shifts that occurred for the couples through the experience of being legally married. A follow-up focus group further validated the theme Support Shaped Lived Experiences, and examined more deeply the tensions that occurred when important persons were silent about and/or did not recognize the legitimacy of the couples' legal marriages, and/or the discriminatory context in which their legal marriages were situated. In addition to its contribution of the experiences of legally married same-sex couples to the family therapy literature, the dissertation concludes with important implications for affirmative therapeutic practice, research, education, training, advocacy, and social policy.