Newswise — Chicago, IL –As June 1st approaches, Illinois will join 18 states allowing same-sex couples to become legally married. This new law begs the questions: Are those couples better off once they've tied the knot? Will legal marriage somehow destroy the freedom and flexibility of creating relationships without the imposition of mainstream norms and expectations within the constraints of “traditional” monogamy? Will these marriages offer the protective health benefits — psychological and physiological — that research has long associated with heterosexual marriage? And what about the extended families of LGBT couples? Will they embrace their same-sex family members’ relationships sooner rather than later under this new law?

To address these types of questions, The Family Institute at Northwestern University, a nonprofit organization committed to strengthening and healing families from all walks of life, has partnered with Equality Illinois to present the Circle of Knowledge talk, Gay & Married: Welcome to the family. This event, hosted on June 5th at the Center on Halsted in Chicago, IL at 6:30 p.m., will feature a panel of four Family Institute expert clinicians discussing the questions, challenges and opportunities that follow in the wake of this momentous cultural shift.

“I want people who come to the program to gain a much better sense of the challenges that married gay people are now facing,” says Aaron Cooper, PhD, staff clinician at The Family Institute and event panelist. “And I want our participants to come away with a much better understanding of some approaches to handling those challenges.”

In addition to Dr. Cooper, the event will feature Family Institute staff clinicians Cheryl Rampage, PhD, Shayna Goldstein, LMFT, MSMFT, and Steve Du Bois, PhD, Morgan Postdoctoral Clinical Research Fellow. The event will feature cocktails and hors d’oeurvres, followed by the panel presentation.

The event will be held at the Center on Halsted, located at 3656 North Halsted Street, Chicago, IL. Tickets cost $50 each and can be purchased on The Family Institute’s website or by calling 312-609-5300 ext. 480. Attendees should register by May 29, as space at the event is limited.

To register for this event, visit our registration page or contact Michelle Weil, Development Associate at [email protected] or 312-609-5300 ext. 480.

To learn more about our Circle of Knowledge Event Series, visit our events page.To learn more about The Family Institute, please contact Colleen O’Connor at [email protected] or 312-609-5300 ext. 485.

ABOUT THE FAMILY INSTITUTE AT NORTHWESTERN UNIVERSITY – For 45 years, The Family Institute at Northwestern University ( has been committed to strengthening and healing families from all walks of life through clinical service, education and research. An affiliate of Northwestern University, The Family Institute is a unique, innovative not-for-profit organization, governed by its own independent Board of Directors and responsible for its own funding. The Institute offers a wide range of high quality mental health counseling through our staff practice and our sliding-fee scale Bette D. Harris Family and Child Clinic, where we are committed to serving at-risk, under-resourced communities. The Family Institute also operates two nationally-renowned graduate programs in marriage and family therapy and counseling psychology in affiliation with Northwestern University, and conducts cutting edge research projects that lead to a better understanding and treatment of mental health issues.