191525 I do, or do I? Same-sex couples in legal relationships

Monday, October 27, 2008: 10:50 AM

Esther Rothblum, PhD , Women's Studies, SDSU, San Diego State University, San Diego, CA
Kimberly F. Balsam, PhD , School of Social Work, University of Washington, Seattle, WA
At a time when heterosexual marriage rates are declining, many countries and localities are advocating for the rights of lesbians and gay men to enter legalized relationships, including marriage. This talk will summarize research on same-sex couples in legalized relationships compared with same-sex couples not in legalized relationships, and heterosexual married siblings. The focus was on demographic factors, division of housework and childcare, sex and monogamy, relationship satisfaction, and conflict. The sample is being followed over time, and results from the three-year follow-up will be presented. At Time 2, same-sex couples not in civil unions were more likely to have ended their relationship than same-sex civil union or heterosexual married couples. Compared with heterosexual married participants, both types of same-sex couples reported greater relationship quality, compatibility, and intimacy, and lower levels of conflict. Same-sex female and male couples and heterosexual couples with and without children were also compared. Finally, the talk will focus on a study comparing same-sex couples who in 2004 got married in Massachusetts, had a civil union in Vermont, or had a domestic partnership in California. These studies have implications for same-sex marriage debates and policy, such as the upcoming vote in California this year.

Learning Objectives:
To learn about the legal status of same-sex marriage in the U.S. and the world, and to compare same-sex couples in legal relationships with same-sex couples who choose not to legalize their relationship, and with heterosexual married siblings.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a researcher of same-sex couples.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.