Monday, November 14, 2011

New study about marriages between same sex couples

The Williams Institute at UCLA, which is a terrific think tank on gay legal issues, has done a study (PDF) comparing gay and straight couples in terms of marriage and divorce, and civil uions.

 There's a good article in the HuffPo summarizing the findings, which include the fact that upto 20% of LGBT couples identified in the census are in some sort of legally recognized union. What else we learn:
 Firs,t marriage is much more attractive to same-sex couples than a legally equivalent registration as civil union or domestic partners. This finding is consistent with other studies that have shown that same-sex couples are more interested in the social symbolism and community acceptance that is bestowed by marriage, as opposed to the "dry" technical benefits of a domestic partnership or civil union. This should not surprise us -- increasingly, gay and lesbian folks seem to be not all that different than straight couples when it comes to love and romance. 
 This goes along with my recent post about commitment. As Californians, we could have been "DP'd" but getting a form notarized at Kinko's and mailing it to Sacramento isn't really marriage.  It's like registering a car.  (My view.)
Second, marriage is more appealing to women than to men. 
 Turns out,about  2/3 of married same sex couples are lesbians.  But we're sort of the forgotten community. The expressions of disgust from our opponents, the "ick" factor,  and their bizarre fascination with the mechanics of sex are pretty much exclusively directed at gay men.
  Third, the divorce rate is lower for same-sex couples than straight couples. ... I suspect that this can be attributed to the types of couples getting married in these early years of same-sex marriage, and not a testament to the stability of lesbian and gay relationships. There's no statistical data out yet on this particular dynamic, but in my experience as a lawyer working with same-sex couples, the partners getting married tend to be those who have already been together for some time. They already have weathered the stormy middle years of coupledom, and they are consciously committed to being a family. 
This also makes sense to me.  

So, as it turns out, gay couples who marry really aren't that different from committed opposite sex couples.  Marriage is,indeed, marriage.

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