Do same-sex couples really have the same rights as married couples? | SBS Sexuality
In theory, this meant that 'de facto' same-sex couples should enjoy most of In Australia, as in Ireland, the same-sex marriage debate has ignited fervour Tony Abbott · Comment · Articles · Liam Elphick · Australia · Oceania. What Makes Same-Sex Relationships Succeed or Fail? Read the full article, titled “Observing Gay, Lesbian and heterosexual Couples' Relationships. study of same-sex relationships. . this article (see Ocobock, ;.
One strategy for addressing parental status is to match same- and different-sex comparison groups on parental status so that parents are compared with parents and nonparents are compared with nonparents e.Same-Sex Twin Flames Need to Know This
A second strategy for quantitative researchers is to consider parental status as potentially confounding or moderating the effects of union status on selected outcomes. For example, Denney and colleagues found that parental status is an important moderator in understanding health disparities between women in same-sex and different-sex relationships, in that having children was associated with poorer health for women in same-sex relationships than for women in different-sex relationships.
We further recommend that social scientists understand—and embrace—the diverse ways that parental status varies across union types. It is impossible to fully eliminate uncontrolled-variable bias, and we know that same-sex partners who are parents differ in other important ways from different-sex partners, in particular in terms of sociodemographic characteristics. Moreover, many same-sex partners did not have the option of becoming parents because of barriers to adoption as well as a lack of access to or the prohibitive cost of reproductive technologies, and this unique history shapes their relationship experiences Brewster et al.
Researchers could also compare parenthood and relationship experiences in geographic regions that differ on attitudes toward same-sex relationships and families. Unpartnered individuals Very few studies have compared individuals in same-sex relationships with their unpartnered counterparts, that is, single men and women with similar attractions, behaviors, and identities.
Yet the comparison of partnered to unpartnered persons has led to some of the most fundamental findings about different-sex relationships, showing, for example, that married and cohabiting different-sex partners are wealthier, healthier, and live longer than the unmarried Waite, Recent quantitative studies that have considered the unpartnered as a comparison group have found that those in same-sex relationships report better health than those who are widowed, divorced, or never married Denney et al.
Furthermore, studies that focus on sexual orientation and health seldom consider whether such associations differ for the unpartnered versus partnered.
Challenges and Opportunities for Research on Same-Sex Relationships
Data collections that focus on individuals who transition between an unpartnered status to a same-sex relationship may be particularly fruitful. For example, given different levels of social recognition and stress exposure, researchers may find that relationship formation and dissolution affects individuals from same- and different-sex relationships in different ways.
Future Directions for Research on Same-Sex Relationships We now turn to three strategies that may help catalyze current theoretical and analytical energy and innovation in research on same-sex relationships: Gendered Relational Contexts and Dyadic Data Analysis Gender almost certainly plays an important role in shaping relationship dynamics for same-sex couples, but gender is often conflated with gendered relational contexts in studies that compare same- and different-sex couples.
A gender-as-relational perspective C. Indeed, some scholars argue that unbiased gender effects in quantitative studies of relationships cannot be estimated unless researchers include men and women in different- and same-sex couples so that effects for the four aforementioned groups can be estimated T.
For example, recent qualitative research has shown that although gender drives differences in the way individuals view emotional intimacy with women desiring more permeable boundaries between partners in both same- and different-sex contextsgendered relational contexts drive the types of emotion work that individuals do to promote intimacy in their relationships with women with men and men with men doing more emotion work to sustain boundaries between partners; Umberson et al.
A gender-as-relational perspective also draws on intersectionality research Collins, to emphasize that gendered interactions reflect more than the gender of each partner; instead, gendered experiences vary depending on other aspects of social location e. Dyadic data and methods provide a promising strategy for studying same- and different-sex couples across gendered relational contexts and for further considering how gender identity and presentation matter across and within these contexts.
Many approaches to analyzing dyadic data require that members of a dyad be distinguishable from each other Kenny et al. Studies that examine gender effects in different-sex couples can distinguish dyad members on the basis of sex of partner, but sex of partner cannot be used to distinguish between members of same-sex dyads. To estimate gender effects in multilevel models comparing same- and different-sex couples, researchers can use the factorial method developed by T.
West and colleagues This approach calls for the inclusion of three gender effects in a given model: Goldberg and colleagues used this method to illustrate gendered dynamics of perceived parenting skills and relationship quality across same- and different-sex couples before and after adoption and found that both same- and different-sex parents experience a decline in relationship quality during the first years of parenting but that women experience steeper declines in love across relationship types.
Dyadic diary data Dyadic diary methods may provide particular utility in advancing our understanding of gendered relational contexts. This approach is ideal for examining relationship dynamics that unfold over short periods of time e. Diary data collected from both partners in same- and different-sex contexts would make it possible for future studies to conduct longitudinal analyses of daily fluctuations in reciprocal relationship dynamics and outcomes as well as to consider whether and how these processes vary by gendered relationship context and are potentially moderated by gender identity and gender presentation.
Quasi-Experimental Designs Quasi-experimental designs that test the effects of social policies on individuals and couples in same-sex relationships provide another promising research strategy. These designs provide a way to address questions of causal inference by looking at data across place i.
This approach turns the methodological challenge of a constantly changing legal landscape into an exciting opportunity to consider how social policies influence relationships and how this influence may vary across age cohorts. For example, researchers might test the effects of policy implementation on relationship quality or marriage formation across age cohorts.
Quasi-experimental designs have not yet been applied to the study of same-sex relationship outcomes, but a number of recent studies point to the potential for innovation. Hatzenbuehler has been at the forefront of research using quasi-experimental designs to consider how same-sex marriage laws influence health care expenditures for sexual minority men Hatzenbuehler et al.
For example, he found that the effect of marriage policy change on health care use and costs was similar for gay and bisexual men who were unpartnered and those who were in same-sex relationships Hatzenbuehler et al. He and his colleagues have noted that the challenges of a quasi-experimental approach include dealing with the constraints of measures available in existing data sets before and after policy implementation and the difficulty or impossibility of knowing when particular policies will be implemented, as well as limitations associated with lack of random assignment and changes other than policy shifts that occur during the same time period and may influence results Hatzenbuehler et al.
One strategy for addressing the latter challenge is to test the plausibility of alternative explanations; for example, Hatzenbuehler et al.
Future studies could also follow up on prior qualitative and quantitative data collections to compare individual and relationship experiences of interest e. Quasi-experimental designs are also useful for identifying mechanisms e. For example, Frost and Meyer found that higher levels of internalized homophobia were associated with worse relationship quality for lesbian, gay, and bisexual men and women.
These associations could be evaluated before and after key policy changes. Moreover, this approach could use dyadic data to assess the effects of policy change on couples and individuals in same- and different-sex relationships LeBlanc et al.
Relationship Biography Approach In closing, we suggest that a relationship biography approach—that is, focusing on temporal changes in relationship statuses and other components of relationship histories, such as relationship durations—be used as an organizing framework to drive future qualitative and quantitative research and studies of individuals as well as partner dyads.
A biographical approach would address these challenges by considering three things: We further suggest that change in relationship quality over time be considered as a component of relationship biography.
The biographical frame can be used with different theoretical approaches, is multidisciplinary in scope, urges multiple and intersecting research methods, and emphasizes diversity in life course experiences. Although the available evidence is mixed, some studies suggest that same-sex unions dissolve more quickly than do different-sex unions Lau, However, we do not yet have extensive biographical evidence about the duration of same-sex unions in the United States, or how access to marriage might influence relationship duration.
A relationship biography approach could also take into account gender identity and sexual identity transitions. Older cohorts of people in same-sex relationships, who formed their relationships in an era of significantly greater discrimination and no legal recognition for same-sex couples, may differ dramatically from younger cohorts LeBlanc et al.
Unique historical backdrops result in different relationship histories e. Thus, age, period, and cohort variation are important to consider in future studies of same-sex relationships Gotta et al. A biographical approach should incorporate information on relationship quality.
Currently, most national data sets that include information on relationship dynamics e. Incorporating relationship quality measures into representative data sets will contribute to a better understanding of the predictors and consequences of relationship quality for same-sex partnerships, the links between relationship quality and relationship duration and transitions, and relationship effects on psychological and physical well-being.
A relationship biography can be obtained retrospectively in cross-sectional data collections or assessed longitudinally as relationships evolve over time. A relationship biography approach would benefit from including an unpartnered comparison group, taking into account previous relationship statuses.
This nationally representative study of adolescents beginning in has followed respondents into young adulthood; respondents were, on average, age 28 in the most recent survey. Add Health includes measures of same-sex attraction, sexual identity, and histories of same- and different-sex relationships, allowing for detailed analysis of the lives of young adults.
A biographical approach directs attention to relationship formation throughout the life course, and Add Health data may be useful for studies of relationship formation.
For example, Ueno used Add Health data to incorporate the idea of life course transitions into a study of shifts in sexual orientation among adolescents over time and found that moving from different-sex relationships to same-sex relationships was correlated with worse mental health than continually dating same-sex partners. For example, future studies could consider the ages at which these transitions are most likely to occur, duration of same- and different-sex unions, relationship quality experiences, and effects on individual well-being.
Men and women may differ in these relationship experiences; women seem to be more situationally dependent and fluid in their sexuality than are men Diamond, ; Savin-Williams et al.
As respondents age, the Add Health project will become even more valuable to a relationship biography approach. Data for studying relationship biographies of older cohorts of same-sex couples are sorely lacking at the national level. Investigators certainly must continue to push for funding to include same-sex relationships in new and ongoing data collections.
Conclusion Research on same-sex relationships is in a period of intense discovery and enlightenment, and advances in the study of these relationships are sure to further our theoretical and empirical knowledge in family studies more broadly. Decades of federally funded research have enriched the available data on different-sex couples, yet current longitudinal data on same-sex couples are comparable to those gained through research on different-sex couples 30 or more years ago.
Investment in future data collections will be essential to advancing knowledge on same-sex couples. Although there is much that we can learn from data collections and methods used to study different-sex couples, we should not simply superimpose those procedures onto the study of same-sex couples.
Indeed, as we have discussed, some research questions, measures, and sample composition issues are unique to the study of same-sex relationships and require novel approaches. Most people yearn for and value an intimate relationship and, once established, a cohabiting, marital, or romantic union becomes a defining feature of their lives.
Relationships inevitably go through ups and downs. At some points, partners impose stress on each other, and at other times they provide invaluable emotional support.
Over the life course, relationships are formed, sustained, and inevitably ended through breakup or death, with profound effects on individuals and families. Family scholars must design studies that address same-sex partner dating and relationship formation as well as relationship losses and transitions throughout life, with all the vicissitudes therein.
In this article we have identified contemporary challenges to research on same-sex relationships and suggested strategies for beginning to address those challenges in order to capture the fullness of lives as they are lived across diverse communities. We hope these strategies will inspire scholars to move the field forward in new and innovative ways. References American Sociological Association. Perry and respondent Edith Schlain Windsor.
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Harvard University Press; Census same-sex couple data: Adjustments to reduce measurement error and empirical implications. The emergence and development of life course theory. In South Australiaunregistered de facto relationships must exist for two years before family law protections apply.
Married couples do not have to go through such a process: Once a couple has a valid marriage certificate, that is game over and they have all the legal rights that attach to marriage. Furthermore, marriage is covered by uniform federal laws that mean it is irrelevant which state or territory you reside in, unlike the piecemeal de facto relationship laws that apply differently in each state and territory.
Family law and immigration also retain significant legal differences. Married couples are automatically entitled to property settlements and spousal maintenance if they split, while de facto couples must prove certain factors are present in their relationship to be granted such entitlements. There is no such time requirement for married couples. In Australia, as in Ireland, the same-sex marriage debate has ignited fervour on both sides.
Same-Sex and Different-Sex Cohabiting Couple Relationship Stability
Reporter Dean Cornish visited the country two years after its referendum, to see what Australia can learn. What happens in practice?
- Data and Methods: General Approaches
This is just one side of the problem — the other is what actually happens in practice. Many government departments are still unaware of what a registered or de facto relationship even means and do not validly apply the relevant laws. The tragic case of Ben Jago displays this.