Will marriage matter? Effects of marriage anticipated by same-sex couples
From Journal of Family Issues
While UK headlines report the strong opposition from the church to legalizing same-sex marriage, this study looks at the benefits marriage offers to all. It used online surveys to explore the anticipated impact of legalized marriage on partners in same-sex couples living in California. The data were gathered prior to the California Supreme Court decision in May 2008 legalizing same-sex marriage. Research consistently suggests that marriage can serve as a protective factor in that people who are married demonstrate superior levels of mental health compared with unmarried individuals and as the level of commitment increases in a relationship, the amount of well-being increases. Most of this research on the benefits of marriage has been conducted on heterosexual couples. Now, researchers are beginning to suggest that the benefits of marital status may apply to same-sex couples. Findings point to the possibility that having some legal legitimization of one’s union gives a couple an advantage, at least with respect to the stability of the relationship.
The current study used an online survey to explore the anticipated impact of legalized marriage on partners in same-sex couples living in California. These data were gathered prior to the California Supreme Court decision in May 2008 legalizing same-sex marriage, which held sway for 5 months before California Proposition 8 eliminating same-sex marriage was passed by a voter referendum. In addition to administering three quantitative measures (Gay and Lesbian Acceptance & Social Support Index, Anticipated Impact of Marriage Scale, and The Couple Satisfaction Index), a qualitative approach to inquiry was used to derive themes in the reported experiences of the study participants. The principal theme emerging from participants’ responses involved a ubiquitous sense of security in all areas of their life, including increased permanence in their couple relationship as well as feeling protected as a unit by the larger society.
Shulman, J., Gotta, G., & Green, R. (2011). Will Marriage Matter? Effects of Marriage Anticipated by Same-Sex Couples Journal of Family Issues, 33 (2), 158-181 DOI: 10.1177/0192513X11406228