Sure to mix up the gay marriage debate, social scientists are turning to same-sex couples to find out what makes a healthy relationship and marriage. One study analyzed how Vermont's married couples address issues like money, household work, and sex, as compared to gay couples joined in civil unions.
Some of the research findings include:
- Same-sex partners generally share the work evenly. Conversely, in hetero relationships, the woman usually does more housework, while the man holds more financial responsibility.
- In straight relationships, men are more likely to initiate sex, while women are more likely to refuse sex and initiate "talks" about relationship problems. But, in same-sex couples, there is a balanced sharing of such behaviors.
For some more analysis, and to find out how the groups handle arguments differently,
- Same-sex couples are less likely to become physically agitated during and after an argument.
- Same-sex couples experienced more relationship satisfaction, suggesting that the inequality among straight partners impacts happiness.
Same-sex partners are better at relating to their partners, making it easier for them to diffuse conflict, according to experts. But the research also reassures that the differences are not rooted in biological differences between men and women. Thus, findings urge straight couples to see situations from their partners' perspectives.
California's first gay marriages are set for June 17, but that has not stopped opponents from adding a state constitutional gay marriage ban to the November ballot. When academic research purports that homosexual couples have healthier and happier relationships than their straight counterparts, does it undermine critics of gay marriage?