The close relationships of lesbians and gay men

Abstract

This article reviews empirical studies of same-sex couples in the United States, highlighting consistent findings, drawing comparisons to heterosexual couples, and noting gaps in available research. U.S. Census data indicate that there were more than 600,000 same-sex couples living together in 2000. Research about relationship formation, the division of household labor, power, satisfaction, sexuality, conflict, commitment, and relationship stability is presented. Next, we highlight three recent research topics: the legalization of same-sex relationships through civil unions and same-sex marriage, the experiences of same-sex couples raising children, and the impact of societal prejudice and discrimination on same-sex partners. We conclude with comments about the contributions of empirical research to debunking negative stereotypes of same-sex couples, testing the generalizability of theories about close relationships, informing our understanding of gender and close relationships, and providing a scientific basis for public policy.

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