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Are Gay and Lesbian cohabiting couples really different from heterosexual married couples?


Department of Psychology, Wright State University, Dayton, OH 45435-0001 (


Both partners from gay and lesbian cohabiting couples without children were compared longitudinally with both partners from heterosexual married couples with children (N at first assessment = 80, 53, and 80 couples, respectively) on variables from 5 domains indicative of relationship health. For 50% of the comparisons, gay and lesbian partners did not differ from heterosexual partners. Seventy-eight percent of the comparisons on which differences were found indicated that gay or lesbian partners functioned better than heterosexual partners did. Because the variables that predicted concurrent relationship quality and relationship stability for heterosexual parents also did so for gay and lesbian partners, I conclude that the processes that regulate relationship functioning generalize across gay, lesbian, and heterosexual couples.