This study was funded by grants from the Gill Foundation and the University Committee on Research and Scholarship of the University of Vermont. The authors gratefully acknowledge the support of Vermont State Representative Bill Lippert for supporting the study, and the Vermont Office of Vital Records of the Vermont Department of Health for providing the civil union certificates.
The Longest “Legal” U.S. Same-Sex Couples Reflect on Their Relationships
Version of Record online: 10 JUN 2011
© 2011 The Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues
Journal of Social Issues
Volume 67, Issue 2, pages 302–315, June 2011
How to Cite
Rothblum, E. D., Balsam, K. F. and Solomon, S. E. (2011), The Longest “Legal” U.S. Same-Sex Couples Reflect on Their Relationships. Journal of Social Issues, 67: 302–315. doi: 10.1111/j.1540-4560.2011.01699.x
- Issue online: 10 JUN 2011
- Version of Record online: 10 JUN 2011
Vermont was the first U.S. state to create a legal status for same-sex couples (civil unions). Same-sex couples who entered into civil unions during the first year of availability were asked to reflect on their relationship 3 years later. Written essays from 452 members of civil union couples were analyzed via thematic analysis. Most couple members considered the civil union to be highly significant, providing increased benefits and legitimacy. Some couple members did not consider the civil union to be as significant; they mentioned that civil unions were not the same as marriage, did not reflect the longevity of their relationship, or that their family of origin was still unsupportive. Some couple members got involved in political action to legalize their relationship and some had since gotten married in Canada, Massachusetts, or elsewhere. The implications of these findings for understanding minority stress, relationship investment, and future directions are discussed.