An Exploratory Investigation of Heterosexual Licensed Domestic Partners



In-depth telephone interviews were conducted in four cities in an exploratory study of 23 licensed cohabitors to determine why they have chosen to legitimize their intimate unions through domestic partnership ordinances, rather than through legal marriage. The cohabitors in this sample are pursuing these licensed partnerships to obtain an economic benefit (e.g., health insurance coverage for a partner); as a substitute for legal remarriage; to legitimize their unions in a way other than through legal marriage; or as an ideological alternative to legal marriage. Regardless of motivations to pursue domestic partnership certificates, these respondents are divided over whether they should have the same rights and responsibilities as the married.