September 18, 2006

Marriage Equality: The Social Science Data

Posted at 3:20 pm (Pacific Time)

In a new paper published in this month’s issue of American Psychologist, I review behavioral and social science research to assess the validity of key factual claims in the debate about whether and how civil society should recognize committed relationships between same-sex partners. In brief, the data indicate that:

  • same-sex and heterosexual relationships do not differ in their essential psychosocial dimensions;
  • a parent’s sexual orientation is unrelated to her or his ability to provide a healthy and nurturing family environment; and
  • marriage bestows substantial psychological, social, and health benefits.

I conclude that same-sex couples and their children are likely to benefit in numerous ways from legal recognition of their families, and that providing such recognition through marriage will bestow greater benefit than civil unions or domestic partnerships.

The article, Legal Recognition Of Same-Sex Relationships In The United States: A Social Science Perspective, is based on my work on the American Psychological Association’s amicus briefs in marriage cases in New Jersey, Washington, and other states. A copy can be requested on my website.

Copyright © 2006 by Gregory M. Herek. All rights reserved.

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