Same sex relationship definition biology

Homosexuality - Wikipedia

same sex relationship definition biology

But the scientific evidence for a biological basis for sexual Three gene finding studies showed that gay brothers share genetic . Three years ago we set out to make The Guardian sustainable by deepening our relationship with our .. variations and science wants to define and label them but being gay. Although a number of biological factors have been considered by scientists, such as Most scientists agree that it is unlikely that there is a single "gay gene" that Note: The above text is excerpted from the Wikipedia article "Homosexuality", likely made same-sex marriage and other policies more widely acceptable in. More Americans are having sex with partners of the same gender. Here's why this is happening, and why it's a good thing.

A fourth is that relationships between consenting adults should not be regulated by the government. Although most religions subscribe to just one of these beliefs, it is not uncommon for two or more viewpoints to coexist within a given society. Proponents of the first view believe that the primary goal of marriage is to provide a relatively uniform social institution through which to produce and raise children. In their view, because male and female are both necessary for procreation, the privileges of marriage should be available only to opposite-sex couples.

In other words, partnerships involving sexual intimacy should have at least a notional potential for procreation. From this perspective, the movement to legally recognize same-sex marriage is a misguided attempt to deny the social, moraland biological distinctions that foster the continued existence of society and so should be discouraged.

Among groups who feel strongly that same-sex marriage is problematic, there is also a tendency for the legal relationships of spouses, parents, and children to converge.

Typically, these societies provide for the automatic inheritance of property between spouses, and between parents and children, and allow these close kin to co-own property without joint ownership contracts. In addition, such societies often allow close kin a variety of automatic privileges such as sponsoring immigration visas or making medical decisions for one another; for those with whom one shares no close kin relationship, these privileges typically require legal interventions.

Such legal circumventions are usually more difficult for, and in some cases even prohibited to, same-sex couples. In contrast to the procreative model of marriage, advocates of the legalization of same-sex marriage generally believed that committed partnerships involving sexual intimacy are valuable because they draw people together to a singular degree and in singular ways.

In this view, such relationships are intrinsically worthy while also quite distinct from though not incompatible with activities associated with the bearing or raising of children. Sexual partnerships are one of a number of factors that bond adults together into stable household units. These households, in turn, form the foundation of a productive society—a society in which, albeit incidentally, children, elders, and others who may be relatively powerless are likely to be protected.

From this perspective, the devaluation of same-sex intimacy is immoral because it constitutes arbitrary and irrational discriminationthereby damaging the community. Most same-sex marriage advocates further held that international human rights legislation provided a universal franchise to equal treatment under the law.

Thus, prohibiting a specific group from the full rights of marriage was illegally discriminatory. For advocates of the community-benefit perspective, all the legal perquisites associated with heterosexual marriage should be available to any committed couple.

For these reasons, they maintained that consensual intimacy between adults should not be regulated and that marriage should be disestablished as a cultural institution. A fourth view, libertarianismhad different premises from queer theory but somewhat similar ramifications; it proposed that government powers should be strictly limited, generally to the tasks of maintaining civil order, infrastructureand defense.

For libertarians, marriage legislation of any sort—either the legalization or the prohibition of same-sex marriage—fell outside of the role of government and was unacceptable. Same-sex marriage and the law Societies have resolved the intertwined issues of sexuality, reproduction, and marriage in myriad ways. Their responses regarding the moralitydesirability, and administrative perquisites of same-sex partnerships have been equally diverse.

Notably, however, by the beginning of the 21st century most countries opted for one of only three legal resolutions to these intersecting problems: Many countries have yet to reach a consensus on these issues.

See also marriage law. As noted above, many societies traditionally chose to ignore the issue of same-sex marriage by treating same-sex intimacy as a subject unsuitable for discussion. Many of these jurisdictions, as well as those that actively criminalize same-sex unions, contended that homosexuality and lesbianism are mental disorders and built their public policies on this premise. In treating same-sex desire as a psychiatric illness, these cultures moved same-sex intimacy and marriage from the realm of civil regulations the domain of contract law to that of public safety the domain of criminal law.

In such societies, the possibility of arrest or institutionalization further reinforced taboos on same-sex intimacy and discussions thereof, typically driving such activities underground. International In the early 21st century the countries that most seriously penalized same-sex relations tended to be in deeply conservative regions of the world, particularly Islamic theocracies and some parts of Asia and Africa.

They often proscribed behaviours that other countries viewed as subject to moral, rather than legal, regulation.

A variety of sexual or quasi-sexual acts, usually including same-sex intimacy, were criminalized in these countries, and the penalties for these acts could be as severe as execution. In contrast, the acceptance of same-sex partnerships was particularly apparent in northern Europe and in countries with cultural ties to that region. In Denmark became the first country to establish registered partnerships—an attenuated version of marriage—for same-sex couples.

Soon thereafter similar laws, generally using specific vocabulary e. Interestingly—and perhaps as a reflection of tensions between the marriage-for-procreation and marriage-for-community-good positions discussed above—many European countries initially prevented same-sex couples from adoption and artificial insemination ; byhowever, most of these restrictions had been removed. Outside Europe, some jurisdictions also adopted some form of same-sex partnership rights; Israel recognized common-law same-sex marriage in the mids the Israeli Supreme Court further ruled in that same-sex marriages performed abroad should be recognizedand same-sex civil unions went into effect in New Zealand and in parts of Argentina, Australia, Brazil, and Mexico in the early 21st century.

In Uruguay became the first Latin American country to legalize same-sex civil unions nationwide; the legislation became effective the following year. In the Netherlands revised its same-sex partnership law and the following year became the first country to offer marriage to same-sex couples; several other European countries subsequently legalized gay marriage. In the European Union mandated that all of its members pass laws recognizing the same-sex marriages of fellow EU countries.

As countries began to legalize same-sex partnerships, public opinionparticularly in Europe, began to shift in favour of full marriage rights for same-sex unions. For example, by the middle of the first decade of the s, a Eurobarometer poll carried out by the European Commission found that four-fifths of the citizens of the Netherlands felt that same-sex marriage should be legal throughout Europe; in a further seven countries Sweden, Denmark, Belgium, LuxembourgSpain, Germanyand the Czech Republica majority held a similar view.

Nevertheless, in other parts of Europe, particularly central and southern Europe, support for same-sex marriage was quite low, often with fewer than one-fifth of those polled favouring legalization. By the following decade, polls indicated that roughly one-half of British citizens approved of legalizing same-sex marriage in the United Kingdom ; such marriages were legalized in England and Wales inand Scotland followed suit in In Canada became the first country outside Europe to pass legislation legalizing same-sex marriage.

Thereafter, South Africa and Argentina were the first African and Latin American countries, respectively, to legalize same-sex marriage. New Zealand became the first country in Oceania to do so. Elsewhere, Bermuda legalized same-sex marriage inbut the following year it passed a bill that replaced such marriages with domestic partnerships. Bermuda thus became the first country to repeal same-sex marriage.

In other countries, decisions on same-sex marriage were effectively turned over to individual states or districts.

In the Federal District Mexico Cityseparate from other Mexican jurisdictions, legalized same-sex marriage. Gay marriage was later made legal, under the same terms, elsewhere in the country. Similarly, shortly after Brazil legalized same-sex civil unions inthe Supreme Federal Court ruled that sexual orientation could not be a pretext for denying a couple the legal protections of marriage, although it stopped short of specifically authorizing same-sex marriage at the federal level.

same sex relationship definition biology

In response, several Brazilian states separately opted to allow for same-sex marriages, which were considered valid throughout Brazil, before the National Council of Justice approved a resolution in ensuring that such unions could be registered anywhere in the country. In a majority of Australians voted for same-sex marriage in a nonbinding referendum. United States In the United States the question of whether couples of the same sex should be allowed to marry has roiled politics since at least The state, in turn, argued that it had a compelling interest in preventing same-sex marriage, as that practice would inherently damage the public good.

Soon after this finding, Hawaiian legislators added such a definition to the state constitution and thus made moot the issuing of marriage licenses to same-sex partners. Many Americans felt that the Hawaii court decision represented a serious threat to social stability, and in the U. This legislation declared that same-sex marriages would not be recognized for federal purposes, such as the award of Social Security benefits normally afforded to a surviving spouse or employment-based benefits for the partners of federal employees.

The act also restated existing law by providing that no U. Nonetheless, some states moved toward the legal recognition of same-sex partnerships. The state soon began to issue marriage licenses for same-sex couples, but these were quickly challenged and their legal status over the long term remained uncertain.

Officials in some smaller jurisdictions, notably San Francisco, joined the controversy in early by issuing marriage licenses in defiance of local prohibitions; these licenses were later found to be invalid.

Subsequently, several other states and Washington, D. Early in the Supreme Courts of two states— California and Connecticut —struck down state laws limiting marriage to the union between a man and a woman. Later in the voters in California passed a referendum, Proposition 8that defined marriage as a union between a man and a woman.

Proposition 8 subsequently was ruled unconstitutional in federal district court in August on the grounds that the prohibition of same-sex marriage violated the due process and equal protection clauses.

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This use of social science research highlights the importance of adhering to best practices for research on same-sex relationships which several U. Sample Size An additional challenge is the small number of people in same-sex relationships, making it difficult to recruit substantial numbers of respondents and to achieve racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic diversity in samples of persons in same-sex relationships Black et al. One strategy to deal with small samples of individuals in same-sex relationships has been to pool data across years or data sets to obtain a sufficient number of cases for analysis e.

For example, using pooled data from the National Health Interview Survey, Liu and colleagues found that socioeconomic status suppressed the health disadvantage of same-sex cohabitors compared with different-sex married adults. Other studies have pooled data across different states to achieve larger and more representative samples, focusing especially on states with higher concentrations of same-sex couples.

For example, Blosnich and Bossarte aggregated 3 years of state-level data from 24 states to compare rates and consequences of intimate partner violence in same- and different-sex relationships and found that victims of intimate partner violence report poorer health outcomes regardless of sex of perpetrator. But current scholarship highlights the need to go beyond the male—female binary to take into account transgender and transsexual identities by measuring sex assigned at birth and current sex or gender Center of Excellence for Transgender Health, ; Pfeffer, and to measure both gender identity i.

This approach pushes us to think about how gender identity and presentation might shape or modify relationship experiences of partners within same- and different-sex relationships. For example, gender identity may be more important than sex in driving housework in equality between partners in both same- and different-sex relationships.

Scholars can further consider how these aspects of gender and sexuality may vary across diverse populations. Similarly, studies need to include questions about multiple aspects of sexuality e. For example, this would allow for the examination of differences between people in same-sex relationships who identify as bisexual and those who identify as gay or lesbian; individuals in mixed-orientation marriages e. Attention to gender identity and presentation in future research will lead to a more nuanced understanding of gendered dynamics within different- as well as same-sex relationships.

Recruitment Challenges Recruiting people for studies of same-sex relationships poses several unique challenges beyond typical recruitment concerns. Past strategies have included working with community partners e.

same sex relationship definition biology

Comparison Group Challenges Decisions about the definition and composition of comparison groups in studies that compare same-sex relationships to different-sex relationships are critical because same-sex couples are demographically distinct from different-sex couples; individuals in same-sex couples are younger, more educated, more likely to be employed, less likely to have children, and slightly more likely to be female than individuals in different-sex couples Gates, b.

For example, researchers may erroneously conclude that relationship dynamics differ for same- and different-sex couples when it is in fact parental status differences between same- and different-sex couples that shape relationship dynamics. Three specific comparison group considerations that create unique challenges—and opportunities—for research on same-sex relationships include a a shifting legal landscape, b parental status, and c unpartnered individuals.

Shifting legal landscape As legal options have expanded for same-sex couples, more studies have compared people in same-sex marriages and civil unions or registered domestic partnerships with people in different-sex married partnerships e. Yet because legal options vary across states and over time, the same statuses are not available to all same-sex couples.

Same-sex relationship - Wikipedia

This shifting legal landscape introduces significant challenges, in particular for scholars who attempt to compare same-sex couples with different-sex couples, because most same-sex couples have not married or even had the option of marryingwhereas most different-sex couples have had ample opportunity to marry.

One strategy for addressing this complexity is to collect data in states that legally acknowledge same-sex partnerships. For example, Rothblum and colleagues Rothblum et al. This design, which could be adapted for qualitative or quantitative studies, allowed the researchers to compare three types of couples and address potentially confounding variables e.

Gates and Badgett argued that future research comparing different legal statuses and legal contexts across states will help us better understand what is potentially unique about marriage e. A related challenge is that same-sex couples in legal unions may have cohabited for many years but been in a legal union for a short time because legal union status became available only recently.

This limits investigation into the implications of same-sex marriage given that marriage is conflated with relationship duration. One strategy for dealing with this is to match same- and different-sex couples in the same legal status e. An additional complication is that historical changes in legal options for persons in same-sex relationships contribute to different relationship histories across successive birth cohorts, an issue we address later, in our discussion of relationship biography and directions for future research.

Future studies might also consider whether access to legal marriage influences the stability and duration of same-sex relationships, perhaps using quasi-experimental methods also discussed below. Parental status and kinship systems Individuals in same-sex relationships are nested within larger kinship systems, in particular those that include children and parents, and family dynamics may diverge from patterns found for individuals in different-sex relationships Ocobock, ; Patterson, ; Reczek, For example, some studies suggest that, compared with individuals in different-sex relationships, those in same-sex relationships experience more strain and less contact with their families of origin Rothblum, Marriage holds great symbolic significance that may alter how others, including family members, view and interact with individuals in same-sex unions Badgett, Past research shows that individuals in different-sex marriages are more involved with their family of origin than are those in different-sex cohabiting unions.

Future research should further explore how the transition from cohabitation to marriage alters relationships with other family members including relationships with families of origin for those in same-sex unions Ocobock, Although a full discussion of data and methodological issues concerning larger kinship systems is beyond the scope of this article see Ocobock, ; Patterson,we focus on one aspect of kinship—parental status—to demonstrate some important comparison group considerations.

Parental status varies for same- and different-sex couples and can confound differences between these two groups as well as within groups of same-sex couples e. Moreover, because having children contributes to relationship stability for different-sex couples, parental status differences between same- and different-sex couples could contribute to differences in relationship stability Joyner et al.

Same-sex couples are less likely than different-sex couples to be raising children, although this distinction is diminishing, albeit modestly Gates, b. Same-sex partners living with children are also more likely to be female than male and tend to be more economically disadvantaged and to be from racial minority groups than same-sex couples without children Gates, a.

Pathways to parenthood are diverse among same-sex couples e. A history of different-sex marriage and divorce may influence current relationship dynamics for individuals in same-sex unions. One strategy for addressing parental status is to match same- and different-sex comparison groups on parental status so that parents are compared with parents and nonparents are compared with nonparents e.

A second strategy for quantitative researchers is to consider parental status as potentially confounding or moderating the effects of union status on selected outcomes. For example, Denney and colleagues found that parental status is an important moderator in understanding health disparities between women in same-sex and different-sex relationships, in that having children was associated with poorer health for women in same-sex relationships than for women in different-sex relationships.

We further recommend that social scientists understand—and embrace—the diverse ways that parental status varies across union types. It is impossible to fully eliminate uncontrolled-variable bias, and we know that same-sex partners who are parents differ in other important ways from different-sex partners, in particular in terms of sociodemographic characteristics.

Moreover, many same-sex partners did not have the option of becoming parents because of barriers to adoption as well as a lack of access to or the prohibitive cost of reproductive technologies, and this unique history shapes their relationship experiences Brewster et al. Researchers could also compare parenthood and relationship experiences in geographic regions that differ on attitudes toward same-sex relationships and families. Unpartnered individuals Very few studies have compared individuals in same-sex relationships with their unpartnered counterparts, that is, single men and women with similar attractions, behaviors, and identities.

Yet the comparison of partnered to unpartnered persons has led to some of the most fundamental findings about different-sex relationships, showing, for example, that married and cohabiting different-sex partners are wealthier, healthier, and live longer than the unmarried Waite, Recent quantitative studies that have considered the unpartnered as a comparison group have found that those in same-sex relationships report better health than those who are widowed, divorced, or never married Denney et al.

Furthermore, studies that focus on sexual orientation and health seldom consider whether such associations differ for the unpartnered versus partnered. Data collections that focus on individuals who transition between an unpartnered status to a same-sex relationship may be particularly fruitful.

For example, given different levels of social recognition and stress exposure, researchers may find that relationship formation and dissolution affects individuals from same- and different-sex relationships in different ways.

Future Directions for Research on Same-Sex Relationships We now turn to three strategies that may help catalyze current theoretical and analytical energy and innovation in research on same-sex relationships: Gendered Relational Contexts and Dyadic Data Analysis Gender almost certainly plays an important role in shaping relationship dynamics for same-sex couples, but gender is often conflated with gendered relational contexts in studies that compare same- and different-sex couples.

A gender-as-relational perspective C. Indeed, some scholars argue that unbiased gender effects in quantitative studies of relationships cannot be estimated unless researchers include men and women in different- and same-sex couples so that effects for the four aforementioned groups can be estimated T.

For example, recent qualitative research has shown that although gender drives differences in the way individuals view emotional intimacy with women desiring more permeable boundaries between partners in both same- and different-sex contextsgendered relational contexts drive the types of emotion work that individuals do to promote intimacy in their relationships with women with men and men with men doing more emotion work to sustain boundaries between partners; Umberson et al.

A gender-as-relational perspective also draws on intersectionality research Collins, to emphasize that gendered interactions reflect more than the gender of each partner; instead, gendered experiences vary depending on other aspects of social location e.

Dyadic data and methods provide a promising strategy for studying same- and different-sex couples across gendered relational contexts and for further considering how gender identity and presentation matter across and within these contexts. Many approaches to analyzing dyadic data require that members of a dyad be distinguishable from each other Kenny et al.

Studies that examine gender effects in different-sex couples can distinguish dyad members on the basis of sex of partner, but sex of partner cannot be used to distinguish between members of same-sex dyads.

To estimate gender effects in multilevel models comparing same- and different-sex couples, researchers can use the factorial method developed by T. West and colleagues This approach calls for the inclusion of three gender effects in a given model: Goldberg and colleagues used this method to illustrate gendered dynamics of perceived parenting skills and relationship quality across same- and different-sex couples before and after adoption and found that both same- and different-sex parents experience a decline in relationship quality during the first years of parenting but that women experience steeper declines in love across relationship types.

Dyadic diary data Dyadic diary methods may provide particular utility in advancing our understanding of gendered relational contexts.

This approach is ideal for examining relationship dynamics that unfold over short periods of time e. Diary data collected from both partners in same- and different-sex contexts would make it possible for future studies to conduct longitudinal analyses of daily fluctuations in reciprocal relationship dynamics and outcomes as well as to consider whether and how these processes vary by gendered relationship context and are potentially moderated by gender identity and gender presentation.

Quasi-Experimental Designs Quasi-experimental designs that test the effects of social policies on individuals and couples in same-sex relationships provide another promising research strategy. These designs provide a way to address questions of causal inference by looking at data across place i. This approach turns the methodological challenge of a constantly changing legal landscape into an exciting opportunity to consider how social policies influence relationships and how this influence may vary across age cohorts.

For example, researchers might test the effects of policy implementation on relationship quality or marriage formation across age cohorts. Quasi-experimental designs have not yet been applied to the study of same-sex relationship outcomes, but a number of recent studies point to the potential for innovation.

Hatzenbuehler has been at the forefront of research using quasi-experimental designs to consider how same-sex marriage laws influence health care expenditures for sexual minority men Hatzenbuehler et al.

For example, he found that the effect of marriage policy change on health care use and costs was similar for gay and bisexual men who were unpartnered and those who were in same-sex relationships Hatzenbuehler et al.

He and his colleagues have noted that the challenges of a quasi-experimental approach include dealing with the constraints of measures available in existing data sets before and after policy implementation and the difficulty or impossibility of knowing when particular policies will be implemented, as well as limitations associated with lack of random assignment and changes other than policy shifts that occur during the same time period and may influence results Hatzenbuehler et al.

One strategy for addressing the latter challenge is to test the plausibility of alternative explanations; for example, Hatzenbuehler et al. Future studies could also follow up on prior qualitative and quantitative data collections to compare individual and relationship experiences of interest e. Quasi-experimental designs are also useful for identifying mechanisms e. For example, Frost and Meyer found that higher levels of internalized homophobia were associated with worse relationship quality for lesbian, gay, and bisexual men and women.

These associations could be evaluated before and after key policy changes. Moreover, this approach could use dyadic data to assess the effects of policy change on couples and individuals in same- and different-sex relationships LeBlanc et al.

Relationship Biography Approach In closing, we suggest that a relationship biography approach—that is, focusing on temporal changes in relationship statuses and other components of relationship histories, such as relationship durations—be used as an organizing framework to drive future qualitative and quantitative research and studies of individuals as well as partner dyads.

A biographical approach would address these challenges by considering three things: We further suggest that change in relationship quality over time be considered as a component of relationship biography. The biographical frame can be used with different theoretical approaches, is multidisciplinary in scope, urges multiple and intersecting research methods, and emphasizes diversity in life course experiences. Although the available evidence is mixed, some studies suggest that same-sex unions dissolve more quickly than do different-sex unions Lau, However, we do not yet have extensive biographical evidence about the duration of same-sex unions in the United States, or how access to marriage might influence relationship duration.

A relationship biography approach could also take into account gender identity and sexual identity transitions. Older cohorts of people in same-sex relationships, who formed their relationships in an era of significantly greater discrimination and no legal recognition for same-sex couples, may differ dramatically from younger cohorts LeBlanc et al.

Unique historical backdrops result in different relationship histories e. Thus, age, period, and cohort variation are important to consider in future studies of same-sex relationships Gotta et al. A biographical approach should incorporate information on relationship quality. Currently, most national data sets that include information on relationship dynamics e.

Incorporating relationship quality measures into representative data sets will contribute to a better understanding of the predictors and consequences of relationship quality for same-sex partnerships, the links between relationship quality and relationship duration and transitions, and relationship effects on psychological and physical well-being.

The evolutionary puzzle of homosexuality

A relationship biography can be obtained retrospectively in cross-sectional data collections or assessed longitudinally as relationships evolve over time. A relationship biography approach would benefit from including an unpartnered comparison group, taking into account previous relationship statuses.

This nationally representative study of adolescents beginning in has followed respondents into young adulthood; respondents were, on average, age 28 in the most recent survey. Add Health includes measures of same-sex attraction, sexual identity, and histories of same- and different-sex relationships, allowing for detailed analysis of the lives of young adults.

A biographical approach directs attention to relationship formation throughout the life course, and Add Health data may be useful for studies of relationship formation. For example, Ueno used Add Health data to incorporate the idea of life course transitions into a study of shifts in sexual orientation among adolescents over time and found that moving from different-sex relationships to same-sex relationships was correlated with worse mental health than continually dating same-sex partners.

For example, future studies could consider the ages at which these transitions are most likely to occur, duration of same- and different-sex unions, relationship quality experiences, and effects on individual well-being. Men and women may differ in these relationship experiences; women seem to be more situationally dependent and fluid in their sexuality than are men Diamond, ; Savin-Williams et al. As respondents age, the Add Health project will become even more valuable to a relationship biography approach.

Data for studying relationship biographies of older cohorts of same-sex couples are sorely lacking at the national level. Investigators certainly must continue to push for funding to include same-sex relationships in new and ongoing data collections. Conclusion Research on same-sex relationships is in a period of intense discovery and enlightenment, and advances in the study of these relationships are sure to further our theoretical and empirical knowledge in family studies more broadly.

Decades of federally funded research have enriched the available data on different-sex couples, yet current longitudinal data on same-sex couples are comparable to those gained through research on different-sex couples 30 or more years ago.

Challenges and Opportunities for Research on Same-Sex Relationships

Investment in future data collections will be essential to advancing knowledge on same-sex couples. Although there is much that we can learn from data collections and methods used to study different-sex couples, we should not simply superimpose those procedures onto the study of same-sex couples. Indeed, as we have discussed, some research questions, measures, and sample composition issues are unique to the study of same-sex relationships and require novel approaches.

Most people yearn for and value an intimate relationship and, once established, a cohabiting, marital, or romantic union becomes a defining feature of their lives. Relationships inevitably go through ups and downs. At some points, partners impose stress on each other, and at other times they provide invaluable emotional support.

Over the life course, relationships are formed, sustained, and inevitably ended through breakup or death, with profound effects on individuals and families.