Civil Union Study 2000-2002, United States (ICPSR 31241)

Vermont was the first state in the United States to legalize same-sex relationships in mid-2000, so that same-sex couples could have the same legal rights as heterosexual married couples at the state level. Same-sex couples came to Vermont from all over the country to legalize their relationships. During the first year that this legislation was enacted, 80 percent of civil unions were acquired by out-of-state residents. In 2002, a project was conducted that compared couples who had civil unions in Vermont during the first year of that new legislation (July 2000-June 2001) with same-sex couples in their friendship circles who had not had civil unions, and with heterosexual married siblings (Solomon, Rothblum, and Balsam, 2004; 2005). The focus was on demographic factors, length of relationship, social support from family and friends, contact with families of origin, social and political activities, degree of "outness," and division of housework, child care, and finances. This was the first study to focus on same-sex couples in legalized relationships in the United States. It was also the first study to examine same-sex couples recruited from a population instead of a convenience sample, because civil unions are a matter of public record. Results indicated very few differences between same-sex couples in civil unions and those not in civil unions, particularly for women... Consequently, that study was more about who chooses to have a civil union versus those who do not. It was less about how being in a civil union changes a relationship -- for that, follow-up research is needed. Demographic variables include age, race, education, religion, sexual orientation, income, and occupation.


Click here to explore variables