Printer Icon

Notion of love Leads to Greater Acceptance of Couples Rights

By Indiana University - 2014-10-27

Summary

Study finds how in love a romantic couple appears to be is interpreted differently based on the couples sexual orientation.

"The findings suggest that people seem to think of loving relationships in a hierarchy, with heterosexual couples being the most "in love," followed by lesbian couples and then gay couples."

Main Document

Long Doan, a doctoral student in the Department of Sociology at IU Bloomington's College of Arts and Sciences, said the study was created to understand how people's attitudes differ based on sexual orientation.

"If you ask what someone thinks of a same-sex couple or what they think of a straight couple, they usually have different images in mind for the same-sex and straight couples," Doan said. "By taking away those preconceived differences in relationships, we can pinpoint that the differences in perception are due to sexual orientation alone, instead of other factors that complicate the picture like presumed marital status of same-sex and straight couples."

To achieve this, Doan and his colleagues Annalise Loehr and Lisa R. Miller, doctoral students in the Department of Sociology, developed a study that asked participants to read the exact same story about a romantic couple, while randomly changing the names of the two main characters to denote whether the couple was heterosexual, lesbian or gay.

The findings suggest that people seem to think of loving relationships in a hierarchy, with heterosexual couples being the most "in love," followed by lesbian couples and then gay couples.

Additionally, how "in love" a participant understood the couple to be led them to decide how many informal or formal rights they may deserve as a couple, from holding hands in public to having the right to marry. Doan said these findings can have some implications for the gay rights movement.

"There's a lot of focus on portraying gay couples as just as loving as straight couples," Doan said. "This should be an effective approach because it seems that people are swayed by the notion of love. If you can somehow convince people that gay couples are just as loving, then it seems more likely that the movement will gain more support."

Doan, Loehr and Miller presented their study, "(Double) Standards for Granting Formal and Informal Privileges," on Aug. 16. The paper received the ASA Emotions Section's graduate student paper award.

Comments and Discussions

Do you agree, disagree, or want to add an opinion on this topic? We welcome relevant discussions and your unique insights.

Related Information on This Topic

Cite This Document

Real Estate Equality for Same-Sex Couples - Real estate brokerage provides a barometer of local economies, social and legal growth, as well as reflecting the state of society at-large


Challenges Affecting Female Same-sex Couples - Same-sex couples continue to face challenges such as discrimination, stigma and lack of role models in long-term relationships and marriages


Legal Issues That Affect Same Sex Married Couples - Matthew Brickman addresses some of the issues mediators, attorneys and judges are facing regarding same sex married couples


Youth Survey Reveals Troubling Post-Election Spike in LGBTQ Bullying - Results of post-election survey of over 50,000 young people ages 13 to 18 reveals damaging fallout the United States November election has had on youth


The Parcel: Transgender Sex Worker and Trafficked Child Break Hearts - The Parcel is a book about Madhu, a retired transgendered sex worker who is asked to look after a young girl who has been trafficked into the red-light district of Bombay


Shady Grove Fertility Events: Fertility Health Education, Overcoming Infertility, Affording Treatment - Shady Grove Fertility provides latest information on fertility health, treatment options, exclusive financial programs, and how to get started growing your family