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Belief in God, parenthood prompt gay partners to make commitment
Date:7/30/2008

ious relationships, she noted.

"Couples may be using commitment rituals to build cohesion within stepfamilies as the role of gay and lesbian stepparents is often vague. Such ceremonies may help couples validate their sense of belonging and obligation to each other while also demonstrating to friends and relatives that they are a family unit," she said.

Most children in the study were teenagers at the time of the commitment ceremony, Oswald noted.

"It's interesting that couples were motivated to have a commitment ceremony when their children were at this developmental stage, just starting their own romantic explorations.

There may be an element of parenting going on here, with couples wanting to give their children an example of commitment by formalizing their own. It's an interesting question for future research," she said.

With the Religious Freedom and Protections Civil Unions Act under consideration in the Illinois House of Representatives, Oswald hopes this study will help to explain the motivations of gay and lesbian couples who wish to obtain civil unions.

"This study is an important contribution because it separates the legal and ritualistic aspects of solidifying a relationship. Not all same-sex couples want legal protection or ritual recognition. However, those who do appear to take these steps for the same reasons straight people often doparenthood and religious commitment," she said.

"This common ground should be part of our policy debates," she added.


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Contact: Phyllis Picklesimer
p-pickle@illinois.edu
217-244-2827
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Source:Eurekalert

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