The notion of love can lead to greater acceptance of couples' rights

Aug 16, 2014

An Indiana University study found that how "in love" a romantic couple appears to be is interpreted differently based on the couple's sexual orientation, affecting what formal and informal rights people think that couple deserves.

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 .

"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 . 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 will be presenting 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.

Explore further: Creating friendships between African-American and Caucasian couples can reduce prejudice

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Power of love at heart of 'gay marriage'

Mar 15, 2012

Legal rights and protections play second fiddle to the power of love for younger gay and lesbian couples who have formed civil partnerships, according to a three-year study by researchers at The University ...

Recommended for you

Putting children first, when media sets its own rules

2 hours ago

In an age when a significant number of parents won't let their child walk down the street to post a letter because of "stranger danger", it's ironic that many pay little attention while media organisations ...

Self-made billionaires more likely to give than inheritors

3 hours ago

A study by economists at the University of Southampton suggests that billionaires who have built their own fortunes are more likely to pledge to donate a large portion of their wealth to charities, than those who are heirs ...

User comments : 3

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

julianpenrod
1 / 5 (3) Aug 16, 2014
In the midst of presuming, and ordering others to presume, that homosexuality is "legitimate" and not an obsessive sexual perversion, note the language the article uses. "Portraying" homosexual couples as "just as loving" as heterosexual couples, "If you can somehow convince people" that homosexuals "are just as loving", then the movement will get more support. In other words, connive a presentation to gull the gullible into thinking what isn't there is there. Like a PowerPoint presentation intended to convince the dull witted that biological warfare labs were loaded into boxcars in Iraq, simply because some pictures showed it! Note how this stated objective will involve hiding all valid evidence that homosexuality is abnormal and involve even contrived, insincere fabrications to suggest what isn't there.
ryggesogn2
1 / 5 (2) Aug 16, 2014
Why must 'love' be confined to couples?
TheGhostofOtto1923
3 / 5 (2) Aug 19, 2014
Note how this stated objective will involve hiding all valid evidence that homosexuality is abnormal and involve even contrived, insincere fabrications to suggest what isn't there.
Well lets not forget the disciple whom jesus loved.
http://www.orthod...32.shtml

-But then prophets and godmen have always had special dispensation. Take mohammud and his first wife for instance.

"Aisha was married to Muhammad at the age of six or seven, but she stayed in her parents' home until the age of nine, or ten according to Ibn Hisham, when the marriage was consummated"