Defense of Marriage

Kevin Lewis

February 05, 2011

Idealizing Parenthood to Rationalize Parental Investments

Richard Eibach & Steven Mock
Psychological Science, February 2011, Pages 203-208

Although raising children has largely negative effects on parents' emotional well-being, parenthood is often idealized as a uniquely emotionally rewarding role. We tested the hypothesis that belief in myths idealizing parenthood helps parents cope with the dissonance aroused by the high financial cost of raising children. In Study 1, parents endorsed the idealization of parenthood more when only the costs of parenting were made salient than when both the costs of parenting and the long-term benefits of having children were made salient. When dissonant feelings were measured before idealization of parenthood, these feelings mediated the influence of the salient information on idealization of parenthood. In Study 2, participants reported greater enjoyment of the time they spent with their children and intended to spend more leisure time with their children when only parenting costs were made salient than when the long-term benefits of having children were also made salient (or when no costs or benefits of having children were made salient). We discuss the implications of our results for parental-investment theory and for the propagation of myths idealizing parenthood.


The Oscar Curse: Status Dynamics and Gender Differences in Marital Survival

Colleen Stuart, Sue Moon & Tiziana Casciaro
Carnegie Mellon University Working Paper, January 2011

We analyzed the marital histories of all Best Actor and Best Actress Academy Award nominees from 1936 to 2010 to determine the effect of a sudden status shift on marriage survival. We find that Oscar wins are associated with a greater risk of divorce for Best Actresses, but not for Best Actors. This asymmetry is consistent with gender dynamics documented in marriages among the general population.


The Western European marriage pattern and economic development

James Foreman-Peck
Explorations in Economic History, forthcoming

For several centuries before the First World War women's age at first marriage in the west of Europe was higher than in the east (and in the rest of the world). In their low mortality regimes Western Europeans chose lower fertility in part through a higher female age at marriage. This allowed women to increase their human capital both formally and informally in the years before child bearing so that more informed mothers brought up better educated offspring. The demographic pattern influenced the stock of human capital and directly contributed to Western Europe's development advantage. The predicted relations of this economic model of the household are tested with two datasets, one at the county level for England for the second half of the nineteenth century and the other at the national level for Europe 1870-1910.


Adolescent Precursors of Early Union Formation Among Asian American and White Young Adults

Yen-hsin Alice Cheng & Nancy Landale
Journal of Family Issues, February 2011, Pages 209-236

Using a framework that emphasizes independent versus interdependent self-construals, this study investigates the relatively low rates of early marriage and cohabitation among Asian Americans compared with Whites. Data from Waves 1 and 3 of Add Health are used to test five hypotheses that focus on family value socialization and other precursors measured in adolescence. Analyses of early marriage indicate that the Asian-White difference is driven primarily by differences in adolescent sexual and romantic relationship experiences and that several measures of family values play a stronger role among Asian Americans than Whites. Asian-White differences in cohabitation persist net of socioeconomic status and other adolescent precursors, but differences are attenuated when parental value socialization, intimate relationship experiences, and educational investments are controlled. These results are interpreted within a culturally sensitive conceptual framework that emphasizes interdependent construals of the self among Asian Americans.


Mothers but Not Wives: The Increasing Lag Between Nonmarital Births and Marriage

Christina Gibson-Davis
Journal of Marriage and Family, February 2011, Pages 264-278

This study analyzed trends in marital behavior for unwed mothers who gave birth between 1960 and 2004. With nationally representative data on 15,353 White and Black unmarried mothers, results indicated that mothers who gave birth after 1989 were waiting much longer to marry than were mothers giving birth before 1968. The most pronounced delays were found immediately after a birth. Over the study period, the cumulative proportion of women who married within three years of a birth decreased for Whites by 27% and for Blacks by 60%. Findings underscore the separation that has developed between first births and first marriages in the United States, and they highlight the older ages at which children are experiencing a transition to marriage.


Taking Sides: The Interactive Influences of Institutional Mechanisms on the Adoption of Same-Sex Partner Health Benefits by Fortune 500 Corporations, 1990-2003

You-Ta Chuang, Robin Church & Ron Ophir
Organization Science, January-February 2011, Pages 190-209

We draw upon institutional theory to investigate the interactive influences of institutional mechanisms-coercive, mimetic, and normative-on the diffusion of a controversial and socially stigmatized practice, same-sex partner health benefits, in Fortune 500 corporations between 1990 and 2003. Given the social stigma associated with domestic partnerships of lesbians and gay men during the period of the study, the provision of these benefits was highly controversial and induced intense contestation between proponents and opponents of the institution of equal treatment for lesbian and gay employees. We explore the diffusion of theses benefits using data on cumulative adoptions by similar others, state laws forbidding discrimination based on sexual orientation, and overall tenor in press coverage of the benefits. Our analysis shows that the cumulative number of adoptions within industry increased the positive effect of state laws on the corporation's decision to provide the benefits. However, the cumulative number of adoptions in the state of the corporation's headquarters decreased the positive effects of both state laws and overall tenor in press coverage on such a decision. Accordingly, our study contributes to institutional theory by pointing to complex interactive influences of institutional mechanisms on the institutionalization of contested practices, and to the literature on lesbian and gay issues in the workplace by studying factors influencing organizational decisions to adopt policies supportive of lesbian and gay employees.


In Search of the Defensive Function of Sexual Prejudice: Exploring Antigay Bias Through Shorter and Longer Lead Startle Eye Blink

Amanda Mahaffey, Angela Bryan, Tiffany Ito & Kent Hutchison
Journal of Applied Social Psychology, January 2011, Pages 27-44

To explore the theory that some men experience antigay bias because of a defensive reaction to uncertainties surrounding their own sexuality (cf. Herek, 1987), we conducted a study (n = 132 men) in which we physiologically measured the affective underpinnings of antigay bias while individuals with different levels of self-reported bias viewed sexually explicit material. Those higher in antigay bias exhibited less positive affect than did others, but did not appear to experience a defensive reaction. Given these results, combined with those of our previous studies, we conclude that evidence for the existence of a group of men who exhibit antigay bias because of a hidden or unconscious attraction toward men is difficult to demonstrate using current methodology.


The Effect of Feeling Stereotyped on Social Power and Inhibition

Jonathan Cook, Holly Arrow & Bertram Malle
Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, February 2011, Pages 165-180

An experience sampling study examined the degree to which feeling stereotyped predicts feelings of low power and inhibition among stigmatized and nonstigmatized individuals. For 7 days, participants with a concealable (gay and lesbian), a visible (African American), or no identifiable stigma recorded feelings of being stereotyped, of powerlessness, and of inhibition immediately following social interactions. For members of all three groups, feeling stereotyped was associated with more inhibition, and this relation was partially mediated by feeling low in power. Although stigmatized participants reported feeling stereotyped more often than nonstigmatized participants, they reacted less strongly to the experience, consistent with the presence of buffering mechanisms developed by those living with stigma. African Americans appeared to buffer the impact of feeling stereotyped more effectively than gay and lesbian participants, an effect that was partly attributable to African Americans' higher identity centrality.


The Impact of the Earned Income Tax Credit on Marriage and Divorce: Evidence from Flow Data

Chris Herbst
Population Research and Policy Review, February 2011, Pages 101-128

While considerable research focuses on the anti-poverty and labor supply effects of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), relatively little is known about the program's influence on marriage and divorce decisions. Furthermore, nearly all work in this area uses stock measures of marital status derived from survey data. In this paper, I draw upon Vital Statistics data between 1977 and 2004 to construct a transition-based measure of marriage and divorce rates. Flows into and out of marriage are advantageous because they are more likely to capture the immediate impact of policy changes. Controlling for state-level characteristics and sources of unobserved heterogeneity, I find that increases in the EITC are associated with reductions in new marriages, although the estimated effect is economically small. I find no relationship between the EITC and new divorces. These results are robust to alternative estimation strategies, data restrictions, and the inclusion of additional policy and demographic controls.


Crime, Race, and the Transition to Marriage

Ryan King & Scott South
Journal of Family Issues, January 2011, Pages 99-126

Although it has been suggested that engaging in criminal behavior diminishes young adults' marriageability, few studies have examined the effect of criminal offending on marital timing. This analysis uses longitudinal data from 1,641 respondents to the National Youth Survey to examine this relationship. Discrete-time event-history models show that, among young men, criminal behavior is inversely associated with the risk of marriage, net of established determinants of marital timing. However, rather than reflecting criminal offenders' reduced value as marriage partners, much of this association is because of offenders' lesser desire to marry. No association between criminal behavior and marital timing is observed for young women, and racial differences in criminal offending cannot account for the pronounced racial difference in marital timing.


Emotional and Physical Satisfaction in Noncohabiting, Cohabiting, and Marital Relationships: The Importance of Jealous Conflict

Mariana Gatzeva & Anthony Paik
Journal of Sex Research, January 2011, Pages 29-42

This article examines whether associations between marital status and emotional and physical satisfaction depend on jealous conflict associated with expectations about sexual exclusivity. Using data from a representative sample of 681 women and men drawn from the city of Chicago and its inner suburbs, this study estimated logistic regression models of jealous conflict and ordered logistic regression models of adults' reported emotional and physical satisfaction of their relationships. The results show that marriages are less exposed to jealous conflict than cohabiting and noncohabiting relationships. Regarding emotional and physical satisfaction, their associations with marital status were contingent upon whether individuals reported jealous conflict in their relationships. Specifically, in relationships without jealous conflict, married couples were more emotionally satisfied than noncohabiting couples. Married couples, but not cohabiting and noncohabiting couples, had significantly lower emotional and physical satisfaction when jealous conflict occurred. Cohabitors were not less emotionally or physically satisfied than married respondents. Overall, this research supports the argument that sexual exclusivity expectations are important for understanding the link between marital status and relationship quality.


Childhood Family Structure and Reproductive Behaviour in Early Adulthood in Norway

Anne Reneflot
European Sociological Review, February 2011, Pages 56-69

Norwegian register data covering all children born in 1974-1979 are used to describe the relationship between childhood family disruption and reproductive behaviour in early adulthood. The rich data allow several types of non-intact families to be considered. Generally, family disruption during childhood is associated with an increased probability of early childbearing and entering parenthood outside marriage. This association is, however, stronger for women than for men. Both family disruption caused by divorce and death of a parent are associated with early and premarital childbearing. Furthermore, for women with divorced parents, the remarriage of the mother is associated with the propensity to have a child early and to enter parenthood inside a union, while the remarriage of the father is associated with a reduced propensity to enter parenthood outside a union. For men with divorced parents, the remarriage of the father is associated with the propensity to enter parenthood in marriage. Finally, for both sexes, only a modest part of the effect that childhood family structure has on reproductive behaviour in early adulthood is operating through educational attainment and enrolment status.


High School Relationship and Marriage Education: A Comparison of Mandated and Self-Selected Treatment

Sarah Halpern-Meekin
Journal of Family Issues, March 2011, Pages 394-419

This study examines whether high school relationship and marriage education can affect students' relationship skills and if effects vary between sites having mandated and self-selected course participation. Based on an original data set (n = 222), results show that course exposure can result in a significant, positive change in students' relationship skills, although only at certain schools and for certain students. Mandated treatment appears to garner better results, those from two-parent families show the most consistent gains in relationship skills across schools, and severely economically disadvantaged school samples appear not to show gains. The importance of these results for practitioners and policy makers is discussed.


Multilevel analysis of the effects of antidiscrimination policies on earnings by sexual orientation

Marieka Klawitter
Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, forthcoming

This study uses the 2000 U.S. Census data to assess the impact of antidiscrimination policies for sexual orientation on earnings for gays and lesbians. Using a multilevel model allows estimation of the effects of state and local policies on earnings and of variation in the effects of sexual orientation across local labor markets. The results suggest that gay men face an earnings penalty that varies significantly (though not sizably) across local areas, and that state antidiscrimination policies may decrease that penalty in private sector employment. There is, however, no evidence that lesbians in any sector average higher earnings or wages in areas with antidiscrimination policies. The strongest evidence of effects for antidiscrimination policies is for weeks of employment and for gay men who are in the private sector, white, and in the upper half of the earnings distribution.


What's in a name? Stance markers in oral argument about marriage laws

Karen Tracy
Discourse & Communication, February 2011, Pages 65-88

This study examines the relationship between person-referencing terms and attorney and judges' stances during oral argument in three US state supreme courts as each considered whether its existing state law could restrict marriage to one man and one woman. After reviewing past work on stancetaking and person referencing, I provide background on appellate oral argument and the three cases. Combining discourse analysis with simple quantitative coding, the study shows that attorneys' and judges' choices of terms for gay parties and the frequency of their use marked the stance of appellate parties toward same-sex marriage. Then, I describe how person-referencing terms for gays, both in the larger society and in appellate courts, changed in the 20 years preceding the cases. The article concludes by arguing for the value of studying state appellate court discourse; I also reflect about the complexities in linking changes in usage of person-referencing terms with attitudinal stance changes.


The LGBT advantage: Examining the relationship among sexual orientation diversity, diversity strategy, and performance

George Cunningham
Sport Management Review, forthcoming

The purpose of this study was to examine the relationships among sexual orientation diversity, diversity strategy, and organizational performance. Data were gathered from 780 senior-level athletic administrators in 239 organizations. Moderated regression analysis indicated that, while main effects were not observed, there was a significant sexual orientation diversity × proactive diversity strategy interaction. Organizations with high sexual orientation diversity and that followed a strong proactive diversity strategy outperformed their peers in objective measures of performance. Results are discussed in terms of contributions, implications, and future directions.


Sexual orientation and spatial position effects on selective forms of object location memory

Qazi Rahman, Cherie Newland & Beatrice Mary Smyth
Brain and Cognition, forthcoming

Prior research has demonstrated robust sex and sexual orientation-related differences in object location memory in humans. Here we show that this sexual variation may depend on the spatial position of target objects and the task-specific nature of the spatial array. We tested the recovery of object locations in three object arrays (object exchanges, object shifts, and novel objects) relative to veridical center (left compared to right side of the arrays) in a sample of 35 heterosexual men, 35 heterosexual women, and 35 homosexual men. Relative to heterosexual men, heterosexual women showed better location recovery in the right side of the array during object exchanges and homosexual men performed better in the right side during novel objects. However, the difference between heterosexual and homosexual men disappeared after controlling for IQ. Heterosexual women and homosexual men did not differ significantly from each other in location change detection with respect to task or side of array. These data suggest that visual space biases in processing categorical spatial positions may enhance aspects of object location memory in heterosexual women.


Representation of Lesbians and Gay Men in Federal, State, and Local Bureaucracies

Gregory Lewis & David Pitts
Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, January 2011, Pages 159-180

Using a 5% sample of the 2000 Census, we present the first estimates of the percentages of federal, state, and local government employees who are lesbian, gay, or bisexual (LGB). For each state, we estimate that percentage not only for its total state and local government workforce but also for three occupations where active representation of LGB interests may be the most important: managers, teachers, and police. We then try to explain variation in LGB representation. Using states as units of analysis, we examine the effects of the LGB share of the labor force, gay rights laws, executive orders, and supportive public opinion on LGB representation. Using individual-level data, we examine whether differences in education, work experience, gender, race/ethnicity, and occupation explain differences between partnered LGBs and heterosexuals in probabilities of working for government.


from the


A weekly newsletter with free essays from past issues of National Affairs and The Public Interest that shed light on the week's pressing issues.


to your National Affairs subscriber account.

Already a subscriber? Activate your account.


Unlimited access to intelligent essays on the nation’s affairs.

Subscribe to National Affairs.