Structural and Moral Commitment Among Same-Sex Couples: Relationship Duration, Religiosity, and Parental Status

Ramona Faith Oswald, Abbie Goldberg, Kate Kuvalanka, Eric Clausell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study examined ecological predictors of structural and moral commitment among cohabiting same-sex couples. Structural commitment was operationalized as the execution of legal documents, and moral commitment was operationalized as having a commitment ceremony. The authors tested 2 logistic regression models using a subsample of Rainbow Illinois survey respondents. First, the execution of legal documents was examined using the entire subsample (n = 190). Because antigay victimization may sensitize individuals to the importance of legal protection, actual and feared victimization were hypothesized to predict legalization. These hypotheses were not supported. However, relationship duration, a control variable, did predict legalization. The authors then used data only from those individuals who had executed a legal document (n = 150) to determine those who also reported a commitment ceremony (Model 2). Parental status, religiosity, involvement with a supportive congregation, and an interaction between gender and parental status were hypothesized to predict ritualization. Only religiosity and parental status emerged as significant. Results from this study demonstrate the importance of distinguishing between legalization and ritualization. Further, they extend knowledge about how same-sex couple commitment is shaped by noncouple factors, such as time, individual religiosity, and parental status.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)411-419
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Family Psychology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2008


  • legal
  • lesbian/gay
  • relationship commitment
  • ritual
  • same-sex couples

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology


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