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Relationship Values and Desires for Marriage among Sexual Minority Young Adults

Ann Meier, Kathy Hull, and Tim Ortyl

Expectations and desires for marriage have changed in recent decades along with changes in the prevalence, timing, and character of marriage and cohabitation. At the same time, same-sex marriage has emerged high on the policy agenda at the local, state, and national levels. In this project we assess relationship values and desires for marriage among a recent cohort of young adults interviewed in the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health. We investigate differences in relationship values and desires for marriage between heterosexuals and sexual minorities and among sexual minorities between gays and lesbians. Further, we compare values and desires for marriage among sexual minorities with those of racial and ethnic minorities who also face barriers to entry into marriage. Preliminary findings indicate that compared to heterosexuals, sexual minorities hold more accepting relationship values, and they are less likely to desire marriage.