With California slated to start handing down marriage licenses to gay couples this month, the New York Times science section has a roundup of studies pertaining to longterm homosexual relationships. One notable study was performed in Vermont after the state legalized same-sex civil unions in 2000. The study examined sources of strife: housework, sex, and money, and how homosexual couples dealt with these issues when compared to heterosexual couples. According to Tara Parker-Pope of the Times, "Same-sex relationships, whether between men or women, were far more egalitarian than heterosexual ones. In heterosexual couples, women did far more of the housework; men were more likely to have the financial responsibility; and men were more likely to initiate sex, while women were more likely to refuse it or to start a conversation about problems in the relationship." In addition, while the rate of conflict was similar between homosexual and heterosexual couples, the rate of satisfaction was higher amongst the gays.

A second study, published in the Journal of Homosexuality, showed that heterosexual couples deploy more destructive tactics in verbal battles, while homosexual couples were more likely to be able to see the other person's point of view. "When they got into these really negative interactions, gay and lesbian couples were able to do things like use humor and affection that enabled them to step back from the ledge and continue to talk about the problem instead of just exploding," UC Berkley psych professor Robert W. Levenson told the Times.

But the differences end there: apparently same sex couples and heterosexual couples alike display the "demand withdraw reaction," which, according to the Times is when "the woman tends to be unhappy and to make demands for change, while the man reacts by withdrawing from the conflict." Though the demand aspect of this interaction was previously attributed to a male/female disconnect, now researchers realize that this sort of behavior is not gendered.

And anyway, in addition to being potentially more egalitarian, a new study out of UCLA shows that the gay marriage industry could pump hundreds of millions of dollars into the California economy. According to the AP, "Gay couples are projected to spend $684 million on flowers, cakes, hotels, photographers and other wedding services over the next three years…[and] The nuptial rush is expected to create some 2,200 jobs." Can't wait for the awesomely lavish DeGeneres/de Rossi California nuptials myself!

Gay Unions Shed Light On Gender In Marriage [New York Times]

Study: Gay Marriage Good For Economy [AP via CBS News]