Stepfathers may be structurally egalitarian as they must show gender nonNormative deference to their stepkid’s biological parent: their spouse

Remarriages divide roughly evenly between remarriage for husband only, wife only and both spouses.

Second marriages for both spouses have had consistently lower divorce rates than first marriages since the 1980s.

Second marriages for husbands only have also had consistently lower divorce risk than second marriages for wives only. However this gender difference has been less apparent in recent years.” —

If married voters vote GOP more than single voters & divorced voters, which way do remarried voters lean? Is the stepfather vote more progressive given that, according to the research cited below, 2nd marriages are more likely to be egalitarian? Is the stepmother vote more independent? Is the stepparent vote sought after?

Does it matter if it’s the second marriage for both people vs. it’s the second marriage for the woman (man) but the first marriage for the man (woman)? Would that influence how they vote?

[Assume these are all direct quotes]

Divorce as a Substantive Gender Equality Right

Karin Yefet, 2020: “Research indicates that individuals who have been divorced generally go on to pursue more egalitarian intimate relationships (Martha Fineman, 1995). Upon remarriage, both spouses tend to view their marital roles differently.

Women → Remarried women tend to be psychologically and economically more independent and assertive, and are likely to enjoy greater gender equality and power within marriage (Schneller & Arditti, 2004).

Men → Remarried men tend to become less traditional in their gender roles, more willing to support their wives’ interests, and more likely to share family responsibilities (Smith & Goslen, 1991). Remarried husbands not only contribute more to housework than first husbands (Pyke & Coltrane, 1996), but are also more likely to make concessions during conflicts than they were in their first marriage (Clarke-Stewart & Brentano, 2006). Research also suggests that the distress men experience during and after their divorce raises their awareness of their own and their wife’s emotional needs (Pyke & Coltrane, 1996), & this in turn gives wives more leverage in remarriages than in first marriages (Hobart, 1991).

Remarriages, characterized by a more equal division of labor and sharing of decision-making power, are thus significantly more empowering and dignifying for women than first marriages.”

- (Karin Yefet, 2020)

Yefet, K. C. (2019). Divorce as a Substantive Gender-Equality Right. U. Pa. J. Const. L., 22, 455.

*Union Type* (e.g., Remarried, Cohabitating, First Marriage) Moderates Perceptions of Inequality/Egalitarianism Regarding Household Divisions of Labor

Mariona Lozano et al., 2015: “Cohabiting couples and second unions differ from married and first unions regarding the perception of fairness and equality in the division of household labor.

Although cohabiting women generally still contribute more than their partners, several scholars have found a more egalitarian time allocation of unpaid work among unmarried couples (Davis et al., 2007; Dominguez-Folgueras, 2013; Meggiolaro, 2013). Similar findings apply to individuals in second unions compared to those in their first union (Lucier-Greer & Adler-Beeder, 2011; Sullivan, 1997). These variations might suggest that different types of couples have different perceptions of fairness, or vary in their willingness to accept the unequal division of domestic labor.

Cherlin (2004) argued that cohabitation may offer more freedom to negotiate gender roles as it comes without the institutional constraints that accompany marriage.”

“As Walzer (2008) pointed out, in terms of domestic work and gender roles in the family sphere, “marriage is a site of ‘doing’ gender and for some ex-spouses, divorce is a site for ‘re-doing’ gender” (p.18).

Therefore, experiences with marital dissolution may induce some individuals to reevaluate values and gender norms, prompting them to endorse a more egalitarian division of household labor in subsequent unions and have more egalitarian expectations.”

Satisfaction with Work-Family Balance and the Division of Household Labor: The Moderating Effect of Cohabitation and Second Unions or Marriages (2015)

(Mariona Lozano et al., 2015)

Lozano, M., Hamplova, D., & Le Bourdais, C. (2015). Satisfaction with Work-Family Balance and the Division of Household Labor: The Moderating Effect of Cohabitation and Second Unions or Marriages. Presented at the Population Association of America 2015 Annual Meeting in San Diego, CA.

Is the Cohabitation–Marriage Gap in Money Pooling Universal?

Hamplova et al., 2014: “Studies systematically have found that cohabiting couples are less likely than married couples to pool their money in the United States and Sweden (Heimdal & Houseknecht, 2003; Kenney, 2004, 2006), Great Britain (Vogler, Brockmann, & Wiggins, 2006), New Zealand (Elizabeth, 2001), Norway (Lyngstad, Noack, & Tufte, 2011), Denmark, France, and Spain (Hamplová & Le Bourdais, 2009), or the Czech Republic (Chaloupková, 2006).”

Institutionalization of cohabitation doesn’t seem to matter as “the marriage–cohabitation gap is smaller in Québec despite the higher levels of institutionalization of cohabitation in this region. Québec has the highest proportion of cohabiting couples in the world.

Hamplová, D., Le Bourdais, C., & Lapierre‐Adamcyk, É. (2014). Is the cohabitation–marriage gap in money pooling universal?. Journal of Marriage and Family, 76(5), 983–997.

What Heterosexuals Can Learn From LG Couples (assuming MonoOrientation dyads)

Maryam Dilmaghani, 2019: Sexual orientation and the ‘cohabitation gap’ in life satisfaction in Canada

Post-Gender Marriage: “Homosexuals do not face the same incentives to specialize, since the gender-based comparative advantages between partners do not exist in their couples. A lesbian is less likely than a heterosexual woman to tie the benefits of marriage over cohabitation to the higher financial security entailed by the institution of marriage; since, she is likely equally endowed in labour market production as her potential spouse. Likewise, a gay man is unlikely to see the benefits of marriage over cohabitation in the full specialization of his partner in childbearing and being a homemaker; since, his potential partner likely has no comparative advantage in this respect. Hence, the utility gains from marriage likely varies by sexual orientation.

Ahmed et al. (2011), using Swedish data, found that the intra-household earnings gap is smaller in lesbian couples than in heterosexual and gay male couples. Aldén et al. (2015), also using Swedish data, reported no evidence of household specialization among lesbians who were registered as domestic partners. They considered this lack of specialization noteworthy, given the strong fertility effects of registered partnership on lesbian couples, and the fact that

lesbian spouses were less assortatively matched than heterosexual spouses.”

[More & more studies reinforcing lesbians as perhaps the first truly postracial couples; though bisexuals may be postracial individuals]

The Old World: “Becker (1981) argued that, owing to biological comparative advantages, efficiency induces heterosexual males to specialize in market labour and heterosexual females to specialize in home production. The differences in human capital accumulation decisions usually reinforce the biological comparative advantages of men and women, and make the specialization more efficient (Becker 1981, 1985). Such specialization maximizes the household’s utility. The benefits of marriage, thereby, lie in the biologically based comparative advantages and the division of household labour after specialization.

Empirical research testing Becker’s thesis has produced evidence congruent with specialization, and that married spouses specialize substantially more than cohabiting partners (Bardasi and Taylor 2008; Hersch 2009; Hersch and Stratton 2002; Kalenkoski et al. 2005, 2007; Kuperberg 2012; Oppenheimer 1997).

Financially well-off partners are less concerned by the legal status of their unions than the less financially secure partners. Along the same lines, the differences in the size of the cohabitation gap across countries have been explained by differences in economic empowerment of women (Stavrova et al. 2012). Abundant evidence, spanning three decades, exists on the labour market attainment gaps related to sexual orientation (Badgett 1995; Badgett and Frank 2007; Berg and Lien 2002; Carpenter 2008; Dilmaghani 2017; Klawitter 2015).

Lesbians tend to make more & work more than heterosexual women, whereas gays tend to make less & work fewer hours than heterosexual males. Moreover, lesbians are more likely to be employed in male-dominated and higher paying occupations, while gay males are more likely to be employed in female-dominated jobs and occupy lower ranks (Antecol et al. 2008; Blandford 2003; Dilmaghani 2018; Elmslie and Tebaldi 2007; Plug et al. 2014).

Given the greater economic attainment of lesbians compared with heterosexual women & the smaller earnings gap between wives in a lesbian couple, it is likely that the cohabitation gap is smaller among them.

The gay male earnings disadvantage is reported to have faded in Canada (Dilmaghani, 2017; Mueller, 2014) and the United States (Carpenter & Eppink 2017). Moreover, Canadian gay households are reported to have higher incomes than heterosexual and lesbian households, owing mainly to the presence of two male income earners (Dilmaghani 2017).”

[This is also the case in the United States based on tax data]

“Overall, the cumulative weight of evidence suggests that the partners in a homosexual couple also specialize, but to a lesser extent than heterosexuals.”

Compounding Effect of Gender

“Women are found to be committed to their relationships regardless of the legal status of the union (Wolfinger & Wilcox, 2008), while men are reported more likely to see cohabitation as a test for the strength of the relationship, a temporary arrangement or a tria (test drive), and be less committed (Eggebeen 2005; Huang et al., 2011; Rhoades et al., 2009; Vespa, 2014).

Huang et al. (2011) found strong gender differences in the perception of cohabitation, with men more concerned with the loss of freedom and women with delays in marriage.

Thus, the existence of two women (men) in a lesbian (gay male) couple is likely to affect the cohabitation gap resulting from the commitment differential channel.”

Cohabitation Gaps

Gay Men → The cohabitation gap in life satisfaction for gay men was the largest of all. …a finding that was “statistically significant in all the specifications.”

Straight women → “The cohabitation gap in life satisfaction for straight women was significantly larger than that for straight men”… because men. Indeed, this is consistent with other research finding for women in long term relationships with men, “the cohabitation gap in life satisfaction is larger for women than for men (Mikucka, 2016; Stavrova et al., 2012).”

Lesbians → There are no men involved anymore… so there was no cohabitation gap found for lesbians. Indeed, “lesbian couples adhere to a more egalitarian ethic in their relationships than other couple types (Kurdek 2007; Solomon et al. 2005),

The equality of household division of labor is quite possibly the greatest in lesbian couples

The equality of household division of labor is quite possibly the greatest in lesbian couples (Antecol & Steinberger, 2013; Giddings et al., 2014; Grossbard & Jepsen, 2008; Jepsen & Jepsen, 2006, 2016; Oreffice, 2011; Tebaldi & Elmslie, 2006). …Lesbians’ lower intra-household specialization is not dependent on the legal status of their unions (Aldén et al. 2015) and even the presence of children (Moberg 2016).”

Thus, the high cohabitation gap found for straight women may be due to the fact that there is a male involved, given that when you double the number of men the cohabitation gap “for gay men was the largest of all” whereas when you double the number of women “no cohabitation gap was found for lesbians.

“Gay men’s income is lower than that of heterosexual men, while lesbians’ income is considerably higher than heterosexual women’s [consistent with (Carpenter, 2008; Dilmaghani, 2017; Mueller, 2014)].”

Dilmaghani, M. (2019). Sexual orientation and the ‘cohabitation gap’in life satisfaction in Canada. Review of Economics of the Household, 17(4), 1163–1189.


This post was inspired by this late post-Valentines night tweet

Dilmaghani & Dean, 2020: Prior to the legal recognition of same-sex marriage, same-sex households’ homeownership rates were between the rates for married and common-law heterosexuals.

Post-legal recognition, a homeownership disadvantage is found for married same-sex couples, which is larger than the gap found for visible minorities.

Dilmaghani, M., & Dean, J. (2020). Sexual orientation and homeownership in Canada. Journal of Housing Economics, 49, 101688.

Joanna Pepin, 2019: There is “widespread support for collectivist approaches to money within families. About 70% of respondents chose at least some integration of finances. The proportion of total household earnings allocated to the man’s account was 24% when he was the primary earner compared with 26% allocated to the woman’s account when she was the primary earner.

Pepin, J. R. (2019). Beliefs about money in families: Balancing unity, autonomy, and gender equality. Journal of Marriage and Family, 81(2), 361–379.

Women can do anything men can do — lesbians proved that.
Men can do anything women can do — gays proved that.
Straight men are just being lazy.

I'm passionate about making a tangible difference in the lives of others, & that's something I have the opportunity to do a professor & researcher.

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