Homosexuality was classified as a mental illness by the American Psychiatric Association until 1973. In Ireland, Homosexuality was illegal until 1998; it was then decriminalised under the Employment Equality Act and the Equality Status Act (2002). In May 2015, progress was made; the Marriage Equality Referendum was passed in Ireland which legalised marriage for two same-sex partners (Tobin, 2016). Despite legal progress, social equality has not emerged. A recurrent argument for the LGBT movement was that homosexuality was not a choice but was biological in nature (Coyle & Kitzinger, 2002).
Despite evidence that sexual orientation does not affect parenting skills; same-sex parents experience discrimination which causes negative mental health implications (Coyle & Kitzinger, 2002). The aim of this study was to evaluate quality of relationships between opposite sex couples and same-sex couples, post marriage referendum in Ireland, across the variables of relationship satisfaction, communication, and passionate love. A second aim was to determine if sexual minorities do experience greater discrimination, and how it effects relationship quality.
Using a mixed methods approach with a correlational and cross-sectional design, this study examined couple satisfaction, passionate love, communication, and discrimination among 187 18–65-year-old participants who were all in a relationship (107 heterosexuals, 40 lesbians, 21 gay men, 18 bisexuals).
Results showed that sexual minorities experience significantly higher levels of discrimination than heterosexual couples. Passionate Love and Communication were shown to predict relationship satisfaction. Statistical analysis reported no significant difference in relationship satisfaction based on sexual orientation. Qualitative questions were able to provide more detailed data on discrimination.