One limitation worth noting with respect to the information on official registration is that the survey question does not distinguish between state and local registration. The Census samples exclude observations with allocated marital status, following Black et al. This could be important because state and local registrations could have very different consequences for couples. Evidence from heterosexual and homosexual couples. For example, in the first six months of the availability of civil partnership registration in England and Wales, two-thirds of the registrations were male couples General Register Office Letitia Peplau, an expert on couple relationships, testified that studies have found that the quality of heterosexual and homosexual relationships was on average "the same" as measured by closeness, love and stability. For example, the average age of partnered gay men is virtually the same in the California Census and CHIS samples about 39—40 years and only slightly higher in the Tobacco Survey about 41 years.
Unlike previous research, we find that white and highly educated gay men and lesbians are more likely to be partnered, and we confirm that same-sex cohabiting partners in our data have demographic characteristics that are similar to California same-sex couples from Census
We strongly urge researchers to more routinely include direct measures of sexual orientation identification on surveys, especially on those that might already be measuring sexual behavior. How do these estimates on partnership prevalence and its correlates compare with previous work? More importantly, we base our estimates on direct and detailed measures of both sexual orientation and partnership that are not available in prior studies.
Overall, this suggests that surveys combining partnership with marital status in a single question can substantially understate true partnership.