Factors Affecting Heterosexual Attitudes to Same-Sex Marriage in Australia
Same-sex marriage (SSM) has been a contentious topic in recent times. Despite current trends indicating that support for same-sex marriage is on the rise in Australia, attempts to introduce marriage equality legislation have failed. This study examined influential factors affecting attitudes towards same-sex marriage in Australia. A sample of heterosexual Australians completed a survey regarding their attitudes to marriage equality, homophobia, beliefs about a nature or nurture basis for same-sex attraction, common assumptions and beliefs about the etiology of same-sex attraction and social desirability. Believing that the etiology of same-sex attraction is nature-based predicted positive attitudes towards same-sex marriage whereas thinking sexual orientation is nurture-based predicted negative attitudes. Mediation analysis was used to assess the relationship between etiology beliefs and attitudes towards same-sex marriage. Homophobia fully explained the effect of nature beliefs and partially explained the effect of nurture beliefs on attitudes to same-sex marriage. Given that attitudes towards same-sex marriage are not created in a vacuum, the study also explored what people felt were their most influential sources of beliefs about the origins of same-sex attraction. The implications of the research findings for those lobbying for marriage equality in Australia are discussed.
KeywordsSame-sex marriage Etiology beliefs Gay men Lesbian Attitudes Australia
Compliance with Ethical Standards
All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki Declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.
Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.
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