Sexuality Research and Social Policy

, Volume 15, Issue 3, pp 342–352 | Cite as

Differential Effects of the US Supreme Court’s Same-Sex Marriage Decision on National Support for Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Civil Rights and Sexual Prejudice

  • Paul B. PerrinEmail author
  • Erin R. Smith
  • Michael A. Trujillo
  • Annie Rabinovitch
  • Anthony E. Coy


The US Supreme Court (SCOTUS) in Obergefell v. Hodges legalized same-sex marriage throughout all US states and territories. Before that decision, after, and 1 year later, this successive-independent samples study identified clusters of individuals across the US based on worldview ideologies and used those clusters to examine effects of the SCOTUS decision on support for gay rights and sexual prejudice. Participants were 407 adults from 49 US states and territories. A cluster analysis identified three worldview groups: conservatives (23.6%), moderates (30.2%), and progressives (46.2%). Although no overall changes emerged over time in support for gay rights or sexual prejudice, the conservative group showed a marked polarization after the SCOTUS decision, becoming less supportive of gay rights and more prejudiced. Worldviews explained 68.3% of the variance in same-sex marriage support, 67.5% in gay rights support, and 68.8% in sexual prejudice, effects approaching nearly three times a large-sized effect in the social sciences. These findings add nuance to our understanding of the attitudinal impact of court decisions or legislation around progressive issues like same-sex marriage and gay rights, as well as the potential barriers to cultural progress on these issues.


Heterosexism Same-sex marriage Prejudice Civil rights 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

Ethical Approval

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.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Paul B. Perrin
    • 1
    Email author
  • Erin R. Smith
    • 1
  • Michael A. Trujillo
    • 1
  • Annie Rabinovitch
    • 1
  • Anthony E. Coy
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyVirginia Commonwealth UniversityRichmondUSA
  2. 2.University of South Florida Sarasota ManateeSarasotaUSA

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