Over the last 40 years, there has been a cultural shift in attitudes toward same-sex marriage in the USA. While there has been a great deal of focus on attitudes toward same-sex marriage, there is less research on attitudes toward LGBT discrimination and legal protections against discrimination, especially post-Obergefell.
This study uses data from the American Values Survey conducted in November 2015 and state-level data on LGBTQ equality to examine attitudes toward same-sex marriage and LGBT protections post-Obergefell.
Attitudes are generally supportive of LGBT rights though a substantial minority (about 40%) of American adults favor the rights of small businesses to discriminate against LGBT individuals. Those who hold more favorable opinions of Trump are significantly less likely to favor same-sex marriage and LGBT protections against discrimination and more likely to favor exceptions for small business owners than those with unfavorable opinions of Trump. Those living in states that have higher LGBTQ equality rankings are significantly more favorable toward same-sex marriage and legal protections.
While we have seen extraordinary change with Obergefell and piecemeal change with state laws around LGBT protections, it is important to be cognizant of the political and social landscape when trying to understand current US public opinions toward same-sex marriage and LGBT protections.
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We employ “LGBT” in speaking to the broader community and providing visibility and inclusivity for gender minorities. Within this article, we note when data are available to address gender minorities and the T and when data are unavailable, in which case some specific findings may only address the LGB population.
The General Social Survey uses the phrase “homosexual couples,” but we use terminology that is more consistent with GLAAD’s “An Ally’s Guide to Terminology” https://www.glaad.org/sites/default/files/allys-guide-to-terminology_1.pdf.
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A previous version of this paper was presented at the 2018 Southern Sociological Society conference in New Orleans. The authors thank the anonymous reviewers for their valuable comments.
Conflict of Interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
This study uses publicly available data from the American Values Survey. All procedures performed 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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Kaufman, G., Compton, D. Attitudes Toward LGBT Marriage and Legal Protections Post-Obergefell. Sex Res Soc Policy (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13178-020-00460-y
- Same-sex marriage
- LGBT protections
- Public opinion