Backlash, Consensus, Legitimacy, or Polarization: The Effect of Same-Sex Marriage Policy on Mass Attitudes

By Andrew R. Flores and Scott Barclay
January 2016

In the last 10 years, public support for marriage for same-sex couples has increased across the United States. But the most dramatic drop in anti-gay attitudes occurred in states that legalized marriage equality – in fact, 47% of residents who initially were opposed changed their minds.

That’s almost double the percentage seen in states where marriage equality was not legal. In those states, 24% of residents who were initially opposed changed their minds.

The findings are discussed in a report co-authored by Public Opinion and Policy Analyst Andrew R. Flores and published in Political Research Quarterly. The paper received the 2015 Best Paper Award in LGBT Politics by the LGBT Caucus of the American Political Science Association.

The study answers lingering questions about whether extending marriage to same-sex couples would create backlash against the LGBT community. Instead, the policy actually increases support.

Click here for the full report.

Click here for the press release.