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The Role of Heterosexual Identity Threat in Differential Support for Same-Sex `Civil Unions' versus `Marriages'


Schmitt, Michael T.; Lehmiller, Justin J.; Walsh, Allison L.


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Abstract Although US citizens generally oppose the legal recognition of same-sex marriages more than civil unions, the reasons for this opposition remain unclear. In two experiments, we presented participants with one of two hypothetical state laws legally recognizing same-sex partnerships. The laws differed only in the label applied to those partnerships (i.e. civil union or marriage). Across both studies, participants expressed less support for same-sex marriages relative to civil unions. In addition, participants considering the marriage law found it more threatening to heterosexuals' rights and social status than did those reading the civil union law, and this threat partially mediated the effect of the relationship label on support for the law. Thus, consistent with social identity theory, opposition to the same-sex marriage label is, in part, due to perceived threats to heterosexual identity.
Freie Schlagwörter civil union; gay and lesbian; identity threat; same-sex marriage; social identity;
Sprache Dokument Englisch
Publikationsjahr 2007
Seitenangabe S. 443-455
Zeitschriftentitel Group Processes & Intergroup Relations, 10 (2007) 4
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1368430207081534
Status Postprint; begutachtet (peer reviewed)
Lizenz PEER Licence Agreement (applicable only to documents from PEER project)