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Study Published about Gay Marriage and Possible Opinion Backlash

Tuesday, June 18th, 2013
Issue 25, Volume 17.
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RIVERSIDE - A UC Riverside professor took part in a study, published today, that labeled unfounded perceived worries that a U.S. Supreme Court ruling favorable to gay marriage could produce a backlash that would hinder equality efforts.

"Patience or Progress: Should We Fear Opinion Backlash on Gay Marriage?" was published on The Monkey Cage blog, a politics and policy website, according to UCR. It was written by UCR's Benjamin Bishin, associate professor of political science; Charles Anthony Smith, associate professor of political science at UC Irvine; Thomas Hayes, assistant professor of political science at University of Connecticut; and Matthew Incantalupo, a doctoral candidate in politics and social policy at Princeton University.

They conducted online experiments in which people were asked to react to a state supreme court ruling allowing gay marriage, and told participants to read articles about the legalization of gay rights in Oregon, a gay pride parade and gun-control policy. Another experiment compared people's reactions before and after U.S. Supreme Court hearings on California's Proposition 8 and on restrictions on marriage recognition and benefits in the federal Defense of Marriage Act.

Researchers found there was "no evidence of opinion backlash" on gay marriage in either experiment.

"In fact, contrary to theories of backlash, experiment participants viewed gays and lesbians more warmly after the Supreme Court hearings than participants did before," according to a statement from UCR.

The study is posted at



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