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Race, Religion, and Opposition to Same-Sex Marriage April 4, 2010

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Race, Religion, and Opposition to Same-Sex Marriage
Darren E. Sherkat, Southern Illinois University Carbondale
Kylan Mattias de Vries, Southern Illinois University Carbondale
Stacia Creek, Southern Illinois University CarbondaleObjective.

Race, religion and same sex marriage

We examine racial differences in support for same-sex marriage, and test whether the emerging black-white gap is a function of religiosity. We explore how religious factors play a crucial role in racial differences, and how secular factors have varying effects on attitudes for whites and African Americans.

Methods.

Using data from the General Social Surveys, we estimate ordinal logistic regression models and stacked structural equation models. Results. We show that the racial divide is a function of African Americans’ ties to sectarian Protestant religious denominations and high rates of church attendance. We also show racial differences in the influenceof education and political values on opposition to same sex marriage.

Conclusions.

Religious factors are a source of racial differences in support for same-sex marriage,and secular influences play less of a role in structuring African Americans’ beliefs about same-sex marriage.

The success of California’s Proposition 8 in 2008 was a stunning blow to progress on marital equality for same-sex couples. In the wake of this renunciation of marriage rights established by a decision of the California Supreme Court, activists, pundits, and scholars have pondered various factors that may have contributed to the success of Proposition 8. Perhaps the most controversial explanation has been that African-American opposition to same-sex marriage combined with high voter turnout in the presidential election supporting Barack Obama sealed the passage of Proposition 8.

SOCIAL SCIENCE QUARTERLY, Volume 91, Number 1, March 2010
by the Southwestern Social Science Association
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