Moral discourse, political culture, and the debate over same-sex marriage Public Deposited

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  • March 21, 2019
  • McFarland, Katherine
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Sociology
  • In the last decade, Americans across the nation have confronted the issue of same-sex marriage, creating a moral discourse that before did not exist. In this paper I analyze the frames used in debates over constitutional amendments defining marriage and other relationship recognition in newspapers in seven states. Contrary to previous research on public discussion of LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender) rights which argues that debates are polarized by values of equal rights vs. traditional morality, I find that, Americans also invoke tolerance, Constitutionality, family values, and separation of governmental powers when confronted with the issue of same-sex marriage. Additionally, I show that use of some of these frames varies by state, confirming my hypothesis of the role of political culture. This research has implications for the role of moral discourse in political culture and the ways political culture varies (and the ways it does not vary) nationally.
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  • In Copyright
  • Perrin, Andrew J.
  • Open access

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