Poster Title

Obergefell v. Hodges and Support for Same-Sex Marriage: Changes in National and State Public Opinion

Grade Level at Time of Presentation

Senior

Institution

University of Louisville

KY House District #

30

KY Senate District #

19

Department

Political Science

Abstract

Title: Obergefell v. Hodges and Support for Same-Sex Marriage: Changes in National and State Public Opinion

Author: Adria Neal

Department: Political Science

Mentor: Laura Moyer, Ph.D

Abstract:

Many have argued that Supreme Court decisions on culture war issues, issues that cause conflict between conservative and liberal values, stifle public progression on the very problems they are meant to resolve. They often cite political and electoral backlash following a decision as evidence of this stagnation. However, this backlash may not be representative of widespread public opinion. In order to understand the relationship between Court decisions and public opinion, changes in opinion on culture war issues following a Supreme Court ruling must be measured. This study utilized national and state survey data in order to examine this relationship. It measured changes in support for same-sex marriage nationwide as well as in the state of Kentucky following the Court’s decision in Obergefell v. Hodges. Changes in support for same-sex marriage among various racial groups and political parties are also assessed. Changes in nationwide support following Obergefell did not reach significance and changes in support on the state level, following the ruling, also could not be determined because of differences in survey question wording. However, findings showed that other significant same-sex marriage court decisions have preceded changes in overall support for same-sex marriage. Also, the gaps in support between racial groups and parties changed following these rulings, suggesting that groups have differing reactions to Court involvement. Research conducted after Kim Davis’s refusal to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples suggested that Kentuckians are willing to acquiesce with the Court’s decision in Obergefell, despite widespread disapproval of same-sex marriage. Future research should utilize survey data with consistent questions before and after the Court’s ruling and should control for other variables in order to isolate the effect of Court decisions.

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Obergefell v. Hodges and Support for Same-Sex Marriage: Changes in National and State Public Opinion

Title: Obergefell v. Hodges and Support for Same-Sex Marriage: Changes in National and State Public Opinion

Author: Adria Neal

Department: Political Science

Mentor: Laura Moyer, Ph.D

Abstract:

Many have argued that Supreme Court decisions on culture war issues, issues that cause conflict between conservative and liberal values, stifle public progression on the very problems they are meant to resolve. They often cite political and electoral backlash following a decision as evidence of this stagnation. However, this backlash may not be representative of widespread public opinion. In order to understand the relationship between Court decisions and public opinion, changes in opinion on culture war issues following a Supreme Court ruling must be measured. This study utilized national and state survey data in order to examine this relationship. It measured changes in support for same-sex marriage nationwide as well as in the state of Kentucky following the Court’s decision in Obergefell v. Hodges. Changes in support for same-sex marriage among various racial groups and political parties are also assessed. Changes in nationwide support following Obergefell did not reach significance and changes in support on the state level, following the ruling, also could not be determined because of differences in survey question wording. However, findings showed that other significant same-sex marriage court decisions have preceded changes in overall support for same-sex marriage. Also, the gaps in support between racial groups and parties changed following these rulings, suggesting that groups have differing reactions to Court involvement. Research conducted after Kim Davis’s refusal to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples suggested that Kentuckians are willing to acquiesce with the Court’s decision in Obergefell, despite widespread disapproval of same-sex marriage. Future research should utilize survey data with consistent questions before and after the Court’s ruling and should control for other variables in order to isolate the effect of Court decisions.