The Cross-Pressures of Religion and Contact with Gays and Lesbians, and Their Impact on Same-Sex Marriage Opinion


  • Acknowledgements: I would like to thank Politics & Policy's anonymous reviewers for their thoughtful critiques of earlier versions of this manuscript. Their comments were thorough and instructive, and the article is much better for the attention they devoted to it.


This article examines the influence of two cross-pressures, religion and contact with gay individuals in the United States, on same-sex marriage opinion. Close relationships with gays and lesbians may influence people of varying faiths differently or not at all. Results indicate that despite religious teachings against homosexuality, people of most religious traditions are more likely to support same-sex marriage when they have a close relationship with a gay individual. The effects are the greatest for black Protestants and Latino Catholics. However, white Protestants with close relationships with gay people are just as opposed to same-sex marriage as those without similar contact.

Este artículo examina la influencia de dos opiniones incompatibles, la religión y el contacto con personas homosexuales en la opinión sobre los matrimonios del mismo sexo en los estados unidos. El contacto cercano con gays o lesbianas puede influenciar la opinión de personas creyentes en cierto grado o nada en lo absoluto. Los resultados muestran que a pesar de las escrituras religiosas en contra de la homosexualidad, las personas pertenecientes a la mayoría de las tradiciones religiosas son más probables de apoyar matrimonios del mismo sexo cuando éstas tienen una relación cercana con un individuo gay. Los efectos son mayores en afroamericanos protestantes y católicos latinoamericanos. Sin embargo, estadounidenses blancos protestantes relacionados con personas gay se oponen a los matrimonios del mismo sexo tanto como aquellos que no tienen un contacto similar.

Related Articles:“Changing Public Opinion on Same-Sex Marriage,” (2011, free):“The Impact of Contact with Gay and Lesbian Couples,” (2009):“Limitations of the Contact Hypothesis,” (2010)