Public Opinion Regarding LGBT Policies: Determinants, Dynamics, and Consequences of Attitudes in the United States and Europe




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The dissertation consists of three chapters that examine the nature, causes, and consequences of attitudes towards same-sex marriage and other lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) policies from a political science perspective. The first essay studies the determinants and dynamics in attitudes regarding same-sex marriage in the United States across individuals and geographic regions over time, as well as the electoral consequences of those opinions. This analysis examines opinion over a longer period (from 1988 to 2016) than past research and includes hierarchical age-period-cohort (HAPC) modeling, a multi-level modeling technique that more robustly elucidates the degree to which liberalization of public opinion has occurred due to age cohort succession and intracohort change. The second essay in this dissertation seeks to disentangle the determinants of attitudes towards business owners who refuse service to gays and lesbians due to their religious or moral objections to homosexuality. In what has become an increasingly salient issue, some see such a refusal of service as discrimination against gays and lesbians while others view it as the religious liberty of the business owner. This analysis will (1) clarify the determinants of attitudes towards business owners who refuse service, (2) examine the effect such attitudes have on electoral choice, and (3) study the effect of question wording on support for business owners’ ability to refuse service. The third essay examines the determinants and changes in opinion regarding same-sex marriage over time in several European countries to provide a comparative perspective.



Same-sex marriage—United States, Same-sex marriage—Europe, Public opinion, Attitude (Psychology), Sexual minorities, Freedom of religion, Transgender people, Discrimination—Law and legislation


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