Past research has examined various factors that predict heterosexual individuals’ attitudes toward marriage equality, including gender, age, religion/religiosity, political ideology, and sexual prejudice (Herek, 2011). To our knowledge, no studies have examined the possibility that such attitudes predict consequential behaviors directed at LGBT individuals. Thus, the current work examined the role of opposition to marriage equality in predicting negative behavioral intentions and reactions to antigay hate crimes. Given the importance of gender in sexual prejudice and opposition to marriage equality (Herek, 2000a), these relationships were examined after including gender in the model. Fifty-nine heterosexual students participated in this study. Separate hierarchical regressions revealed that opposition to marriage equality significantly predicted greater negative behavioral intentions (β = .46, p < .001), reduced recognition of a hate crime (β = -.30, p < .05), and marginally increased perpetrator justification (β = -.23, p = .09) above and beyond the influence of gender. Moreover, a two-way interaction indicated that opposition to marriage equality predicted negative behavioral intentions to a greater degree for men than women (β = -.55, p < .05). These results suggested that marriage equality attitudes are not merely political, but rather, predict influential behavioral intentions and reactions toward LGBT individuals.
2015 Douglas A. Feldman LGBT Paper Award
Hutchings, Ryan, "Beyond Politics: Opposition to Marriage Equality Predicts Negative Reactions Toward LGBT Individuals" (2015). Student Research Awards. 4.