Tuesday Seminar – 1 December

Attitudes towards homosexuality after “Obergefell v. Hodges”. Quasi-experimental evidence of anticipatory backlash from Israel 

Stuart J. Turnbull-Dugarte (University of Southampton)

The US Supreme Court decision in Obergefell v. Hodges was a landmark judicial ruling that expanded the civil rights afforded to sexual minority individuals by recognising the constitutional and federal right of lesbian, gay or bisexual individuals to access a marriage licence. Research recent has explored the role of domestic recognition of samesex marriage (SSM) on mass attitudes, finding that SSM tends to expand mass support for LGBT+ rights and tolerance of sexual minorities. In this paper, I move beyond the confines of the domestic state and ask if the legalisation of SSM in the US, which was widely reported on across the global media, had an impact on attitudes towards sexual minorities in other countries. I present three alternative hypotheses: (i) the ruling will expand support for homosexuality, (ii) the ruling will engender an anticipatory backlash, (iii) the ruling will have no effect. Empirically, I leverage the naturally random exposure to the court’s ruling among survey respondents in Israel. Relying on this quasi-experimental design, I find that individuals interviewed immediately after the ruling were substantially less likely to support homosexuality compared to those interviewed before. Moreover, we find that the increasing intolerance of homosexuality brought about by the ruling is driven mostly by women. These findings have important implications for our understanding of the efficacy and effect of transnational norm transfusion. Advances in the state recognition of LGBT+ rights at home can engender a rejection and anticipatory backlash against liberalised norms among citizens abroad.

Contact Semih Çakır if you would like to participate in the seminar.

This content has been updated on 27 November 2020 at 21 h 32 min.