Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage shapes perceptions of social norms, studies conclude

Supreme Court of the United States

Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage shapes perceptions of social norms, studies conclude

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The U.S. Supreme Court ruling finding a constitutional right to same-sex marriage has changed perceptions of social norms, new research finds.

The Rand Corp. researcher Margaret Tankard and Princeton professor Elizabeth Levy Paluck came to this conclusion based on two studies, before and after the June 2015 decision, Obergefell v. Hedges. NBC News Noted the research (PDF).

The first study recruited more than 1,600 people before the decision to test attitudes after reading an article about the upcoming case. One version of the article said the Supreme Court would likely rule in favor of same-sex marriage, while a second version said the court was unlikely to do so.

Participants were asked a series of questions about the extent to which they think support for same-sex marriage will increase; what momentum is there to legalize same-sex marriage? their own views on legalizing same-sex marriage; their opinion of homosexuals and their trust in the Supreme Court.

Those told the Supreme Court was likely to rule in favor of same-sex marriage perceived more support for same-sex marriage and greater momentum for the issue. Attitudes in favor of same-sex marriage and gay men were also more positive than those of the other group.

The second study of 1,063 people asked the same set of questions, before and after the decision. The Supreme Court ruling was associated with a significant shift in perceived social norms in favor of same-sex marriage, but did not change personal views on same-sex or gay marriage, according to this study.

The liberals and conservatives in both studies had similar changes in their perceptions of social norms.

Changes in perceived social norms are important because people often use their perceptions of what is common or accepted as a guide for their own behavior, the researchers say.

“What we are seeing is evidence that people have interpreted the Supreme Court ruling as signaling widespread change in society – growing support for same-sex marriage,” Tankard said in an interview with NBC. The study “shows us that the development of society at the institutional or political level affects the way we think about a problem. It affects the political climate, which we understand as common, normal or accepted. “

About Marjorie C. Hudson

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