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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractBackground/Purpose: This study aims to better understand attitude formation since attitudes influence behavior. I explore opinion on gay marriage, the gender gap in regard to this issue, and trends in attitudes toward gay marriage. I also explore how gender intersects with other identities in forming these attitudes so that we can better understand the opinions of men and women. Methods: I start by using simple percentages for men's and women's attitudes to determine if there is a gender gap and examine whether these gender differences exist within different subgroups. From there, I use multivariate equations to discover reasons for these gender gaps. Results and conclusions: People's attitudes in support of gay marriage versus support for civil unions or no legal recognition are shaped by gender and a host of other demographic traits and attitudes. A small but consistent gender gap exists, with women being 6 percentage points more likely to support gay marriage, while men fall slightly more often in the other two categories. I found evidence of intersectionalities between gender and other demographic traits. One intersectionality exists between gender, race and religiosity. Black women's opinions on gay marriage are split, falling both in greater support for gay marriage and greater opposition. The religiosity of black women accounts for this split. I also found evidence of intersectionality with regards to education, but here it appears that it is men's attitudes that are shaped by this factor. As education levels increase, the gender gap in support of gay marriage disappears as men's attitudes become more similar to that of women.
Degree ProgramGraduate College