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Elite-Led Mobilization and Gay Rights: Dispelling the Myth of Mass Opinion BacklashBenjamin George Bishin, Thomas J. Hayes, Matthew B. Incantalupo, and Charles Anthony Smith 2021
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Media and scholastic accounts describe a strong public opinion backlash—a sharply negative and enduring opinion change—against attempts to advance gay rights. Academic research, however, increasingly questions backlash as an explanation for opposition to LGBT rights. Elite-Led Mobilization and Gay Rights argues that what appears to be public opinion backlash against gay rights is more consistent with elite-led mobilization—a strategy used by anti-gay elites, primarily white evangelicals, seeking to prevent the full incorporation of LGBT Americans in the polity in order to achieve political objectives and increase political power. This book defines and tests the theory of Mass Opinion Backlash and develops and tests the theory of Elite-Led Mobilization by employing a series of online and natural experiments, surrounding the U.S. Supreme Court rulings in Obergefell v. Hodges and United States v. Windsor, and President Obama's position change on gay marriage. To evaluate these theories, the authors employ extensive survey, voting behavior, and campaign finance data, and examine the history of the LGBT movement and its opposition by religious conservatives, from the Lavender Scare to the campaign against Trans Rights in the defeat of Houston's 2015 HERO ordinance. Their evidence shows that opposition to LGBT rights is a top-down process incited by anti-gay elites rather than a bottom-up reaction described by public opinion backlash.
- 978-0-472-12932-4 (ebook)
- 978-0-472-03864-0 (paper)
- 978-0-472-13270-6 (hardcover)
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