The Social Psychology of Proposition 8

560 Words3 Pages
People have always struggled with the idea of accepting and integrating homosexual individuals into society. Whether it is has to do with specific religions, traditions, or morals, people are opposed to the idea of allowing gay people to share all the same rights a heterosexual has. One clear way this prejudice manifests itself in today’s society is through the idea of marriage. Although many areas now allow and perform same-sex marriages, there is still a large controversy surrounding the idea that marriage is strictly a legal bond between a man and a woman. On November 5, 2008 California voters voted in favor of Proposition 8; a proposition to ban gay marriage after a ruling had legalized it in May of the same year. The result of the vote was almost a near split down the middle and people on either side were quite passionate about their stand on the issue. People in favor of the proposition were against changing the legal definition of marriage from stating that it was a bond between a man and woman, whereas people opposed to the proposition believed it to be a civil rights issue. Issues of human equality and human rights like same-sex marriage stem partly from social psychological issues. Psychological theories of cognitive dissonance, prejudice, and certain attitudes may help to explain why the majority of voters in California voted the way they did. Affectively based attitudes can help us understand how people vote when dealing with sensitive or controversial issues. Our attitudes are theoretically thought of as our personal like or dislike concerning certain objects, people or events. Affective attitudes are based on these same principles, but usually stem from our values—typically one’s religious or moral beliefs. These types of attitudes aren’t governed by rationale or logic and are usually very hard to change. Voters who viewed proposition 8
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