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Framing Public Discussion of Gay Civil Unions
Unformatted Document Text:  Framing Public Discussion 13 procedures are presented in the Appendix. With the loss of six groups owing to technical server problems, the present study included 18 conservative groups, 19 heterogeneous groups, and 17 liberal groups. Manipulation checks showed clear differences in the direction and variance in political leanings across the three group types. A combined party-ideology index, ranging from - 5 = strongly conservative to + 5 = strongly liberal, shows highly significant differences in group composition (F 2, 239 = 154.84, p < .001; conservative M = -3.23, SD = 1.56; heterogeneous M = -.44, SD = 3.12; and liberal M = 2.72, SD = 1.58). Discussion frame manipulation. Independent of group composition, each of the 54 discussion groups was randomly assigned to one of two script versions, which varied in the nature of the prompts that moderators entered into the “discussion space” to start the conversation on the issue (at roughly 20 minutes into the discussion). In the civil unions version the discussion script, administered to 27 groups, the moderator’s comments were as follows: Another social issue that has come up in several of the debates has been the issue of civil unions for gay couples. Some believe that people who are gay or lesbian should be able to have their partnerships recognized legally, while others think that recognizing these unions undermines an important institution in our society. What do you think about this issue? (approx. 5 min. later) Some have characterized recognizing civil unions of this kind as a matter of extending equal rights. Do you think of this issue as a matter of equal rights? An alternate homosexual marriage version of the discussion, administered to the remaining 27 discussion groups, used the following moderator comments: Another social issue that has come up in several of the debates has been the issue of marriage for homosexuals. Some believe that homosexuals should be able to have their marriages recognized legally, while others think that recognizing homosexual marriage undermines an important institution in our society. What do you think about this issue? (approx. 5 min. later) Some have characterized recognizing homosexual marriages as a matter of granting special rights. Do you think of this issue as a matter of special rights? Manipulation checks indicated that the randomization was successful. For example, there

Authors: Price, Vincent., Nir, Lilach. and Cappella, Joseph.
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Framing Public Discussion
13
procedures are presented in the Appendix. With the loss of six groups owing to technical server
problems, the present study included 18 conservative groups, 19 heterogeneous groups, and 17
liberal groups. Manipulation checks showed clear differences in the direction and variance in
political leanings across the three group types. A combined party-ideology index, ranging from -
5 = strongly conservative to + 5 = strongly liberal, shows highly significant differences in group
composition (F
2, 239
= 154.84, p < .001; conservative M = -3.23, SD = 1.56; heterogeneous M =
-.44, SD = 3.12; and liberal M = 2.72, SD = 1.58).
Discussion frame manipulation. Independent of group composition, each of the 54
discussion groups was randomly assigned to one of two script versions, which varied in the
nature of the prompts that moderators entered into the “discussion space” to start the
conversation on the issue (at roughly 20 minutes into the discussion). In the civil unions version
the discussion script, administered to 27 groups, the moderator’s comments were as follows:
Another social issue that has come up in several of the debates has been the issue of civil
unions for gay couples. Some believe that people who are gay or lesbian should be able to
have their partnerships recognized legally, while others think that recognizing these unions
undermines an important institution in our society. What do you think about this issue?

(approx. 5 min. later) Some have characterized recognizing civil unions of this kind as a
matter of extending equal rights. Do you think of this issue as a matter of equal rights?
An alternate homosexual marriage version of the discussion, administered to the remaining 27
discussion groups, used the following moderator comments:
Another social issue that has come up in several of the debates has been the issue of marriage
for homosexuals. Some believe that homosexuals should be able to have their marriages
recognized legally, while others think that recognizing homosexual marriage undermines an
important institution in our society. What do you think about this issue?

(approx. 5 min. later) Some have characterized recognizing homosexual marriages as a
matter of granting special rights. Do you think of this issue as a matter of special rights?

Manipulation checks indicated that the randomization was successful. For example, there


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