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Framing Public Discussion of Gay Civil Unions
Unformatted Document Text:  Framing Public Discussion 16 statements, respectively; as well as an averaged measure of the group’s valence (with negative values representing unfavorability toward gays or civil unions, and positive values representing favorability). Results General Patterns of Group Talk Despite tremendous thematic variety evident in the discussion transcripts, qualitative assessments revealed several general patterns. These included: (a) widespread invocation of religious and moral considerations; (b) less prevalent, but consistent, citation of the need for equality before the law; (c) use of several common catchphrases and metaphors; (d) appeals grounded in personal experience; and (e) explicit recognition of alternative frames. Here we provide just a few examples from the transcripts of ways participants talked about and justified their views concerning civil unions for gay couples. Actual names have been replaced by pseudonyms to protect participant confidentiality, and typing errors have been lightly edited to assist readability. Otherwise, participants’ comments are presented as recorded, including time- stamps indicating when each statement was posted in the discussion space. Moral and religious themes. A large share of the citizens’ discussions underscored the moral dimensions of traditional family values, and people commonly invoked the Bible and mentioned God. Many discussions – concentrated most clearly in conservative groups, but present as well in heterogeneous and liberal groups – expressed views that gay civil unions are sinful and morally wrong; that they undermine societal standards as well as biblical standards; and that they are unnatural (in contrast with marriages between husbands and wives). For example, one conservative group (#49, which received the “homosexual marriage” frame),

Authors: Price, Vincent., Nir, Lilach. and Cappella, Joseph.
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Framing Public Discussion
16
statements, respectively; as well as an averaged measure of the group’s valence (with negative
values representing unfavorability toward gays or civil unions, and positive values representing
favorability).
Results
General Patterns of Group Talk
Despite tremendous thematic variety evident in the discussion transcripts, qualitative
assessments revealed several general patterns. These included: (a) widespread invocation of
religious and moral considerations; (b) less prevalent, but consistent, citation of the need for
equality before the law; (c) use of several common catchphrases and metaphors; (d) appeals
grounded in personal experience; and (e) explicit recognition of alternative frames. Here we
provide just a few examples from the transcripts of ways participants talked about and justified
their views concerning civil unions for gay couples. Actual names have been replaced by
pseudonyms to protect participant confidentiality, and typing errors have been lightly edited to
assist readability. Otherwise, participants’ comments are presented as recorded, including time-
stamps indicating when each statement was posted in the discussion space.
Moral and religious themes. A large share of the citizens’ discussions underscored the
moral dimensions of traditional family values, and people commonly invoked the Bible and
mentioned God. Many discussions – concentrated most clearly in conservative groups, but
present as well in heterogeneous and liberal groups – expressed views that gay civil unions are
sinful and morally wrong; that they undermine societal standards as well as biblical standards;
and that they are unnatural (in contrast with marriages between husbands and wives). For
example, one conservative group (#49, which received the “homosexual marriage” frame),


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