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Framing Public Discussion of Gay Civil Unions
Unformatted Document Text:  Framing Public Discussion 17 responded as follows [18:30] < Meghan> I think homosexuals are sick [18:32] < Dave> I know I’m politically incorrect but the Bible speaks out against homosexual activity and I do think it goes against society standards. [18:32] < Sam> I think it is a sin, only confusion can come from it. [18:33] < Dave> Plus, if homosexuals are allowed to marry will they be required to pay the marriage penalty tax? [18:33] < Beth > I think it’s difficult. I have no problem with homosexuals, I’m very much on the fence as to whether it’s right or wrong, [18:34] < Frances >The Bible reads plainly that man and man, woman and woman cannot marry Although Beth voiced a mixed opinion on the matter, this group otherwise expressed unanimous objection to legalizing gay civil unions. Biblical prohibitions of homosexuality were cited (by Dave and Frances); it was termed both sinful (by Sam) and equated with disease (by Meghan). This sort of language was drawn upon repeatedly, with the words “God,” “Bible,” “wrong,” and “moral” occurring with considerable frequency in the discussion transcripts (24, 21, 29, and 23 times respectively). Sometimes coupled with religious and moral concerns were comments having to do with the unnatural character of same-sex relationships. Later in this same discussion (at 18:37), for instance, Dave asserted that “homosexuals can’t bond for and [an] extended period as can husband and wife.” Many others argued that homosexual partnerships shouldn’t be placed on an equal footing with married couples because the former could not reproduce. Although the vast majority of those adopting the morality frame used it to oppose civil unions, a small number of participants employed it in support. For example, LuAnn (talking in a liberal group, #14, which received the “civil union” frame) argued: [21:36] < LuAnn> Love is Love. A gay couple can have the same problems as a hetero couple. A gay couple can stay together or split just like a hetro couple, the only person they’ll have to answer to is GOD in the end. The morality frame tended to appear in citizen dialogue regardless of which version of the initial prompt was used. Consider, for example, the response of one heterogeneous group (#27)

Authors: Price, Vincent., Nir, Lilach. and Cappella, Joseph.
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Framing Public Discussion
17
responded as follows
[18:30] < Meghan> I think homosexuals are sick
[18:32] < Dave> I know I’m politically incorrect but the Bible speaks out against homosexual activity and I do
think it goes against society standards.
[18:32] < Sam> I think it is a sin, only confusion can come from it.
[18:33] < Dave> Plus, if homosexuals are allowed to marry will they be required to pay the marriage penalty
tax?
[18:33] < Beth > I think it’s difficult. I have no problem with homosexuals, I’m very much on the fence as to
whether it’s right or wrong,
[18:34] < Frances >The Bible reads plainly that man and man, woman and woman cannot marry

Although Beth voiced a mixed opinion on the matter, this group otherwise expressed
unanimous objection to legalizing gay civil unions. Biblical prohibitions of homosexuality were
cited (by Dave and Frances); it was termed both sinful (by Sam) and equated with disease (by
Meghan). This sort of language was drawn upon repeatedly, with the words “God,” “Bible,”
“wrong,” and “moral” occurring with considerable frequency in the discussion transcripts (24,
21, 29, and 23 times respectively). Sometimes coupled with religious and moral concerns were
comments having to do with the unnatural character of same-sex relationships. Later in this
same discussion (at 18:37), for instance, Dave asserted that “homosexuals can’t bond for and [an]
extended period as can husband and wife.” Many others argued that homosexual partnerships
shouldn’t be placed on an equal footing with married couples because the former could not
reproduce.
Although the vast majority of those adopting the morality frame used it to oppose civil
unions, a small number of participants employed it in support. For example, LuAnn (talking in a
liberal group, #14, which received the “civil union” frame) argued:
[21:36] < LuAnn> Love is Love. A gay couple can have the same problems as a hetero couple. A gay couple
can stay together or split just like a hetro couple, the only person they’ll have to answer to is GOD in
the end.
The morality frame tended to appear in citizen dialogue regardless of which version of the
initial prompt was used. Consider, for example, the response of one heterogeneous group (#27)


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