A study by Indiana University researchers found that terminology and efforts to frame an issue -- often effective in influencing public opinion -- have no effect on public opinion concerning the ongoing debate in the U.S. over legalizing same-sex marriage.
Using an experimental approach involving a nationally representative sample, the researchers found that beliefs and values held sway, not rhetoric, such as the use of 'same-sex couple' instead of 'homosexual couple' or using the term 'civil rights' instead of 'gay rights.'
"Framing, wording doesn't matter," said Oren Pizmony-Levy, a doctoral student in IU's Department of Sociology. He discussed the study on Monday at the American Sociological Association 2010 Annual Meeting. "We need to stop trying to change the rhetoric and focus on the important issues, such as the benefits that children in same-sex families gain from the legalization of same-sex marriage."