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The Anti-gay Movement in the United States: The Framing of Religion

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Author(s): Ahoura Afshar

Journal: Essex Human Rights Review
ISSN 1756-1957

Volume: 3;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 64;
Date: 2006;
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Keywords: lesbian | gay | bisexual | transexual | religion | gay rights

ABSTRACT
Like many movements advocating the human rights of a ‘minority’ group, the gay rights movement in the United States has faced severe opposition. This article examines whether a close correlation exists between the anti-gay rights movement and conservative Christianity. The Religious Right has been a vocal and powerful force opposing equal rights for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) populations. Using the theoretical concept of framing, this article shows that the Religious Right has been active in constructing conservative Christian values and beliefs in order to mobilize voters and activists against the gay rights movement. The historical background of the gay and the anti-gay rights movements will be examined in addition to the change in the anti-gay rights rhetoric and framing strategies. It is argued that hostility towards the gay rights movement has grown as opposition to other minority groups has become socially unacceptable, while the same line of framing strategies persist in the rhetoric of the Religious Right. The arguments of anti-gay rights activists are categorized within two main claims: one, homosexuality is a sin, and two, homosexuality is a threat to society. Various framing strategies are used in order to mobilize against gay rights. Further, as the Religious Right works to oppose gay rights, more liberal religious groups have been less active in making their case for equality, diversity, and welcoming LGBT members. Yet public opinion polls in the US show increasing acceptance of gay rights. The gay rights movement can take advantage of the central role of religion in American society through framing religious values for the promotion of equality, tolerance, and respect.
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