Lesbian, gay, and bisexual individuals' psychological reactions to amendments denying access to civil marriage

Sharon Scales Rostosky, Ellen D.B. Riggle, Sharon G. Horne, F. Nicholas Denton, Julia Darnell Huellemeier

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

82 Scopus citations


Political campaigns to deny same-sex couples the right to civil marriage have been demonstrated to increase minority stress and psychological distress in lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) individuals (S. S. Rostosky, E. D. B. Riggle, S. G. Horne, & A. D. Miller, 2009). To further explicate the psychological reactions of LGB individuals to marriage amendment campaigns, a content analysis was conducted of open-ended responses from 300 participants in a national online survey that was conducted immediately following the November 2006 election. LGB individuals indicated that they felt indignant about discrimination; distressed by the negative rhetoric surrounding the campaigns; fearful and anxious about protecting their relationships and families; blaming of institutionalized religion, ignorance, conservative politicians, and the ineffective political strategies used by LGBT organizers; hopeless and resigned; and, finally, hopeful, optimistic, and determined to keep fighting for justice and equal rights. These 7 themes are illustrated and discussed in light of their implications for conceptualizing and intervening to address discrimination and its negative psychological effects.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)302-310
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican Journal of Orthopsychiatry
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2010


  • Alienation
  • Bisexual men
  • Bisexual women
  • Effects of discrimination
  • Gay men
  • Heterosexism
  • Hope
  • Legal policy
  • Lesbians
  • Marriage and family life
  • United States

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Psychology (miscellaneous)
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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