Asynchrony in Attitudes Toward Abortion and Gay Rights: The Challenge to Values Alignment

Academic Article


  • Political commentators tend to assume that Americans who share a particular religious affiliation think similarly about values issues and that values questions are aligned. Although religious affiliation is a strong predictor of attitudes toward abortion and gay rights, there is differentiation within denominational subgroups with respect to both; for example, while majorities of mainline Protestants and Catholics favor gay marriage, many of their respective co‐religionists do not. Further, aggregate survey data shows asynchrony in within‐group attitudes on abortion and gay rights; for example, whereas Hispanic Catholics are more likely to support gay marriage than legal abortion, black Protestants are more likely to support legal abortion than gay marriage. Abortion and gay equality are discrete issues and give rise to divergent attitudes based on the lived reality of different ethnoreligious groups. These findings challenge the utility of the construct of the “values voter,” and underscore that abortion and gay rights should be recognized as separate public policy domains.
  • Authors


    Publication Date

  • March 2014
  • Has Subject Area

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Start Page

  • 1
  • End Page

  • 16
  • Volume

  • 53
  • Issue

  • 1