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Religion, contact and ambivalent attitudes towards the rights of gays and lesbians in Barbados


  • Jackman, Mahalia

    (University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus)


Over 70 countries in the world currently carry anti-gay laws, among which is Barbados, a small English-speaking Caribbean island. This study evaluates whether heterosexuals in Barbados are consistent or ambivalent in their attitudes toward anti-gay law reform and the extent to which competing messages from interpersonal contact and religion affect ambivalence. The analysis revealed that a majority of heterosexuals hold ambivalent attitudes about gay and lesbian rights. Moreover, results from a multinomial logistic regression imply that Barbadians whose views on sexuality were theologically based were less likely to support restrictions on same-sex intimacy when they have a close relationship with a gay man or lesbian. However, this decline in support for the laws brought about by meaningful contact did not translate to support for gay and lesbian rights among the religiously inclined. Rather, it manifested itself as a state of attitudinal ambivalence.

Suggested Citation

  • Jackman, Mahalia, 2019. "Religion, contact and ambivalent attitudes towards the rights of gays and lesbians in Barbados," SocArXiv 528bt, Center for Open Science.
  • Handle: RePEc:osf:socarx:528bt
    DOI: 10.31219/

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    1. Laura R. Olson & Wendy Cadge & James T. Harrison, 2006. "Religion and Public Opinion about Same‚ÄźSex Marriage," Social Science Quarterly, Southwestern Social Science Association, vol. 87(2), pages 340-360, June.
    2. Lax, Jeffrey R. & Phillips, Justin H., 2009. "Gay Rights in the States: Public Opinion and Policy Responsiveness," American Political Science Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 103(3), pages 367-386, August.
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