Challenging national heterosexuality : a rhetorical analysis of campaign rhetoric for and against marriage equality in the November 2012 elections
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[ACCESS RESTRICTED TO THE UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI AT AUTHOR'S REQUEST.] This study analyzed the campaign appeals from the November 2012 campaigns for and against marriage equality. This study found that the campaigns against marriage equality appealed to their base voters in order to preserve and promote heteronormative understandings of marriage and ways of living. The campaigns for marriage equality, however, appealed to voters on all sides of the issue by encouraging conversations that challenged heteronormative understandings of marriage and society and promoted marriage and society as inclusive of LGBTQs. This study also found that there were two dominant narratives that competed against one another in 2012. The campaigns against marriage equality used a repressive narrative that framed marriage, family, religion, society, and individuals as exclusively heterosexual and ultimately aimed to put queers "in the closet." In contrast, the campaigns for marriage equality used a confessional narrative that challenged the repressive narrative by framing marriage, family, faith, citizenship, society, and individuals as inclusive of LGBTQs. Overall, the findings from this study describe how the message strategies and appeals by the campaigns for marriage equality were successful in persuading voters and ultimately winning at the ballot box in November 2012, by crafting messages that shaped public attitudes and shifted support in favor of marriage equality.
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