By Josh Hinkle
Originally published on Advocate.com April 16 2012 3:37 PM ET
A new study this month reports that many opponents of marriage equality believe their marriage will be unaffected by same-sex weddings. It's other people's marriages they're worried about.
Matthew Winslow, a psychologist at Eastern Kentucky University, started his research after James Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family, made a comment about same-sex marriage in 2005. Dobson said same-sex marriage would "undermine the traditional relationship between men and women," LiveScience reports.
Winslow concluded that Dobson wasn't including his own marriage when making that statement. "It just dawned on me, most of the people who were really vehemently against gay marriage were not likely to say they were worried about their own marriages, but they talked about how if we allowed gay marriage it was going to be bad for society in general," Winslow tells LiveScience.
In his study, Winslow survey 120 heterosexual college students. Of the 120, more than half fell on the more accepting side of the same-sex marriage approval spectrum. However, Winslow still found these students to have what he calls "third-person perception," a term for those who believe others will be more influenced by outside sources than themselves.
According to LiveScience, a group he labeled as right-wing authoritarians were most likely to suffer from "third-person perception." They were more likely to judge themselves as better than everyone else. And this high view of themselves, or their marriage in this case, leads to the generalization that enacting marriage equality will damage society as a whole.