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Senior Jimmy Szewczyk Publishes Research

Politics Department senior James Szewczyk has published a paper in the online Columbia University Journal of Politics and Society. In this paper, Szewczyk uses national public opinion survey data to explore how religious identity and religiosity affect Americans’ opinions on gay rights issues. To quote Chris Meyer’s review of his paper here, Szewczyk “argues that devoutly religious people are less likely to accept evolving societal attitudes toward gay marriage,” offers preliminary evidence supportive of contact theory, suggesting “that respondents are more accepting of gay marriage — and indeed gay rights in general — when they are subject to long-term interactions with gay men and women,” and “argues that if the gay rights movement wants to make greater inroads with religious populations, it must alter its framing of certain issues. Religious communities, his research finds, are more receptive to arguments when they are framed in the context of equality rather than morality. As such, the gay rights movement will find more traction among potential religious allies if they focus on issues like job discrimination against homosexual applicants.” Szewczyk completed the research for this paper as part of his coursework in POLS 407, the Research Seminar in Political Behavior. He will join the PhD program in Political Science at Emory this fall.