Sexuality Research and Social Policy

, Volume 16, Issue 4, pp 521–528 | Cite as

Political Environment and Perceptions of Social Inclusion After Nationwide Marriage Equality Among Partnered Men Who Have Sex with Men in the USA

  • Nicholas MethenyEmail author
  • Rob Stephenson


The aim of this paper is to examine how nationwide marriage equality and minority stressors are associated with perceptions of social inclusion using a national sample of partnered men who have sex with men (MSM) (n = 498). A four-item scale measuring changes in perceived social inclusion due to the nationwide legalization of same-sex marriage was created. Respondents were categorized into four distinct political environments using results from the 2016 US Presidential election. Multilevel modeling was used to examine associations between political environment, minority stressors, and perceived social inclusion. Changes in perceived social inclusion due to marriage equality did not significantly differ between political environments. Higher levels of internalized, anticipated, and enacted stigma were all associated with fewer gains in perceived social inclusion. An interaction between political environment and external stigma was significant in the most politically conservative areas. The legalization of marriage equality has improved perceived social inclusion overall, but less so among men who experience more discrimination and live in conservative environments. Multilevel interventions to change social norms are needed to help decrease minority stressors and improve perceived social inclusion in politically conservative areas with elevated levels of discrimination.


Social inclusion Marriage equality Minority stress Political environment Social norms 



This study uses data collected as part of an NIH-funded grant (1R01HD078131-01A1).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Michigan School of NursingAnn ArborUSA
  2. 2.University of Michigan Center for Sexuality and Health DisparitiesAnn ArborUSA

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