Same-sex marriage in the Russian media: between neutrality and anxiety




same-sex marriage, gay marriage, homosexuality, LGBT, media, framing theory, frames


The paper considers the specifics of the construction of the same-sex marriage discussion which is a focus area for LGBT. The empirical basis of the study is news stories reported by four Russia newspapers during the legalization of same-sex marriage in the USA. The theoretical basis of the study is the framing theory which describes the construction of logic of news stories perceived by the audience. The author provides a cluster analysis of the most highlighted topics. The study shows that the discussion is determined by four frames: danger frame, «neutral» frame, moral frame and equality frame. The most commonly used frame is the danger frame: the spread of same-sex marriage is perceived as an effect of external influences that poses a threat to state and society. The second most commonly used frame is «neutral» frame used by those authors who try to be non-judgmental and whose news reporting is limited to fact-based information. The frames of moral and equality, mainly typical for the American media, are rare in the Russian media. The moral frame refers to ethical and religious condemnation of same-sex marriage. The equality frame highlights the importance of giving equal rights to homosexuals. On the whole, the Russian media narrative devoted to same-sex marriage appears to be either negative or neutral.