Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Reed College of Media


Reed College of Media

Committee Chair

Rita Colistra

Committee Co-Chair

Bob Britten

Committee Member

Elizabeth Cohen

Committee Member

Catherine Mezera


The purpose of this research is to explore which frames, dominant frames, and tones are used in news coverage of same-sex marriage before and after the U.S. Supreme Court decision to legalize these marriages. In addition, public opinion surrounding the decision and agenda-setting effects were also examined. This study used a content analysis and secondary survey data from the Pew Research Center to explore these factors. A content analysis of print newspaper articles and broadcast transcripts from four print sources and six broadcast outlets was used to gather the 286-article sample. Findings suggest that the tone of the article is impacted by the type of frame that is used, (1) political/legal, (2) religion/morality, (3) civil rights/equality. Findings also suggest that religion/morality framing is the most negative in tone, followed by political/legal framing, and civil rights/equality framing is the most positive in tone. These types of frames used were also examined in the time period before and after and results indicated that political/legal framing was used more in the time before the decision, while civil rights/equality framing was used more often after the decision. The information gathered in this research will help improve understanding of the impacts of framing surrounding a landmark event and how these frames and tone of coverage may influence public opinion of same-sex marriage and its legalization.