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Having gay relative builds support for gay rights

March 25, 2013|By Maura Dolan

Knowing that a family member is gay strongly influences support for gay rights, the head of the National Center for Lesbian Rights said Monday.

"The single greatest factor in predicting acceptance of LGBT people is knowing someone you love is part of our community," said Kate Kendell, executive director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights.

She said she based that conclusion on extensive social science research and her 20 years of working in the gay and lesbian community.

"It transcends political ideology," she said. "It transcends religious views. It transcends liberalism or education. The single most important predictor of whether you would be supportive of gay rights is if somebody close to you is gay."

The Times reported that the lesbian first cousin of Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. will be attending the U.S. Supreme Court arguments this week in two major gay rights cases, including the challenge to Proposition 8, the 2008 ballot measure that banned same-sex marriage in California.

Jean Podrasky, 48, Roberts' cousin, is an accountant who lives in San Francisco and hopes to marry her partner if Proposition 8 is struck down. Roberts arranged for her, her partner and other family members to be in the courtroom during the hearings.

"It is impossible to speculate what effect having a first cousin who is lesbian might have on Justice Roberts," Kendell said. "What one certainly can say with some assurance is that it makes any issue that you deal with involving gay people more personal."

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Twitter:@MauraDolan

maura.dolan@latimes.com

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