Political Science LGBT Politics in the United States
by
Donald Patrick Haider-Markel
  • LAST MODIFIED: 27 October 2016
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199756223-0188

Introduction

The American lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) political movement has its roots in the post–World War II era. Through the 1950s and 1960s early LGBT groups focused on social mobilization and education, with limited observable political activities. Political activity increased in the 1960s and caught fire after the rioting that broke out in 1969 at the Stonewall Inn in New York City following a regular raid of the bar by police. A modern and diverse movement arose in the 1970s; early local victories on city ordinances banning employment discrimination based on sexual preference/sexual orientation generated an anti-LGBT backlash movement manifested in a series of ballot measures to repeal these laws and ban the adoption of similar laws. A chain of LGBT victories included the high-profile defeat of the Briggs Initiative in California. The decade also saw the political mobilization of the LGBT community at the ballot box and the election of openly lesbian and gay candidates for local and state offices. By the early 1980s, sizable local, state, and national LGBT groups gained footing just as the first cases of HIV/AIDS began to disproportionately appear among gay men. Although public attitudes had become more positive toward homosexually and LGBT rights, fear of AIDS generated a negative public and political backlash. However, by the late 1980s LGBT groups had built a political infrastructure for a series of legal, policy, and candidate victories throughout the 1990s. These achievements included state and local anti-discrimination protections, hate crime laws, a Supreme Court ruling that ended attempts to pass laws that prevented any LGBT antidiscrimination, and the start of a long national debate to end the ban on homosexuals serving in the military. The 1990s also saw the start of a broad-based effort to gain marriage equality and family protections for same-sex couples. Early legal victories in Hawaii helped to generate a negative backlash in Congress and most states throughout the decade, but some localities and states began to consider alternative recognition through civil unions. At the same time the number of openly LGBT public officials grew each election cycle. With the Supreme Court repeal of all standing anti-sodomy laws in 2003 and the Massachusetts judicial legalization of same-sex marriage later that fall, same-sex marriage again became a national issue and many states adopted constitutional amendments to ban its recognition. Unprecedented shifts in public opinion and legal victories paved a path toward the 2015 Supreme Court decision to effectively legalize same-sex marriage. In the wake of the victory LGBT activists have struggled to maintain political mobilization for antidiscrimination protections and long-ignored transgender issues.

General Overviews and Political Theory

A variety of books and articles provide general views of LGBT political development, including historical, social, and cultural elements (Engel 2015, LeVay and Nonas 1995, Murray 1984). Important in this area are works focused on theorizing sexuality (Foucault 1978), homosexuality, sexual identity, sexual desire and identity, and gender as individually and socially constructed for political purposes (Blasius 1994, Faderman 1991, Kitzinger 1987, Phelan 1989, Phelan 1994, Wilchins 1997). Other works highlight the context of anti-LGBT politics within a broader political struggle over culture and morality within the United States (Hunter 1992). Many additional works in this area could be included that touch on similar topics.

  • Blasius, Mark. Gay and Lesbian Politics. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1994.

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    Blasius argues homosexuality is inherently about politics and power, and suggests there is a gay and lesbian ethos, or way of life, that gays and lesbians have contracted. The author traces the elements of power and identity in American politics that enable the creation of political identities based on sexual attraction and gender.

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  • Engel, Stephen M. “Developmental Perspectives on Lesbian and Gay Politics: Fragmented Citizenship in a Fragmented State.” Perspectives on Politics 13.2 (2015): 287–311.

    DOI: 10.1017/S1537592715000043Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Engel uses the examples of gays and lesbians serving in the military and LGBT marriage and family issues to illustrate how American Political Development (APD) concepts can be applied to understanding LGBT citizenship status.

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  • Faderman, Lillian. Odd Girls and Twilight Lovers: A History of Lesbian Life in Twentieth-Century America. New York: Columbia University Press, 1991.

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    Making use of a variety of cultural artifacts, Faderman provides a detailed overview of lesbian social and political life and the development of lesbian identity subculture in modern America.

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  • Foucault, Michel. The History of Sexuality. Vol. 1, The Will to Knowledge. Translated by Robert Hurley. London: Penguin, 1978.

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    Foucault’s three-volume collection on sexuality is a classic in theorizing about sexuality, power, and the mobilization of science and the “confessional” method to explore sexuality and assign value to different representations of sexuality. Volume 1 is perhaps most directly relevant to the social construction of homosexuality and sexual perversion. Translaton from the French Histoire de la sexualité, Vol. 1, La volonté de savoir (Paris: Gallimard, 1976).

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  • Hunter, James Davison. Culture Wars: The Struggle to Control the Family, Art, Education, Law, and Politics in America. New York: Basic Books, 1992.

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    In what has become a classic, Hunter argues that conflict over issues such as homosexuality, abortion, and education have become intertwined in an ideological and religious battle over what defines America.

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  • Kitzinger, Celia. The Social Construction of Lesbianism. London: SAGE, 1987.

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    A treatise on lesbianism as a radical feminist project that seeks to demonstrate that lesbianism should not be normalized or assimilated but instead be viewed as a rejection of traditional constructions of femininity and womanhood.

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  • LeVay, Simon, and Elisabeth Nonas. City of Friends: A Portrait of the Gay and Lesbian Community in America. Cambridge, MA: MIT, 1995.

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    The authors provides an overview of central terms and concepts of homosexuality and gay and lesbian culture in America and delivers numerous examples of the diversity within the gay and lesbian community. It serves as both a modern history and a reference guide.

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  • Murray, Stephen O. Social Theory, Homosexual Realities. Gai Saber Monograph No. 3. New York: Scholarship Committee, Gay Academic Union, 1984.

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    Interdisciplinary analysis that explores the major social science theories on homosexuality while critiquing those theories.

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  • Phelan, Shane. Identity Politics: Lesbian-Feminism and the Limits of Community. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1989.

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    Makes use of postmodern (queer theory) theory to explain and explore the social construction of lesbianism and lesbian identity.

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  • Phelan, Shane. Getting Specific: Postmodern Lesbian Politics. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1994.

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    Political theorizing that goes beyond lesbian feminist theory; Phelan argues for a “democratic identity politics” that deals with identity in terms of human experience and opportunities for political mobilization.

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  • Wilchins, Riki Anne. Read My Lips: Sexual Subversion and the End of Gender. Ithaca, NY: Firebrand, 1997.

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    Something of a manifesto by a founder of GenderPAC that deals with transgender and other gender-related issues, combines the author’s personal experiences with theoretical and pragmatic political considerations. Strongly arguing for a liberationist approach, the author urges a broad-based coalition encompassing homophobia and “transphobia” as well as sexism, racism, and class inequality.

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Reference Works

A variety of excellent volumes explore the details of the LGBT movement and policy issues with primary documents (Blasius and Phelan 1997, Katz 1992), timelines of important events and issues (Thompson 1994), and legal frameworks and arguments around family (Merin 2002, Wolfson 2004).

Edited Collections

Much of the original research on LGBT politics has been published in edited collections through the 1990s and early 2000s, with fewer studies reaching mainstream social science journals. Some collections focus more on LGBT mobilization and activism (Barclay, et al. 2009; Warner 1993) while others employ social science and medical studies to convey what we know about sexual orientation (Gonsiorek and Weinrich 1991). Family issues and law occupy the attention for some (Bernstein and Reimann 2001), the politics of same-sex marriage (Rimmerman and Wilcox 2007), hate crimes (Herek and Berrill 1992), anti-gay ballot measures (Witt and McCorkle 1997), gays in the military (Rimmerman 1996), and several aspects of lesbian and gay politics and policy from a social science perspective for others (Riggle and Tadlock 1999; Rimmerman, et al. 2000). Still others focus on the social construction of sexuality and identity (Stein 1990) as well as transgender rights and policy (Currah, et al. 2006; Taylor and Haider-Markel 2014). Finally, a classic collection with many frequently cited chapters is titled Gays in the Military (Wolinsky and Sherrill 1993), but focuses on many aspects of issues confronting the LGBT community.

  • Barclay, Scott, Mary Bernstein, and Anna-Maria Marshall, eds. Queer Mobilizations: LGBT Activists Confront the Law. New York: New York University Press, 2009.

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    Wide-ranging essays in this volume focus on movement activism, the push for legal and policy changes, and use of the courts in pursuit of movement goals.

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  • Bernstein, Mary, and Renate Reimann, eds. Queer Families, Queer Politics: Challenging Culture and the State. New York: Columbia University Press, 2001.

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    Edited collection of essays on LGBT politics written by activists and academics covering LGBT family issues, including adoption, domestic partnerships, and same-sex marriage in a variety of social and institutional contexts.

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  • Currah, Paisley, Richard M. Juang, and Shannon Minter, eds. Transgender Rights. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2006.

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    The first large scope view on the transgender rights movement with contributors from the academy as well as activists within the movement.

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  • Gonsiorek, John C., and James D. Weinrich, eds. Homosexuality: Research Implications for Public Policy. Newbury Park, CA: SAGE, 1991.

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    Essays on research covering sexual orientation, homosexuality, and AIDS as well as the impact of discrimination. The volume relies on existing social science and medical research of the time and emphasizes psychological research. Policy recommendations are made based on published research.

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  • Herek, Gregory M., and Kevin T. Berrill, eds. Hate Crimes: Confronting Violence against Lesbians and Gay Men. Newbury Park, CA: SAGE, 1992.

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    The contributors devote attention to every aspect of crimes motivated by ant-gay bias, including survivor stories, causes, service interventions, and methods for addressing hate crimes.

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  • Riggle, Ellen D. B., and Barry L. Tadlock, eds. Gays and Lesbians in the Democratic Process. New York: Columbia University Press, 1999.

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    Edited collection of original political science research on LGBT politics, with special attention to electoral politics, public opinion, and public policy.

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  • Rimmerman, Craig A., ed. Gay Rights, Military Wrongs: Political Perspectives on Lesbians and Gays in the Military. New York: Garland, 1996.

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    Focused on military service, the essays in this volume explore the history of gays in the military, efforts to allow service, public attitudes, and implementation issues.

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  • Rimmerman, Craig A., Kenneth D. Wald, and Clyde Wilcox, eds. The Politics of Gay Rights. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000.

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    Edited collection of original empirical research on LGBT politics, divided into sections on local, state, and national policies and politics.

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  • Rimmerman, Craig, and Clyde Wilcox, eds. The Politics of Same-Sex Marriage. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2007.

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    Essays on legal battles, theological perspectives, political mobilization, public opinion, and electoral politics of same-sex marriage.

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  • Stein, Edward, ed. Forms of Desire: Sexual Orientation and the Social Constructionist Controversy. New York: Routledge, 1990.

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    From an interdisciplinary perspective the chapters examine the notion of sexual orientation as a culturally constructed concept.

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  • Taylor, Jami Kathleen, and Donald P. Haider-Markel, eds. Transgender Rights and Politics: Groups, Issue Framing, and Policy Adoption. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2014.

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    This volume brings together a collection of empirically driven original studies of transgender rights focused on the framing of transgender issues, interest groups, and policy formulation and adoption.

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  • Warner, Michael, ed. Fear of a Queer Planet: Queer Politics and Social Theory. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1993.

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    A collection of essays examining the role of radical direct action groups such as Queer Nation, the culture wars, and the role of the religious right.

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  • Witt, Stephanie L., and Suzanne McCorkle, eds. Anti-gay Rights: Assessing Voter Initiatives. Westport, CT: Praeger, 1997.

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    Edited collection of essays on state and local ballot initiatives that restricted or repealed gay and lesbian civil rights.

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  • Wolinsky, Marc, and Kenneth Sherrill, eds. Gays and the Military: Joseph Steffan versus the United States. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1993.

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    A classic collection of essays and legal briefs focused on the legal question of allowing gays to serve openly in the US military but built around questions of homosexual stereotyping, gays and lesbians as an unprotected class facing discrimination, and gays as a politically powerless group.

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Journals

A variety of social science journals have published articles on LGBT politics in the United States, with the greatest concentration of articles appearing in the fields of political science and sociology. However, some of the top journals in political science, including the American Political Science Review, were slow to publish research on LGBT politics. Indeed, none of the top journals in political science or sociology published an empirically focused article on LGBT politics until the mid-1990s, and LGBT theory and political philosophy articles are still almost nonexistent in the top-tier journals. As the study of LGBT politics has become more mainstream in the social sciences, journal articles relying on two or more studies that apply the same theoretical perspective have increasingly begun to use an issue example from LGBT politics.

History of LGBT Politics

Various historical overviews of LGBT politics and the movement have appeared since the 1970s, with some attempting to address the whole of the movement (Adam 1995, Altman 1974, Cruikshank 1992), while others focus on particular periods, strategies, or segments of the movement, such as law and litigation (Anderson 2005, Cain 2000), institutions (Smith 2008), and violence against LGBT people (Comstock 1991). D’Emilio 1983 and D’Emilio 1992 perhaps provides the most rigorous examination of the movement in the pre-Stonewall era, while Duberman 1993 focuses on the events and personas surrounding the Stonewall riots. Others weave the history of the movement with developments in gay culture (Murray 1996). Finally, Johnson 2009 turns a lens on the persecution of gay and lesbian federal workers during the Cold War.

  • Adam, Barry D. The Rise of a Gay and Lesbian Movement. Rev. ed. New York: Twayne, 1995.

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    Adam provides a solid history and overview of the creation of a gay political movement in the major industrial democracies with descriptions of issues, groups, and government activity.

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  • Altman, Dennis. Homosexual Oppression and Liberation. London: Allen Lane, 1974.

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    A history of the movement and Altman’s own coming out process. Contextualizes the LGBT movement with that of other oppressed groups seeking liberation.

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  • Anderson, Ellen Ann. Out of the Closets & into the Courts: Legal Opportunity Structure and Gay Rights Litigation. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2005.

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    Anderson examines the history and limits of seeking LGBT social change goals through the courts.

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  • Cain, Patricia A. Rainbow Rights: The Role of Lawyers and Courts in the Lesbian and Gay Civil Rights Movement. Boulder, CO: Westview, 2000.

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    A history of the key role litigation has played in the LGBT movement with attention to landmark cases and important interest groups.

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  • Comstock, Gary D. Violence against Lesbians and Gay Men. New York: Columbia University Press, 1991.

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    The authors employs a sociological approach. This was the first book to highlight that part of the backlash against the LGBT rights movement was an increase in violence against LGBT people. The author uses a systematic approach to document the extent of violence against the community, types of violence, and location, and he compares anti-LGBT violence to other types of crime.

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  • Cruikshank, Margaret. The Gay and Lesbian Liberation Movement. New York: Routledge, 1992.

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    From an activist perspective, Cruikshank explains the history of the LGBT movement and key concepts such as heterosexism, heterocentrism, and compulsory heterosexuality.

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  • D’Emilio, John. Sexual Politics, Sexual Communities: The Making of a Homosexual Minority in the United States, 1940–1970. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1983.

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    This pioneering analysis traces the seeds of the contemporary LGBT community to the national mobilization for World War II, which enabled many LGBT people to relocate from their hometowns and create small communities in the nation’s largest cities. The book traces the development of these communities through the postwar period up to the Stonewall era.

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  • D’Emilio, John. Making Trouble: Essays on Gay History, Politics, and the University. New York: Routledge, 1992.

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    D’Emilio’s collection of his own essays on the rise of a gay movement. Although theoretically driven, the work is largely descriptive in nature.

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  • Duberman, Martin. Stonewall. New York: Dutton, 1993.

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    Published as the twenty-fifth anniversary of Stonewall approached by an important participant in LGBT politics in New York City in the early 1970s, this history traces several key figures in the years leading up to and surrounding the Stonewall riots, which sparked the modern mass movement for LGBT rights.

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  • Johnson, David K. The Lavender Scare: The Cold War Persecution of Gays and Lesbians in the Federal Government. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2009.

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    A comprehensive perspective on the less-publicized component of the McCarthy Red Scare era in which gay and lesbian federal employees were targeted from those within and outside of government.

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  • Murray, Stephen O. American Gay. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996.

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    Examination of historical development of homosexuality in North America with attention to the development and repression of gay communities, the definition of homosexual roles, and differences in homosexual identity across gender, race, and ethnicity.

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  • Smith, Miriam Catherine. Political Institutions and Lesbian and Gay Rights in the United States and Canada. New York: Routledge, 2008.

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    The author uses an institutional development approach to understand why LGBT rights have expanded more widely and rapidly in Canada than in the United States.

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HIV/AIDS and LGBT Politics

With the emergence of the AIDS epidemic in 1981 a new wave of anti-LGBT discrimination began, including the lack of government funding for research and treatment and threats of quarantine (Bayer 1989, Colby and Baker 1988). Highlights of this vast literature include narrative histories (Kayal 1993, Shilts 1988), direct action politics (Epstein 1996), policy response and bureaucratic failure (Benjamin and Lee 1988, Panem 1988, Perrow and Guillen 1990), and elite and public attitudes (Buchanan and Ohsfeldt 1993; Seltzer 1993; Sniderman, et al. 1991; Stipp and Kerr 1989). The works here primarily focus on those that employ social science theory and/or connect directly to broader literature on LGBT politics.

  • Bayer, Ronald. Private Acts, Social Consequences: AIDS and the Politics of Public Health. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1989.

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    Bayer covers six major policy areas: bathhouse closure, blood supply screening, compulsory testing, quarantine, and prevention education. The volume provides a compelling explanation as to why the more coercive public health measures promoted early in the epidemic failed to materialize.

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  • Benjamin, A. E., and Philip R. Lee. “Public Policy, Federalism, and AIDS.” Death Studies 12.5–6 (1988): 573–595.

    DOI: 10.1080/07481188808252271Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    An early examination of the limits of the Reagan devolution of power from the federal government in the context of the AIDS crisis of the 1980s.

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  • Buchanan, Robert J., and Robert L. Ohsfeldt. “The Attitudes of State Legislators and State Medicaid Policies Related to AIDS.” Policy Studies Journal 21.4 (1993): 651–671.

    DOI: 10.1111/j.1541-0072.1993.tb02164.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Employs surveys of state legislators to assess legislator and state support for funding AIDS-related health care. The authors find that legislator political ideology, party affiliation, and sex are the strongest predictors of attitudes about AIDS-related Medicaid policies. AIDS-related state policies are explained with reference to AIDS prevalence, constituency characteristics, and legislator attitudes.

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  • Colby, David C., and David G. Baker. “State Policy Responses to the AIDS Epidemic.” Publius 18.3 (1988): 113–130.

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    An early assessment of the political and economic factors explaining state financial commitment to the AIDS epidemic. The authors find that AIDS-related state policy is driven by the incidence of AIDS, with AIDS expenditures higher in states with weak political conservative power and low party competition.

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  • Epstein, Stephen. Impure Science: AIDS, Activism and the Politics of Knowledge. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1996.

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    An analysis of how “knowledge” is constructed by researchers, activists, and policymakers, focusing on ACT UP activism and on early controversies over whether HIV causes AIDS.

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  • Kayal, Philip M. Bearing Witness. Boulder, CO: Westview, 1993.

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    A study of the political sociology of the Gay Men’s Health Crisis organization in New York City and the political and bureaucratic battle faced by its volunteers and clients.

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  • Panem, Sandra. The AIDS Bureaucracy. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1988.

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    A critical evaluation of the political and policy response to the AIDS epidemic as a public health crisis in the United States that details the role of the public health bureaucracy.

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  • Perrow, Charles, and Mauro F. Guillen. The AIDS Disaster: The Failure of Organizations in New York and the Nation. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1990.

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    Based on interviews with central actors, the authors detail the failures and successes of political and social responses to the epidemic with a focus on New York City and the national government.

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  • Seltzer, Richard. “AIDS, Homosexuality, Public Opinion, and Changing Correlates over Time.” Journal of Homosexuality 26.1 (1993): 85–97.

    DOI: 10.1300/J082v26n01_07Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Seltzer analyzes changing attitudes on AIDS in the mid-1980s when fear and anxiety had peaked and then began to decline.

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  • Shilts, Randy. And the Band Played On: Politics, People, and the AIDS Epidemic. New York: St. Martin’s, 1988.

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    A landmark work both for its own content and for its impact. Focuses on gay communities in large cities, national policymakers, and health authorities at the Centers for Disease Control and other major agencies. Sometimes criticized as inaccurate and incomplete, the work remains the single most important early account of AIDS politics.

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  • Sniderman, Paul M., Barbara Kaye Wolfinger, Diana C. Mutz, and James E. Wiley. “Values under Pressure: AIDS and Civil Liberties.” In Reasoning and Choice: Explorations in Political Psychology. Edited by Paul M. Sniderman, Richard A. Brody, and Philip E. Tetlock, 31–57. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1991.

    DOI: 10.1017/CBO9780511720468.004Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Emblematic analysis of research on AIDS and public opinion. Especially the troubling manner in which fear of the disease by Americans led to support for severe measures such as quarantine.

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  • Stipp, Horst, and Dennis Kerr. “Determinants of Public Opinion about AIDS.” Public Opinion Quarterly 53.1 (1989): 98–106.

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    Although limited in scope, the article focuses on how attitudes about homosexuality were intermixed with attitudes on AIDS and how the media played a role in combining the two.

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Social Movement

Research on the LGBT movement is often difficult to distinguish from historical analysis of the movement or general overviews (see, for example, Armstrong and Crage 2006, Teal 1971, Vaid 1995). The references here focus on the books and articles that employ theories of social movements and group identity to explain change over time (Rimmerman 2014), (issue) framing (Bernstein 1997), political mobilization (Bernstein 2003, Jenness 1995), and policy success and failure (Mucciaroni 2008). Also included is Bull and Gallagher 1996, which offers compelling coverage of LGBT mobilization to counter anti-gay mobilization in the 1990s.

  • Armstrong, Elizabeth A., and Suzanna M. Crage. “Movements and Memory: The Making of the Stonewall Myth.” American Sociological Review 71.5 (2006): 724–751.

    DOI: 10.1177/000312240607100502Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The authors use a comparative-historical analysis to explain why the Stonewall Inn riots became mythologized as the birth of the LGBT movement while four other similar events largely did not attain such status.

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  • Bernstein, Mary. “Celebration and Suppression: The Strategic Uses of Identity by the Lesbian and Gay Movement.” American Journal of Sociology 103.3 (1997): 531–565.

    DOI: 10.1086/231250Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Bernstein compares the strategic use of identity for collective action across four LGBT campaigns to understand how LGBT groups make use of sameness and difference for effective political mobilization.

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  • Bernstein, Mary. “Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained? Conceptualizing Social Movement ‘Success’ In the Lesbian and Gay Movement.” Sociological Perspectives 46.3 (2003): 353–379.

    DOI: 10.1525/sop.2003.46.3.353Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Bernstein examines LGBT movement goal framing in the context of decriminalizing sodomy campaigns during two distinct time periods. Argues that movement perceptions of political opportunities structure strategic choices that shapes the goals which are achieved.

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  • Bull, Chris, and John Gallagher. Perfect Enemies: The Religious Right, the Gay Movement, and the Politics of the 1990s. New York: Crown, 1996.

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    Journalists for the Advocate cover major anti-gay movements in the mid-1990s, including the Colorado Amendment 2 controversy, the early Clinton administration’s “gays-in-the-military debacle,” the debate over same-sex marriage, and other issues. It demonstrates how religious right and LGBT organizations demonized each other to help raise funds and mobilize supporters.

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  • Jenness, Valerie. “Social Movement Growth, Domain Expansion, and Framing Processes: The Gay/Lesbian Movement and Violence against Gays and Lesbians as a Social Problem.” Social Problems 42.1 (1995): 145–170.

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    An analysis of LGBT social movement framing and mobilization around the bias that motivated violence against gays and lesbians.

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  • Mucciaroni, Gary. Same Sex, Different Politics. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2008.

    DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226544106.001.0001Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The author examines the successes and failures of the LGBT movement based on the nature of the policy goals pursued, public attitudes, and the institutional venue in which the struggle takes place.

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  • Rimmerman, Craig A. The Lesbian and Gay Movements: Assimilation or Liberation? 2d ed. Boulder, CO: Westview, 2014.

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    Examination of the collective action frames of liberation versus assimilation within the LGBT movement from the 1970s onward. Argues for blending the two frames for a more effective movement.

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  • Teal, Donn. The Gay Militants: How Gay Liberation Began in America, 1969–1971. New York: Stein and Day, 1971.

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    A first draft on the early “gay liberation” period, this work begins with the Stonewall riots of 1969 and works forward through subsequent protests, emerging militant groups, and the launch of the modern LGBT rights movement.

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  • Vaid, Urvashi. Virtual Equality: The Mainstreaming of Gay and Lesbian Liberation. New York: Anchor, 1995.

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    Excellent source book on the history of gay and lesbian politics, the successes of the movement, and the failures of the movement; written by the former president of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.

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Political Office and Political Representation

Research focused on LGBT candidates and political representation is relatively rare, but it is becoming more common. Shilts 1982 provides the first study of a gay candidate and office holder, but this book is as much about the gay community in the 1970s as it is about Harvey Milk. Later works began to detail the campaign experiences of LGBT candidates (DeBold 1994, Golebiowska 2002, Haider-Markel 2010, Yeager 1999) and their ability to substantively represent the LGBT community in the policy process (Haider-Markel 2007; Haider-Markel 2010; Haider-Markel, et al. 2000; Herrick 2009; Reynolds 2013; Smith and Haider-Markel 2002). Additional research has been conducted on support for hypothetical LGB candidates (Doan and Haider-Markel 2010, Golebiowska 2001, Golebiowska 2003).

  • DeBold, Kathleen, ed. Out for Office: Campaigning in the Gay Nineties. Washington, DC: Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund, 1994.

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    The contributors provide case studies of lessons learned from a variety of lesbian and gay public officials, including the first openly gay members of Congress.

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  • Doan, Alesha E., and Donald P. Haider-Markel. “The Role of Intersectional Stereotypes on Evaluations of Political Candidates.” Politics & Gender 6.1 (2010): 63–91.

    DOI: 10.1017/S1743923X09990511Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The authors examine public support for hypothetical lesbian and gay candidates and the willingness to advance stereotypes about gay and lesbian candidates.

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  • Golebiowska, Ewa A. “Group Stereotypes and Political Evaluation.” American Politics Research 29.6 (2001): 535–565.

    DOI: 10.1177/1532673X01029006001Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Golebiowska employs two experimental designs to examine the impact of gender and stereotype inconsistency on support for hypothetical gay and lesbian candidates.

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  • Golebiowska, Ewa A. “Political Implications of Group Stereotypes: Campaign Experiences of Openly Gay Political Candidates.” Journal of Applied Social Psychology 32.3 (2002): 590–607.

    DOI: 10.1111/j.1559-1816.2002.tb00232.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The author makes use of a survey of gay and lesbian candidates to assess the role of sexual orientation and stereotypes on their campaigns for office.

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  • Golebiowska, Ewa A. “When to Tell? Disclosure of Concealable Group Membership, Stereotypes, and Political Evaluation.” Political Behavior 25.4 (2003): 313–337.

    DOI: 10.1023/B:POBE.0000004061.08643.7dSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The author employs two experimental designs to examine the impact the timing of a hypothetical gay candidate’s group membership disclosure and individual support for the candidate.

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  • Haider-Markel, Donald P. “Representation and Backlash: The Positive and Negative Influence of Descriptive Representation.” Legislative Studies Quarterly 32.1 (2007): 107–134.

    DOI: 10.3162/036298007X202001Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Empirical study of the legislative and policy impact of LGBT descriptive representation in state legislatures. Concludes that increased descriptive representation is a net gain for the interests of the LGBT community.

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  • Haider-Markel, Donald P. Out and Running: Gay and Lesbian Candidates, Elections, and Policy Representation. Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press, 2010.

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    Haider-Markel uses mixed methods to examine perceptions of openly gay and lesbian candidates, LGBT candidates for state legislative office, and the impact of LGBT state legislators on LGBT-related legislative consideration and adoption. Concludes that LGBT candidates are strategic in terms of where and how they run for office, making sexual orientation a nonfactor in most races. LGBT legislators are able to substantively represent the LGBT community in terms of legislation and policy.

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  • Haider-Markel, Donald P., Mark R. Joslyn, and Chad J. Kniss. “Minority Group Interests and Political Representation: Gay Elected Officials in the Policy Process.” Journal of Politics 62.2 (2000): 568–577.

    DOI: 10.1111/0022-3816.00026Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The authors analyze the influence of openly lesbian and gay officials on the local adoption of domestic partner policies. The findings suggest the presence of openly lesbian and gay elected officials increases the likelihood that domestic partner policies will be adopted.

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  • Herrick, Rebekah. “The Effects of Sexual Orientation on State Legislators’ Behavior and Priorities.” Journal of Homosexuality 56.8 (2009): 1117–1133.

    DOI: 10.1080/00918360903279361Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Examines whether the sexual orientation of a legislator influences representation of the LGBT community versus other factors. Based on survey data of state legislators and district data, the author concludes that sexual orientation has a distinct influence on substantive representation of the LGBT community.

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  • Herrick, Rebekah. “The Legislative Effectiveness of Gay and Lesbian Legislators.” Journal of Women, Politics & Policy 31.3 (2010): 243–259.

    DOI: 10.1080/1554477X.2010.496690Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Herrick explores whether gay and lesbian legislators or more or less effective than their colleagues. The author concludes that gay men are as effective, but the effectiveness of lesbians is conditioned by additional factors.

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  • Reynolds, Andrew. “Representation and Rights: The Impact of LGBT Legislators in Comparative Perspective.” American Political Science Review 107.2 (2013): 259–274.

    DOI: 10.1017/S0003055413000051Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Focused on democracies around the world, this study examines the influence of openly LGBT legislators on policy and colleagues and does include the United States. Concludes that LGBT descriptive representation increases the substantive representation of the LGBT community through individual actions and by shaping the behavior of colleagues.

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  • Shilts, Randy. The Mayor of Castro Street: The Life and Times of Harvey Milk. New York: St. Martin’s, 1982.

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    An intense and detailed examination of the rise of the most notable LGBT official in the United States in the context of the struggles of the LGBT community during the 1970s.

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  • Smith, Raymond A., and Donald P. Haider-Markel. Gay and Lesbian Americans and Political Participation. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, 2002.

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    Largely descriptive with chapters devoted to LGBT activism within political parties, LGBT candidates, and LGBT officeholders.

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  • Yeager, Ken. Trailblazers: Profiles of America’s Gay and Lesbian Elected Officials. New York: Haworth, 1999.

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    Descriptive biographies focused on the careers and experiences of gay and lesbian politicians.

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National Politics and Policy

A number of works provide broad examinations of LGBT politics through the lens of national politics and policy (Cohan 1982, Rayside 1998) as well as through political parties and interest groups. A number of studies focus on LGBT interest groups by employing specific interest group theoretical frameworks (Haider-Markel 1997, Nownes 2004, Nownes 2010, Nownes and Lipinski 2005, Rimmerman 2002, while others focus on LGBT issues in Congress (Haider-Markel 1999a, Haider-Markel 1999b, Hansen and Treul 2015), the Media (Allen and Haider-Markel 2006; Garretson 2015; Haider-Markel, et al. 2006; Schiappa, et al. 2006 [all cited under Media), the courts and legal considerations (Klarman 2013, Sherrill 1996), and bureaucracy (Taylor 2007).

  • Cohan, A. S. “Obstacles to Equality: Government Responses to the Gay Rights Movement in the United States.” Political Studies 30.1 (1982): 59–76.

    DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9248.1982.tb00519.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Cohan examines the political and institutional hurdles faced by the LGBT rights movement in the United States.

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  • Haider-Markel, Donald P. “Interest Group Survival: Shared Interests versus Competition for Resources.” Journal of Politics 59.3 (1997): 903–912.

    DOI: 10.2307/2998643Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Haider-Markel employs population ecology theory to examine the extent to which LGBT groups must compete for limited resources even though the groups have similar goals. Concludes that groups must compete, but they often reduce competition through issue and task specialization.

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  • Haider-Markel, Donald P. “Morality Policy and Individual-Level Political Behavior: The Case of Legislative Voting on Lesbian and Gay Issues.” Policy Studies Journal 27.4 (1999a): 735–749.

    DOI: 10.1111/j.1541-0072.1999.tb02000.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The author explores the role of morality politics and issue salience in shaping legislative voting behavior in Congress on LGBT issues. Concludes that issue salience conditions the influence of various forces on legislative voting behavior.

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  • Haider-Markel, Donald P. “Redistributing Values in Congress: Interest Group Influence under Sub-optimal Conditions.” Political Research Quarterly 52.1 (1999b): 113–144.

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    This study examines the influence of LGBT groups on individual legislator voting behavior in Congress over multiple congressional sessions. Contrary to the expectations of the literature, LGBT groups are able to influence legislative voting behavior even though they are infrequently successful in determining legislative outcomes.

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  • Hansen, Eric R., and Sarah A. Treul. “The Symbolic and Substantive Representation of LGBT Americans in the US House.” Journal of Politics 77.4 (2015): 955–967.

    DOI: 10.1086/682699Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The authors examine how the presence of LGBT constituents influences the legislative behavior of members of the House of Representatives, accounting for public opinion and additional district characteristics. Conclude that higher LGBT constituencies are associated with increased legislator support of LGBT goals in the legislative process.

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  • Klarman, Michael J. From the Closet to the Altar: Courts, Backlash, and the Struggle for Same-Sex Marriage. New York: Oxford University Press, 2013.

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    A detailed history of the political struggles over same-sex marriage from World War II through the liberation revolution, and its impact on national politics and elections.

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  • Nownes, Anthony J. “The Population Ecology of Interest Group Formation: Mobilizing for Gay and Lesbian Rights in the United States, 1950–98.” British Journal of Political Science 34.1 (2004): 49–67.

    DOI: 10.1017/S0007123403000346Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Nownes uses population ecology theory to explain the rate of organizational birth in the gay and lesbian rights group population.

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  • Nownes, Anthony J. “Density Dependent Dynamics in the Population of Transgender Interest Groups in the United States 1964–2005.” Social Science Quarterly 91.3 (2010): 689–703.

    DOI: 10.1111/j.1540-6237.2010.00714.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Nownes makes use of the density dependence component of the organizational ecology framework to explain the establishment timing of transgender interest group in the United States. The results support the density dependence perspective.

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  • Nownes, Anthony J., and Daniel Lipinski. “The Population Ecology of Interest Group Death: Gay and Lesbian Rights Interest Groups in the United States, 1945–98.” British Journal of Political Science 35.2 (2005): 303–319.

    DOI: 10.1017/S0007123405000165Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The authors use population ecology theory to explain the rate of organizational death in the gay and lesbian rights group population.

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  • Rayside, David Morton. On the Fringe: Gays and Lesbians in Politics. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1998.

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    A comparative analysis of gay politics in the United States, Canada, and England, with great detail and case studies of policies, interest groups, and LGBT elected officials in each country.

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  • Rimmerman, Craig A. From Identity to Politics: The Lesbian and Gay Movements in the United States. Philadelphia, PA: Temple University Press, 2002.

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    Explores the diversity of political styles, groups, tactics, and strategies that have composed what constitutes the American LGBT movement. Rimmerman argues that the diversity within the movement(s) is what make it an American movement and allow it to be a successful force for political change.

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  • Sherrill, Kenneth S. “The Political Power of Lesbians, Gays, and Bisexuals.” PS: Political Science and Politics 29.3 (1996): 469–473.

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    Identifies the five key reasons why LGBT people should be regarded, in the words of the author, as politically “powerless”: (1) the relatively small number of LGBT people, (2) societal hostility, (3) the lack of personal safety, (4) the relatively weak job security, and (5) problems with creating cohesion.

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  • Taylor, Jami. “Transgender Identities and Public Policy in the United States: The Relevance for Public Administration.” Administration & Society 39.7 (2007): 833–856.

    DOI: 10.1177/0095399707305548Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Overview for public administrators on how transgender identity issues interact with a variety of laws and the legal status of individuals that create distinct situations for administrators to resolve.

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Media

An emerging but relatively recent literature in the social sciences deals with LGBT people in the media and national political debate over LGBT issues. Some of this work examines the influence of exposure to fictional LGBT characters on attitudes (Garretson 2015; Schiappa, et al. 2006) while other works examine media coverage of LGBT issues see (Allen and Haider-Markel 2006; Gray 2009; Haider-Markel, et al. 2006; Steele 1997).

  • Allen, Mahalley D., and Donald P. Haider-Markel. “Connecting Supreme Court Decisions, Media Coverage, and Public Opinion: The Case of Lawrence v. Texas.” American Review of Politics 27 (Fall 2006): 209–230.

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    Analysis of attitudes on LGBT rights and media attention in the repeal of sodomy laws in Lawrence v. Texas. Findings suggest that shifting attitudes on LGBT rights and media coverage are related, and media coverage of a dissenting opinion in Lawrence may have contributed to a decline in public support of LGBT rights following the decision.

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  • Garretson, Jeremiah J. “Exposure to the Lives of Lesbians and Gays and the Origin of Young People’s Greater Support for Gay Rights.” International Journal of Public Opinion Research 27.2 (2015): 277–288.

    DOI: 10.1093/ijpor/edu026Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Garretson makes use of a natural experiment and national survey data to examine if exposure to fictional gay and lesbian television characters resulted in a dramatic increase in young people’s support for LGBT rights. The evidence suggests that young people with greater exposure to gay fictional characters where significantly more likely have higher support for gay civil rights.

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  • Gray, Mary L. “‘Queer Nation Is Dead/Long Live Queer Nation’: The Politics and Poetics of Social Movement and Media Representation.” Critical Studies in Media Communication 26.3 (2009): 212–236.

    DOI: 10.1080/15295030903015062Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Gray explores the self-representation of Queer Nation/San Francisco and the group’s subsequent coverage in the news media.

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  • Haider-Markel, Donald P., Mahalley D. Allen, and Morgen Johansen. “Understanding Variations in Media Coverage of U.S. Supreme Court Decisions: Comparing Media Outlets in Their Coverage of Lawrence v. Texas.” Harvard International Journal of Press/Politics 11.2 (2006): 64–85.

    DOI: 10.1177/1081180X05286065Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The authors examine local and national media coverage of the Supreme Court decision in Lawrence v. Texas. They conclude that the local relevance of sodomy laws shaped local coverage and the tone of coverage, along with media outlet size and the broader local political context.

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  • Schiappa, Edward, Peter B. Gregg, and Dean E. Hewes. “Can One TV Show Make a Difference? Will & Grace and the Parasocial Contact Hypothesis.” Journal of Homosexuality 51.4 (2006): 15–37.

    DOI: 10.1300/J082v51n04_02Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Examines the notion of parasocial contact to assess whether greater exposure to gay characters on a sitcom decreases sexual prejudice. Based on experimental evidence the authors conclude that exposure decreases prejudice and the effect is greatest for those with the least real-world contact with gays and lesbians.

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  • Steele, Janet E. “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, Don’t Explain: Unofficial Sources and Television Coverage of the Dispute over Gays in the Military.” Political Communication 14.1 (1997): 83–96.

    DOI: 10.1080/105846097199551Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The author explores media coverage of the debate over gays in the military as President Clinton sought to end the ban on service in 1993 and 1994. The author concludes that the media coverage tended to favor those who opposed an absolute end to the ban.

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LGBT Identity, Attitudes, and Political Behavior

Research on LGBT identity, attitudes, and political behavior has been somewhat limited given the difficulty of identifying random samples from an uncertain population size. Additionally, because most samples from the adult population reveal less than 4 percent who self-identify as LGBT, generating an LGBT sample large enough for reliable analysis is expensive and time consuming. Although many studies demonstrate that the LGBT community is politically tolerant (Gibson 1987), politically cohesive in broad strokes as left-leaning, tending to vote for Democrats (Bailey 1999; Bailey 2000; Smith and Haider-Markel 2002; Hertzog 1996; Lewis, et al. 2011), and more willing to engage in non-mainstream political action (Jennings and Anderson 1996; Rollins and Hirsch 2003), some studies examine more conservative elements of the movement (Cimino 2007), material-goal seeking (Schaffner and Senic 2006), and those who have tended to be, or who are still excluded, such as transgender activists (Murib 2015). Additional research examines the interplay between the willingness to identify as LGBT and cohesive political beliefs within the movement (Egan 2012).

  • Bailey, Robert W. Gay Politics, Urban Politics. New York: Columbia University Press, 1999.

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    Bailey argues that the gay movement has been most influential in the country’s largest cities, due chiefly to the emergence of clearly identifiable LGBT communities, institutions, and voting constituencies. Findings include corroboration that self-identified LGBT voters tend to be younger, better educated, considerably left of center on social issues, registered Democrats, and white.

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  • Bailey, Robert W. Out and Voting II: The Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Vote in Congressional Elections, 1990–1998. Washington, DC: Policy Institute of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, 2000.

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    A rigorous analysis of the LGBT vote in congressional elections, this publication establishes that the LGBT vote can have an important impact, particularly in urban congressional districts; that LGBT voters are an important part of the base of the Democratic Party; and that steadily increasing numbers of voters are self-identifying as LGBT.

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  • Cimino, Kenneth W. Gay Conservatives: Group Consciousness and Assimilation. New York: Harrington Park, 2007.

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    A unique examination of the 25–35 percent of LGBT Americans who identify as conservative and often Republican in the context of theories of group identity and cohesion. This subgroup faces significant hurdles in political mobilization, but it has played important roles in policymaking and in particular elections.

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  • Egan, Patrick J. “Group Cohesion without Group Mobilization: The Case of Lesbians, Gays, and Bisexuals.” British Journal of Political Science 42.3 (2012): 597–616.

    DOI: 10.1017/S0007123411000500Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Turning theories of political identity a bit upside down, Egan in this study posits that those who identify as LGBT have, in a sense, selected into the group based on existing political attitudes, rather than the group creating cohesion in attitudes among its members. Egan employs individual-level data from a variety of sources to demonstrate this particular identity adoption.

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  • Gibson, James L. “Homosexuals and the Ku Klux Klan: A Contextual Analysis of Political Tolerance.” Western Political Quarterly 40.3 (1987): 427–448.

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    Gibson surveys gay activists in Houston to examine tolerance for a Ku Klux Klan demonstration. He found a high level of tolerance for the Klan, even though greatly disliked, and support for the right of Klan members to demonstrate. Suggests that oppressed groups might not be as willing to oppress others when given the chance.

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  • Hertzog, Mark. The Lavender Vote: Lesbians, Gay Men, and Bisexuals in American Electoral Politics. New York: New York University Press, 1996.

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    The most visible “first of its kind” book to examine whether evidence exists of a “lavender vote,” or consistencies in the electoral behavior of LGBT people. Hertzog finds that LGBTs are strongly liberal on domestic social issues and more mobilized in elections in which sexual orientation issues figure prominently.

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  • Jennings, M. Kent, and Ellen Ann Anderson. “Support for Confrontational Tactics among AIDS Activists: A Study of Intra-movement Divisions.” American Journal of Political Science 40.2 (1996): 311–334.

    DOI: 10.2307/2111626Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The authors examine support for direct action, such as political protest. The study makes use of surveys of gays and straights who attended an AIDS quilt memorial. The findings suggest that a respondent’s sexual orientation influenced his/her support for disruptive political behavior.

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  • Lewis, Gregory B., Marc A. Rogers, and Kenneth Sherrill. “Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Voters in the 2000 U.S. Presidential Election.” Politics & Policy 39.5 (2011): 655–677.

    DOI: 10.1111/j.1747-1346.2011.00315.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    In an analysis based on data from LGBT voters in the 2000 election, the authors suggest that LGBT adults made choices based on candidate positions on LGBT rights, individual policy liberalism, and self-party identification.

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  • Murib, Zein. “Transgender: Examining an Emerging Political Identity Using Three Political Processes.” Politics, Groups, and Identities 3.3 (2015): 381–397.

    DOI: 10.1080/21565503.2015.1048257Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The author uses discourse analysis of transgender activists and interest groups to examine how a cohesive transgender identity was created in the 1990s and how this categorization still serves to exclude some in the movement today.

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  • Rollins, Joe, and Harry N. Hirsch. “Sexual Identities and Political Engagements: A Queer Survey.” Social Politics 10.3 (2003): 290–313.

    DOI: 10.1093/sp/jxg017Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Making use of a mail survey the authors investigate whether self-identifying as queer is associated with support for more radical LGBT politics. The findings indicate queer identification is associated with both radical and mainstream goals of the LGBT movement.

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  • Schaffner, Brian, and Nenad Senic. “Rights or Benefits? Explaining the Sexual Identity Gap in American Political Behavior.” Political Research Quarterly 59.1 (2006): 123–132.

    DOI: 10.1177/106591290605900111Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The authors address the tendency of LGBT voters to support Democratic Party candidates and investigate whether this voter support is based on the party’s support for seeking partner benefits or the party’s support for same-sex marriage. The finding indicate that LGBT voters support Democrats because of the desire for partner benefits, like health care, rather than the goal of same-sex marriage.

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  • Smith, Raymond A., and Donald P. Haider-Markel. Gay and Lesbian Americans and Political Participation. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, 2002.

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    A largely descriptive volume with chapters devoted to LGBT activism within political parties, LGBT candidates, and LGBT officeholders.

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State and Local Politics and Policymaking

Most of the struggle over LGBT rights has taken place at the subnational level so it is not surprising that a large body of research is available on LGBT politics and policy in local and state politics and policymaking. Several studies are focused on the adoption of sexual orientation and/or gender identity antidiscrimination laws at the local level (Button, et al. 1997; Haeberle 1996; Wald, et al. 1996) and the state level (Haider-Markel and Meier 1996; Taylor, et al. 2012), as well as state adoption of a variety of other LGBT-related policies, including hate crime laws (Haider-Markel 1998, Jenness and Grattet 1996), same-sex marriage bans (Haider-Markel 2001), and the repeal of anti-sodomy laws (Kane 2003, Nice 1988). One pioneering study, Lax and Phillips 2009, explores state government responsiveness to public opinion on a variety of LGBT issues. Another body of research has examined LGBT-related ballot measures in direct democracy contests (Donovan and Bowler 1998; Gamble 1997; Haider-Markel, et al. 2007; Stone 2012; Lewis 2013 [all cited under Direct Democracy]; Lewis 2011 [cited under Attitudes toward Homosexuality and LGBT Rights]; Haider-Markel 1999). Very little research examines the implementation of state and local LGBT policies, but studies on hate crime law implementation are available (see Haider-Markel 2006).

  • Button, James W., Barbara A. Rienzo, and Kenneth D. Wald. Private Lives, Public Conflicts: Battles over Gay Rights in American Communities. Washington, DC: CQ Press, 1997.

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    The first systematic book-length treatment of gay politics at the local level with a key focus on how and why localities and school districts adopt antidiscrimination policies. The findings suggest that antidiscrimination policies tend to be adopted by localities with a favorable political opportunity structure, predominately in large cities and college towns.

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  • Haeberle, Steven H. “Gay Men and Lesbians at City Hall.” Social Science Quarterly 77.1 (1996): 190–197.

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    Examination of the city-level factors associated with the adoption of local ordinances prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation. The findings suggest that education levels, population density, and nonfamily households are the strongest predictors of adopting antidiscrimination policies.

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  • Haider-Markel, Donald P. “The Politics of Social Regulatory Policy: State and Federal Hate Crime Policy and Implementation Effort.” Political Research Quarterly 51.1 (1998): 69–88.

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    A cross-sectional analysis of state adoption of hate crime laws based on the scope of laws and groups covered, as well as the extent to which the laws are implemented. The findings indicate that the adoption and implementation of hate crime laws is largely influenced by the strength of supporting interest groups and party competition.

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  • Haider-Markel, Donald P. “AIDS and Gay Civil Rights: Politics and Policy at the Ballot Box.” American Review of Politics 20 (Winter 1999): 349–375.

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    The author employs county-level analyses of voting on AIDS and gay rights measures to compare the extent to which voting on AIDS measures follows the morality politics pattern of voting on gay rights measures. He concludes that there is little difference between voting on AIDS versus gay rights measures.

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  • Haider-Markel, Donald P. “Policy Diffusion as a Geographical Expansion of the Scope of Political Conflict: Same-Sex Marriage Bans in the 1990s.” State Politics and Policy Quarterly 1.1 (2001): 5–26.

    DOI: 10.1177/153244000100100102Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The author examines the dramatic diffusion of state statutory same-sex marriage bans in the 1990s as an example of conflict expansion following court action on same-sex marriage in Hawaii. He concludes that the adoption of these laws was driven by national anti-gay groups as well as internal political conditions of states.

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  • Haider-Markel, Donald P. “Acting as Fire Alarms with Law Enforcement? Interest Groups and Bureaucratic Activity on Hate Crime.” American Politics Research 34.1 (2006): 95–130.

    DOI: 10.1177/1532673X05275630Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    He author focuses on gay and lesbian interest group efforts to ensure effective implementation of hate crime laws. He finds that groups are constrained by resources and the characteristics of the community.

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  • Haider-Markel, Donald P., and Kenneth J. Meier. “The Politics of Gay and Lesbian Rights: Expanding the Scope of the Conflict.” Journal of Politics 58.2 (1996): 332–349.

    DOI: 10.2307/2960229Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A test of two contrasting perspectives of the politics surrounding gay rights in the states—a morality politics perspective versus an interest group politics perspective. The findings indicate that the interest group perspective best explains the pattern of politics when gay rights are decided in legislatures, while the morality politics perspective best describes the pattern of politics when the scope of conflict is expanded and gay rights are decided in ballot initiative elections.

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  • Jenness, Valerie, and Ryken Grattet. “The Criminalization of Hate: A Comparison of Structural and Polity Influences on the Passage of ‘Bias-Crime’ Legislation in the United States.” Sociological Perspectives 39 (1996): 129–155.

    DOI: 10.2307/1389346Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Systematic examination of the adoption of hate crime laws in the American states employing structural and political explanations. The findings suggest that structural and political explanations offer an incomplete picture of why some states adopt hate crime laws while others do not.

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  • Kane, Melinda D. “Social Movement Policy Success: Decriminalizing State Sodomy Laws, 1969–1998.” Mobilization 8.3 (2003): 313–334.

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    Kane employs political opportunity structure and resource mobilization theory to explain state decriminalization of sodomy from 1969 to 1998.

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  • Lax, Jeffrey R., and Justin H. Phillips. “Gay Rights in the States: Public Opinion and Policy Responsiveness.” American Political Science Review 103.3 (2009): 367–386.

    DOI: 10.1017/S0003055409990050Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Innovative study examining the influence of public opinion on the adoption of a variety of LGBT-friendly laws in the states, including adoption rights, hate crime, partner benefits, antidiscrimination laws, same-sex marriage, anti-sodomy laws, and civil unions. The analyses suggest that state policymakers are not very responsive to public opinion, and this is not simply a function of institutional structures.

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  • Nice, David C. “State Deregulation of Intimate Behavior.” Social Science Quarterly 69 (1988): 203–211.

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    The first systematic examination of the factors facilitating the state repeal of anti-sodomy laws. States that fully revised their penal codes in the 1960s and 1970s were most likely to repeal their sodomy laws.

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  • Taylor, Jami K., Daniel C. Lewis, Matthew L. Jacobsmeier, and Brian DiSarro. “Content and Complexity in Policy Reinvention and Diffusion: Gay and Transgender-Inclusive Laws against Discrimination.” State Politics & Policy Quarterly 12.1 (2012): 92–115.

    DOI: 10.1177/1532440011433589Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The authors use multiple event analysis to examine the adoption of LGBT protections in the states and conclude that the content and scope of laws shapes the political factors relevant for the likelihood of adoption.

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  • Wald, Kenneth D., James W. Button, and Barbara A. Rienzo. “The Politics of Gay Rights in American Communities: Explaining Antidiscrimination Ordinances and Policies.” American Journal of Political Science 40.4 (1996): 1152–1178.

    DOI: 10.2307/2111746Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The authors employ elements of a variety of theories from urban politics and social movements to examine local adoption of sexual orientation antidiscrimination protections. The study is based on a population of all localities with ordinances compared to a sample of similar localities without ordinances. The results support an urban political opportunity perspective as well as a social movement mobilization perspective.

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Direct Democracy

Until the early 1990s many of the public debates over LGBT rights revolved around attempts to repeal or prevent the enactment of LGBT civil rights laws at the local and state levels (see Stone 2012). This led to many defeats for the LGBT movement and a means by which scholars could explore the impact of a majoritarian institution on minority rights (Donovan and Bowler 1998; Gamble 1997; Haider-Markel, et al. 2007; Lewis 2013) and the psychological effects of these campaigns on the LGBT community (Russell 2000).

  • Donovan, Todd, and Shaun Bowler. “Direct Democracy and Minority Rights: An Extension.” American Journal of Political Science 42.3 (1998): 1020–1024.

    DOI: 10.2307/2991742Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This study challenges the notion of the tyranny of the majority and tests the hypothesis that larger political jurisdictions are less likely to infringe on the rights of minorities in LGBT-related direct democracy contests. The analysis supports their hypothesis, but it is later challenged by others.

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  • Gamble, Barbara S. “Putting Civil Rights to a Popular Vote.” American Journal of Political Science 41.1 (1997): 245–269.

    DOI: 10.2307/2111715Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Gamble demonstrates the tyranny of the majority in direct democracy contests in the United States involving minority rights (including gay issues and AIDS). This was the first study to systematically show the disadvantage of gays and lesbians at the ballot box.

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  • Haider-Markel, Donald P., Alana Querze, and Kara Lindaman. “Lose, Win, or Draw? A Reexamination of Direct Democracy and Minority Rights.” Political Research Quarterly 60.2 (2007): 304–314.

    DOI: 10.1177/1065912907301984Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The authors revisit the debate over the tyranny of the majority in LGBT-related direct democracy contests and systematically demonstrate that the LGBT community overwhelmingly loses when its rights are decided at the ballot box. In addition, the odds of losing are greater in direct democracy compared to the legislative process and fighting ballot measures redirects resources and energy from the priorities of the movement.

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  • Lewis, Daniel C. Direct Democracy and Minority Rights: A Critical Assessment of the Tyranny of the Majority in the American States. New York: Routledge, 2013.

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    Partly based on research published in two 2011 articles, Lewis expands the investigation of how minority rights fare in direct democracy versus other venues. LGBT-related ballot measures are one of several cases examined, and they are consistently shown to be one of the most severe cases of the tyranny of the majority.

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  • Russell, Glenda M. Voted Out: The Psychological Consequences of Anti-gay Politics. New York: New York University Press, 2000.

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    Russell examines the Colorado campaign to adopt Amendment 2, which embedded a ban on antidiscrimination laws for sexual orientation in the state constitution, and the psychological consequences for the LGBT community. The author combines qualitative and quantitative approaches and makes recommendations for communities facing similar campaigns.

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  • Stone, Amy L. Gay Rights at the Ballot Box. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2012.

    DOI: 10.5749/minnesota/9780816675470.001.0001Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    From a mostly sociological perspective. Stone employs archival research and interviews with activists to examine the details of direct democracy campaigns on LGBT issues from the infamous 1977 Anita Bryant campaign in Florida to 2009. Perhaps most importantly the book highlights what these battles have cost the LGBT movement but also what these struggles have meant to the movement in terms of longer-term mobilization.

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Public Opinion and Political Behavior among Non-LGBT Americans

Research on public opinion and behavior toward LGBT people and issues has been one of the richest areas of ongoing research in the field. Attitudes about issues of homosexuality, homosexuals and tolerance, and LGBT rights, including civil unions and same-sex marriage, have been examined from nearly every angle imaginable. One of the most interesting aspects of public opinion in this area has been not only the public response to government decisions and policy, but also the rate of change in public attitudes over a fairly short period of time. Gaps in this portion of the literature surround our understanding of contact with LGBT people and the influence of that contact on attitudes, and in knowledge about attitudes, toward transgender people and transgender rights.

Attitudes toward Homosexuality and LGBT Rights

Much research has been devoted to basic questions concerning attitudes about homosexuals (Hill, et al. 2004; Lewis 2003), homosexuality (Anderson and Fetner 2008, Gibson and Tedin 1988, Greenberg and Bystryn 1982 [all cited under Political Tolerance], Herek 1988, Herek and Capitanio 1995), and LGBT rights (Craig, et al. 2005; Haider-Markel and Joslyn 2008; Lewis 2009), with much of the attention on determining who is more likely to support LGBT rights. In this sampling an attempt is made to note work that distinguishes between gay men and lesbians, and a notable lack of work is evident on bisexuals and transgender people (but see Flores 2015).

  • Becker, Amy B., and D. A. Scheufele. “New Voters, New Outlook? Predispositions, Social Networks, and the Changing Politics of Gay Civil Rights.” Social Science Quarterly 92.2 (2011): 324–345.

    DOI: 10.1111/j.1540-6237.2011.00771.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The authors examine acceptance of same-sex marriage and homosexuality across age cohorts. The results indicate that contact with gay people has a stronger influence on the attitudes of younger people while predispositions shape the attitudes of older adults.

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  • Craig, Stephen C., Michael D. Martinez, James G. Kane, and Jason Gainous. “Core Values, Value Conflict, and Citizens’ Ambivalence about Gay Rights.” Political Research Quarterly 58.1 (2005): 5–17.

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    The authors examine attitude ambivalence on gay rights issues and find evidence of attitude ambivalence that varies by the specific issue in question. They also find that higher ambivalence on gay issues can shape attitudes about politicians and political institutions.

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  • Flores, Andrew. “Attitudes toward Transgender Rights: Perceived Knowledge and Secondary Interpersonal Contact.” Politics, Groups, and Identities 3.3 (2015): 398–416.

    DOI: 10.1080/21565503.2015.1050414Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Flores explores support for transgender rights in the context of contact with gays and lesbians and support for gay and lesbian rights. The findings indicate that contact with gay people and higher support for gay rights increases support for transgender rights. Individual demographics that are associated with support for LGBT rights are also found to be associated with support for transgender rights.

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  • Haider-Markel, Donald P., and Mark Joslyn. “Understanding Beliefs about the Origins of Homosexuality and Subsequent Support for Gay Rights: An Empirical Test of Attribution Theory.” Public Opinion Quarterly 72.2 (2008): 291–310.

    DOI: 10.1093/poq/nfn015Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The authors use attribution theory to examine the correlates of believing that homosexuality is innate and how such a belief shapes attitudes toward homosexuals, support for gay civil rights, and support for same-sex marriage. The results indicate a strong ideological disposition exists toward an innate attribution and that attributions are the most powerful predictor of attitudes toward gay people and LGBT rights.

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  • Herek, Gregory M. “Heterosexuals’ Attitudes toward Lesbians and Gay Men: Correlates and Gender Differences.” Journal of Sex Research 25.4 (1988): 451–477.

    DOI: 10.1080/00224498809551476Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The author develops and validates a scale called the Attitudes toward Lesbians and Gay Men. The primary focus is to explore gender differences among attitudes of heterosexuals toward LGBT people. The findings suggest strongly that heterosexual men have the most negative attitudes, especially toward gay men.

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  • Herek, Gregory M. “Gender Gaps in Public Opinion about Lesbians and Gay Men.” Public Opinion Quarterly 66.1 (2002): 40–66.

    DOI: 10.1086/338409Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Herek examines attitudes of heterosexuals toward LGBT people and issues. He finds that heterosexual women have more positive attitudes toward lesbians and gays and are more supportive of LGBT rights. The more negative attitudes and stereotypes among heterosexual men are most prevalent on questions regarding gay men.

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  • Herek, Gregory M., and John P. Capitanio. “Black Heterosexuals’ Attitudes toward Lesbians and Gay Men in the United States.” Journal of Sex Research 32.2 (1995): 95–105.

    DOI: 10.1080/00224499509551780Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Employing data based on surveys with samples of African Americans, the authors examine the notion that blacks have more negative attitudes toward gays and lesbians. They conclude that blacks do not have more negative attitudes than do whites, but black men do have more negative attitudes than do black women. Attributions about homosexuality and contact with gays and lesbians mediate these effects.

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  • Hill, Terrence D., Benjamin E. Moulton, and Amy M. Burdette. “Conservative Protestantism and Attitudes toward Homosexuality: Does Political Orientation Mediate This Relationship?” Sociological Focus 37.1 (2004): 59–70.

    DOI: 10.1080/00380237.2004.10571234Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The authors examine the influence of adherence to conservative Protestantism and attitudes toward homosexuality. They finds that conservative Protestants tend to be more politically conservative and once this is accounted for the attitudes of conservative Protestants do not differ significantly from those of mainstream Protestants.

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  • Lewis, Gregory B. “Black-White Differences in Attitudes toward Homosexuality and Gay Rights.” Public Opinion Quarterly 67.1 (2003): 59–78.

    DOI: 10.1086/346009Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Lewis explores differences in attitudes of blacks and whites toward homosexuality employing data from dozens of surveys conducted since 1973. The findings indicate some differences in attitudes among blacks and whites, but that the roots of attitudes of blacks and whites toward homosexuality and gay civil rights differ.

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  • Lewis, Gregory B. “Does Believing Homosexuality Is Innate Increase Support for Gay Rights?” Policy Studies Journal 37.4 (2009): 669–693.

    DOI: 10.1111/j.1541-0072.2009.00330.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Lewis investigates the belief that homosexuality has a biological bias and cannot be changed using data from dozens of surveys over time. He concludes that the attribution of a biological basis for homosexuality has been growing over time for all groups and may be the result of changing beliefs to fit political and religious preferences rather than attributions shaping support for gay rights.

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  • Lewis, Gregory B. “The Friends and Family Plan: Contact with Gays and Support for Gay Rights.” Policy Studies Journal 39.2 (2011): 217–238.

    DOI: 10.1111/j.1541-0072.2011.00405.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Lewis attempts to determine whether contact with gays and lesbians actually increases support for gay rights or if gays and lesbians are simply more likely to be “out” to people who are more supportive of gays rights. He concludes that contact with gays and lesbians has an independent influence on increasing support for gay civil rights.

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Attitudes on Same-Sex Marriage and Civil Unions

Although survey questions on same-sex relationships and legal recognition date back to the early 1970s, the issue did not become a matter of national political debate until the 1990s. The rapid adoption of statutory same-sex marriage bans in the 1990s and later, constitutional bans through direct democracy in the early 2000s, brought the issue to the attention of many social scientists (Becker 2012; Donovan, et al. 2008; Haider-Markel and Joslyn 2005; Lewis and Gossett 2011; Press, et al. 2005; Whitehead 2014; Whitehead and Perry 2015).

  • Becker, Amy B. “What’s Marriage (and Family) Got to Do with It? Support for Same-Sex Marriage, Legal Unions, and Gay and Lesbian Couples Raising Children.” Social Science Quarterly 93.4 (2012): 1007–1029.

    DOI: 10.1111/j.1540-6237.2012.00844.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Becker examines the influence of marital and family status on support for same-sex marriage, civil unions, and gay couples raising children. She concludes that marital and family status influence attitudes on these issues and can decrease the influence of conservative and religious values.

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  • Donovan, Todd, Caroline J. Tolbert, and Daniel A. Smith. “Priming Presidential Votes by Direct Democracy.” Journal of Politics 70.4 (2008): 1217–1231.

    DOI: 10.1017/S0022381608081164Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The authors employ priming theory to test whether state ballot measures banning same-sex marriage influenced individual vote choice in the 2004 presidential election. They conclude that ballot measures primed voters to consider same-sex marriage when evaluating candidates and subsequently increased voting for President George W. Bush.

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  • Haider-Markel, Donald P., and Mark Joslyn. “Attributions and the Regulation of Marriage: Considering the Parallels between Race and Homosexuality.” PS: Political Science and Politics 38.2 (2005): 233–240.

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    The authors examine the relationship between biological attributions about race and homosexuality and support for interracial marriage and same-sex marriage. They conclude that biological attributions are strong predictors of marriage rights that can clearly be traced over time.

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  • Lewis, Gregory B., and Charles W. Gossett. “Why Did Californians Pass Proposition 8? Stability and Change in Public Support for Same-Sex Marriage.” California Journal of Politics and Policy 3.1 (2011): 1–21.

    DOI: 10.5070/P20W34Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Lewis and Gossett test four explanations of why voters approved Proposition 8 to ban same-sex marriage in California even though polls had consistently shown that the measure would be defeated. They conclude that there is little evidence that poll respondents lied or changed their minds on the issue, but there is some evidence that voters were confused about whether a yes or no on Proposition 8 better reflected their attitudes.

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  • Press, Vincent, Lilach Nir, and Joseph N. Capella. “Framing Public Discussion of Gay Civil Unions.” Public Opinion Quarterly 69.2 (2005): 179–212.

    DOI: 10.1093/poq/nfi014Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The authors employ an experiment in issue framing to determine whether engaged discussion around frames influences support for legal recognition civil unions and same-sex marriage. Conclude that the influence of frames was contingent on ideological predispositions and the frames of gay marriage tended to polarize participants and harden ideological positions.

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  • Whitehead, Andrew L. “Politics, Religion, Attribution Theory, and Attitudes toward Same-Sex Unions.” Social Science Quarterly 95.3 (2014): 701–718.

    DOI: 10.1111/ssqu.12085Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Whitehead examines the socially embedded nature of attributions for homosexuality and subsequent attitudes about same-sex marriage. He concludes that attributions shape attitudes about same-sex marriage but attributions are embedded in political and religious ideologies that can resist changes to attribution beliefs.

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  • Whitehead, Andrew L., and Samuel L. Perry. “A More Perfect Union? Christian Nationalism and Support for Same-sex Unions.” Sociological Perspectives 58.3 (2015): 422–440.

    DOI: 10.1177/0731121415577724Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The authors employ social identity theory to examine adherence to Christian nationalism and support for civil unions and same-sex marriage. They conclude that Christian nationalists view gays and lesbians as a threatening out-group that should be denied legal relationship recognition.

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Changes over Time in Public Opinion

In the annals of public opinion since the 1930s virtually no other issue has undergone such rapid change as has tolerance of homosexuality and support for LGBT rights. Several works that explore the reasons behind this rapid change are cited here (Brewer 2003, Brewer 2008, Egan and Sherrill 2005, Haider-Markel and Joslyn 2013, Lewis and Gossett 2008, Loftus 2001, Schafer and Shaw 2009, Yang 1997)

  • Brewer, Paul R. “The Shifting Foundations of Public Opinion about Gay Rights.” Journal of Politics 65.4 (2003): 1208–1220.

    DOI: 10.1111/1468-2508.t01-1-00133Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Brewer examines to explanations for the increase in support for gay civil rights. Evidence from several surveys suggests that attitudes shifted as a result of not only changes in egalitarianism, moral traditionalism, and attitudes toward gays and lesbians, but also because adults changed how they used these predispositions to think about gay civil rights.

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  • Brewer, Paul R. Value War: Public Opinion and the Politics of Gay Rights. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2008.

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    Brewer uses survey data and experiments to demonstrate how public debate and popular culture have shifted attitudes about gay civil rights and how those shifts have also influenced the political debate over gay civil rights.

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  • Egan, Patrick J., and Kenneth Sherrill. “Neither an In-Law nor an Outlaw Be: Trends in Americans’ Attitudes toward Gay People.” Public Opinion Pros (February 2005).

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    Egan and Sherrill examine shifting attitudes toward gays and lesbians and support for gay equality. They suggest that despite increases in positive attitudes toward gays and lesbians, support for legal recognition of gay relationships remains limited.

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  • Haider-Markel, Donald P., and Mark Joslyn. “Politicizing Biology: Social Movements, Parties, and the Case of Homosexuality.” Social Science Journal 50.4 (2013): 603–615.

    DOI: 10.1016/j.soscij.2013.06.001Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The authors employ a variation of attribution theory to argue that strategic framing by social movements and party activists led to a political polarization of attributions for homosexuality that predates the partisan polarization observed in attitudes about gay civil rights.

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  • Lewis, Gregory B., and Charles W. Gossett. “Changing Public Opinion on Same-Sex Marriage: The Case of California.” Politics & Policy 36.1 (2008): 4–30.

    DOI: 10.1111/j.1747-1346.2007.00092.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Lewis and Gossett examine changes in public attitudes on same-sex marriage among Californians since 1985. They conclude that cohort change explains part of the increased support, but Democrats, liberals, and less religious people also became more supportive while other subgroups, such as Republicans, remained virtually unchanged in opposition.

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  • Loftus, Jeni. “America’s Liberalization in Attitudes toward Homosexuality, 1973 to 1998.” American Sociological Review 66.5 (2001): 762–782.

    DOI: 10.2307/3088957Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Loftus uses survey data from 1973 to 1998 to examine changes in attitudes about homosexuality and gay civil rights. She concludes that increased positive attitudes are a result of generational shifts and ideological changes as well as a liberalization of attitudes on civil rights since 1990.

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  • Schafer, Chelsea E., and Greg M. Shaw. “Trends: Tolerance in the United States.” Public Opinion Quarterly 73.2 (2009): 404–431.

    DOI: 10.1093/poq/nfp022Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The authors review trends in tolerance toward unpopular groups, especially gays and lesbians and persons with HIV/AIDS. Finds a trend in increasing tolerance toward many groups, but gays and lesbians appear to have benefited the most.

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  • Yang, Alan S. “Trends: Attitudes toward Homosexuality.” Public Opinion Quarterly 61.3 (1997): 477–507.

    DOI: 10.1086/297810Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Yang tracks the dramatic change in positive attitudes toward homosexuality, gay civil and marriage rights, and contact with gays and lesbians since the 1970s. The rate of change in attitudes is not consistent across issues.

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Political Tolerance

In a representative democracy a fundamental precept of representation is that minority voices have an opportunity to be heard and engage in the political process. Research on political tolerance toward LGBT people explores whether Americans observe or violate this principle (Anderson and Fetner 2008, Gibson and Tedin 1988, Greenberg and Bystryn 1982).

  • Anderson, Robert, and Tina Fetner. “Cohort Differences in Tolerance of Homosexuality: Attitudinal Change in Canada and the United States, 1981–2000.” Public Opinion Quarterly 72.2 (2008): 311–330.

    DOI: 10.1093/poq/nfn017Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Using survey data from 1981 to 2000, the authors track increased tolerance of homosexuality. They find that younger cohorts are consistently more tolerant, but older cohorts have become more tolerant over time as well.

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  • Gibson, James L., and Kent L. Tedin. “The Etiology of Intolerance of Homosexual Politics.” Social Science Quarterly 69.3 (1988): 587–604.

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    Gibson and Tedin analyze tolerance of gays and lesbians in the context of an anti-gay ballot measure in Houston, Texas. The findings suggest that those with lower levels of education and higher dogmatism are less tolerant and more fearful of gay people.

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  • Greenberg, David F., and Marcia H. Bystryn. “Christian Intolerance of Homosexuality.” American Journal of Sociology 88.3 (1982): 515–548.

    DOI: 10.1086/227706Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The authors trace the historical development of Christian intolerance of homosexuals from the early Christian church forward. They argue that sustained intolerance and repression began in the late Middle Ages and have taken some of their most significant forms in American Christianity.

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Public Response to Policy Change and Court Decisions

Social scientists often debate the question of whether public attitudes can be changed by governmental actions, but remarkably little empirical research has been undertaken on this question. Studies of LGBT issues provide a view of this literature (Bishin, et al. 2016; Kreitzer, et al. 2014), including court decisions (Egan and Persily 2009; Stoutenborough and Haider-Markel 2008; Stoutenborough, et al. 2006).

  • Bishin, Benjamin G., Thomas J. Hayes, Matthew B. Incantalupo, and Charles Anthony Smith. “Opinion Backlash and Public Attitudes: Are Institutional Advances in Gay Rights Counterproductive?” American Journal of Political Science 60.3 (2016): 625–648.

    DOI: 10.1111/ajps.12181Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The authors use survey and experimental data to test for opinion backlash against gays and lesbians following policy successes. They find little evidence of opinion backlash and suggest that oppressed groups are not likely to face the levels of backlash that some observers have suggested.

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  • Egan, Patrick J., and Nathaniel Persily. Court Decisions and Trends in Support for Same- Sex Marriage. The Polling Report, 17 August 2009.

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    The authors employ national-level and state-level aggregated opinion on same-sex marriage to examine whether court decisions on same-sex marriage create a backlash in opinion or shift attitudes to support same-sex marriage. They conclude that little evidence exists of backlash or increased support—opinion trends in the states tend to follow their historical upward pattern in support of same-sex marriage.

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  • Kreitzer, Rebecca J., Allison J. Hamilton, and Caroline J. Tolbert. “Does Policy Adoption Change Opinions on Minority Rights? The Effects of Legalizing Same-Sex Marriage.” Political Research Quarterly 67.4 (2014): 795–808.

    DOI: 10.1177/1065912914540483Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Using panel data from surveys of Iowa residents, the authors examine public response to the ruling of the Iowa Supreme Court that legalized same-sex marriage. They conclude that the ruling led some predisposed residents to become more supportive of same-sex marriage and suggest that court rulings can shift public attitudes.

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  • Stoutenborough, James W., Donald P. Haider-Markel, and Mahalley D. Allen. “Reassessing the Impact of Supreme Court Decisions on Public Opinion: Gay Civil Rights Cases.” Political Research Quarterly 59.3 (2006): 419–433.

    DOI: 10.1177/106591290605900310Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The authors examine the influence of LGBT-related Court decisions on public opinion, arguing that the influence of Court decisions is dependent on contextual factors and individual characteristics of survey respondents. They conclude that the influence of LGBT-related Court decisions on public opinion is conditional on the political context.

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  • Stoutenborough, James W., and Donald P. Haider-Markel. “Public Confidence in the U.S. Supreme Court: A New Look at the Impact of Court Decisions” Social Science Journal 45.1 (2008): 28–47.

    DOI: 10.1016/j.soscij.2007.12.012Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Making use of aggregate and individual-level data the authors examine the influence of Supreme Court decisions (primarily) on LGBT-related issues and public confidence in the Court. The results indicate that Court decisions can have positive and negative implications for public confidence in the Court, depending on majority public opinion prior to the Court’s decision.

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