Hostname: page-component-848d4c4894-xm8r8 Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2024-06-15T18:54:56.918Z Has data issue: false hasContentIssue false

Representation and Rights: The Impact of LGBT Legislators in Comparative Perspective

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  21 March 2013

ANDREW REYNOLDS*
Affiliation:
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Abstract

This article focuses on the link between the representation of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people in national legislatures and the existence of equality laws focused on sexual orientation. It addresses three interrelated questions: how many “out” LGBT legislators have served in national parliaments, what explains the cross-national variation in their legislative presence, and what is the relationship between the presence of gay legislators and the enactment of laws that treat gay and straight citizens equally? There is an established literature arguing that the representation of women and ethnic minorities “descriptively” in national legislatures improves the realization of their policy preferences and the position of the group within the society as a whole. This article draws on that literature and extends the analysis to LGBT communities. It finds that the presence of even a small number of openly gay legislators is associated significantly with the future passage of enhanced gay rights, even after including controls for social values, democracy, government ideology, and electoral system design. Once openly gay legislators are in office they have a transformative effect on the views and voting behavior of their straight colleagues. This “familiarity through presence” effect is echoed in studies of U.S. state legislatures and levels of social tolerance of homosexuality in the population at large.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © American Political Science Association 2013 

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

References

Adam, Barry D. 1995. The Rise of a Gay and Lesbian Movement. Independence, KY: Twayne Publishers.Google Scholar
Adam, Barry D. 2003. “The Defense of Marriage Act and American Exceptionalism: The ‘Gay Marriage’ Panic in the United States.” Journal of the History of Sexuality 12 (2): 259–76.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Adam, Barry, Duyvendak, Jan, and Krouwel, Andre. 1999. The Global Emergence of Gay and Lesbian Politics: National Imprints of a World Wide Movement. Philadelphia: Temple University Press.Google Scholar
Babst, Gordon Albert. 2002. Liberal Constitutionalism, Marriage, and Sexual Orientation: A Contemporary Case for Disestablishment. New York: Peter Lang.Google Scholar
Bailey, Robert C. 1998. Gay Politics, Urban Politics. New York: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
Baldez, Lisa. 2003. “Women's Movements and Democratic Transition in Brazil, Chile, East Germany and Poland.” Comparative Politics 35 (3): 253–72.Google Scholar
Benjamin, Kathy. 2012. “11 Countries Where Same Sex Marriage Is Legal.” http://www.mentalfloss.com/blogs/archives/126362 (Accessed May 11, 2012).Google Scholar
Blasius, Mark. 1994. Gay and Lesbian Politics: Sexuality and the Emergence of a New Ethic. Philadelphia: Temple University Press.Google Scholar
Blasius, Mark. 1997. We Are Everywhere: A Historical Sourcebook of Gay and Lesbian Politics. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
Bratton, Kathleen A. 2005. “Critical Mass Theory Revisited: The Behavior and Success of Token Women in State Legislatures.” Politics and Gender 1 (1): 97125.Google Scholar
Bratton, Kathleen A., and Ray, Leonard P.. 2002. “Descriptive Representation, Policy Outcomes, and Municipal Day-Care Coverage in Norway.” American Journal of Political Science 46 (2): 428–37.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Bratton, Kathleen A. and Haynie, Kerry L. 1999. “Agenda Setting and Legislative Success in State Legislatures: The Effects of Gender and Race.” Journal of Politics 61 (3): 658–79.Google Scholar
Brewer, Paul R. 2003. “The Shifting Foundations of Public Opinion about Gay Rights.” Journal of Politics 65 (4): 120–22.Google Scholar
Camp, Bayliss, J. 2008. “Mobilizing the Base and Embarrassing the Opposition; Defense of Marriage Referenda and Cross-Cutting Electoral Cleavages.” Sociological Perspectives 51: 713–33.Google Scholar
Campbell, David, and Monson, J. Quinn. 2008. “The Religion Card: Gay Marriage and the 2004 Presidential Election.” Public Opinion Quarterly 72: 399419.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Campbell, David, and Wolbrecht, Christina. 2006. “See Jane Run: Women Politicians as Role Models for Adolescents.” Journal of Politics 68 (2): 233–47.Google Scholar
Chasin, Alexandra. 2001. Selling Out: The Gay and Lesbian Movement Goes to Market. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
Considine, Austin. 2011. “For Catholics, Open Attitudes on Gay Issues,” New York Times, April 22.Google Scholar
Cook, Timothy E. 1999. “The Empirical Study of Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Politics: Assessing the First Wave of Research.” American Political Science Review 93 (3): 679–92.Google Scholar
Cooper, Helene, and Peters, Jeremy W., 2012. “For Some, Same-Sex Marriage Is Not Politics, It's Personal.” New York Times, May 15.Google Scholar
Croucher, Sheila. 2002. “South Africa's Democratisation and the Politics of Gay Liberation.” Journal of Southern African Studies 28 (2): 315–30.Google Scholar
Crowley, Jocelyn Elise. 2004. “When Tokens Matter.” Legislative Studies Quarterly. 24 (1): 109–36.Google Scholar
Dececco, John, and Yeager, Kenneth S.. 1999. Trailblazers: Profiles of America's Gay and Lesbian Elected Officials. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
D'Emilio, John. 2006. “The Marriage Fight Is Setting Us Back.” Gay & Lesbian Review Worldwide, Nov-Dec., 10–11.Google Scholar
Driberg, Tom. 1978. Ruling Passions. New York: Stein and Day.Google Scholar
Egan, Patrick J., and Sherrill, Kenneth. 2005a. “Marriage and the Shifting Priorities of a New Generation of Lesbians and Gays.” PS: Political Science and Politics 38: 229–32.Google Scholar
Egan, Patrick J., and Sherrill, Kenneth. 2005b. “Neither In-Law Nor Outlaw Be: Trends in Americans’ Attitudes Toward gay People,” Public Opinion Pros. http://www.publicopinionpros.norc.org/features/2005/feb/sherrill_egan.asp.Google Scholar
Eisinger, Peker K. 1983 Black Employment in City Government, 1973–1980. Washington D.C. Joint Center for Political Studies.Google Scholar
Endean, Steve. 2006. Bringing Lesbian and Gay Rights into the Mainstream: Twenty Years of Progress. New York: Harrington Park.Google Scholar
Engel, Stephen M. 2001. The Unfinished Revolution: Social Movement Theory and the Lesbian Movement. New York: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Fish, Eric. 2005. “The Road to Recognition: A Global Perspective on Gay Marriage.” Harvard International Review 27 (2): 3235.Google Scholar
Fowler, James H. 2006. “Legislative Cosponsorship Networks in the U.S. House and Senate.” Social Networks 28 (4): 454–65.Google Scholar
Frank, David John, and McEneaney, Elizabeth H.. 1999. “The Individualization of Society and the Liberalization of State Policies on Same-Sex Sexual Relations.” Social Forces 77 (3): 911–43.Google Scholar
Frymer, Paul. 1999. Uneasy Alliances. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
Gibson, James L. 1987. “Homosexuals and the Ku Klux Klan: A Contextual Analysis of Political Tolerance.” Western Political Quarterly 40: 427–48.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Golebiowska, Ewa. 2002. “Political Implications of Group Stereotypes: Campaign Experiences of Openly Gay Political Candidates.” Journal of Applied Social Psychology 32 (3): 590607.Google Scholar
Greenhill, Brian. 2010. “The Company You Keep: International Socialization and the Diffusion of Human Rights Norms.” International Studies Quarterly 54: 127–45.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Grey, Sandra. 2002. “Does Size Matter? Critical Mass and New Zealand's Women MPs.” Parliamentary Affairs 55 (1): 1929.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Haider-Markel, Donald P. 2007. “Representation and Backlash: The Positive and Negative Influence of Descriptive Representation.” Legislative Studies Quarterly 32 (1): 107–33.Google Scholar
Haider-Markel, Donald P. 2010. Out and Running: Gay and Lesbian Candidates, Elections and Policy Representation. Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press.Google Scholar
Haider-Markel, Donald P., Joslyn, Mark R., and Kniss, Chad J.. 2000. “Minority Group Interests and Political Representation: Gay Elected Officials in the Policy Process.” Journal of Politics 62 (2): 568–77.Google Scholar
Haider-Markel, Donald P., and Meier, Kenneth J.. 1996. “The Politics of Gay and Lesbian Rights: Expanding the Scope of the Conflict.” Journal of Politics 58 (2): 332–49.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Haider-Markel, Donald P., and Meier, Kenneth J.. 2003. “Legislative Victory, Electoral Uncertainty: Explaining Outcomes in the Battles over Lesbian and Gay Civil Rights.” Review of Policy Research 20: 671–90.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Hartzell, Caroline, and Hoddie, Matthew. 2003. “Institutionalizing Peace: Power Sharing and Post-Civil War Conflict Management,” American Journal of Political Science 47 (2): 318–32.Google Scholar
Hendriks, A., Tielman, R., and van der Veen, E., eds. 1993. The Third Pink Book: A Global View of Lesbian and Gay Liberation and Oppression. New York: Prometheus Books.Google Scholar
Hirsch, Harry N., ed. 2005. The Future of Gay Rights in America. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
Htun, Mala. 2004. “Is Gender like Ethnicity? The Political Representation of Identity Groups.” Perspectives on Politics 2: 439–58.Google Scholar
Hunter Gault, Charlayne. 2012. “Violated Hopes: A Nation Confronts a Wave of Sexual Violence.” The New Yorker, May 28.Google Scholar
Inter Parliamentary Union Parline Database. http://www.ipu.org/wmn-e/world.htm.Google Scholar
Keck, Thomas M. 2009. “Beyond Backlash: Assessing the Impact of Judicial Decisions on LGBT Rights.” Law & Society Review 43: 151–85.Google Scholar
Keck, Margaret, and Sikkink, Kathryn. 1999. “Transnational Advocacy Networks in International and Regional Politics.” International Social Science Journal 51 (159): 89102.Google Scholar
Kirsch, Max H. 2001. Queer Theory and Social Change (Opening Out). London: Routledge.Google Scholar
Kollman, Ken. 1998. Outside Lobbying. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Kollman, Kelly. 2007. “Same Sex Unions: The Globalization of an Idea.” International Studies Quarterly 51: 329–57.Google Scholar
Krook, Mona Lena. 2009. Quotas for Women in Politics: Gender and Candidate Selection Reform Worldwide. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
Lax, Jeffrey R., and Phillips, Justin H.. 2009. “Gay Rights in the States: Public Opinion and Policy Responsiveness.” American Political Science Review 103: 367–86.Google Scholar
Lewis, Gregory B. 2003. “Black-White Differences in Attitudes toward Homosexuality and Gay Rights.” Public Opinion Quarterly 67: 5978.Google Scholar
Lewis, Gregory B. 2011. “The Friends and Family Plan: Contact with Gays and Support for Gay Rights.” Policy Studies Journal 39: 217–38.Google Scholar
Lewis, Gregory B., and Gossett, Charles W.. 2008. “Changing Public Opinion on Same-Sex Marriage: The Case of California.” Politics & Policy 36: 430.Google Scholar
Lewis, Gregory B., and Pitts, David W.. 2011. “Representation of Lesbians and Gay Men in Federal, State and Local Bureaucracies.” Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory 21 (1): 159.Google Scholar
Loewen, Jim. 2002. “Our First Real Gay President” Salon. http://www.salon.com/2012/05/14/our_real_first_gay_president.Google Scholar
Marcus, Eric. 2002. Making Gay History: The Half Century Fight for Lesbian and Gay Equal Rights. New York: Harper.Google Scholar
Matthews, Donald R., and Stimson, James A.. 1975. Yeas and Nays: Normal Decision-Making in the U.S. House of Representatives. New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
Mayhew, David R. 1974. Congress: The Electoral Connection. New Haven. Yale University Press.Google Scholar
Mayhew, David R. 2005. Divided We Govern: Party Control, Lawmaking, and Investigations, 1946–2002. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
McThomas, Mary, and Buchanan, Robert J.. 2012. “President Obama and Gay Rights: The 2008 and 2012 Presidential Elections.” PS: Political Science and Politics 45: 442–48.Google Scholar
Mucciaroni, Gary. 2008. Same Sex, Different Politics: Success and Failure in the Struggles over Gay Rights. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
Norris, Pippa. 2008. Driving Democracy: Do Power-Sharing Institutions Work? Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Olson, Laura R., Cadge, Wendy, and Harrison, James T.. 2006. “Religion and Public Opinion about Same-Sex Marriage.” Social Science Quarterly 87: 340–60.Google Scholar
Phillips, Anne. 1993. Democracy and Difference. University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press.Google Scholar
Pitkin, Hanna. 1967. The Concept of Representation. Berkeley: University of California Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Pokharel, Tilak. 2008. “In Conservative Nepal, a Tribune for the ‘Third Gender’ Speaks Out.” New York Times, September 20.Google Scholar
Preuhs, Robert R. 2007. “Descriptive Representation as a Mechanism to Mitigate Policy Backlash: Latino Incorporation and Welfare Policy in the American States.” Political Research Quarterly 60 (2): 277–92.Google Scholar
Rayside, David. 1998. On the Fringe: Gays & Lesbians in Politics. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.Google Scholar
Reingold, Beth. 2008. “Women as Officeholders: Linking Descriptive and Substantive Representation.” In Political Women and American Democracy, eds. Wolbrecht, Christina, Beckwith, Karen, and Baldez, Lisa. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 128–47.Google Scholar
Reynolds, Andrew. 1999. “Women in the Legislatures and Executives of the World: Knocking at the Highest Glass Ceiling.” World Politics 51 (4): 547–72.Google Scholar
Reynolds, Andrew. 2006. Electoral Systems and the Protection and Participation of Minorities. London: Minority Rights Group International.Google Scholar
Reynolds, Andrew. 2011. Designing Democracy in a Dangerous World. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
Reynolds, Andrew, Reilly, Ben, and Ellis, Andrew. 2007. The New International IDEA Handbook of Election System Design. Stockholm: International IDEA.Google Scholar
Riggle, Ellen D. B., and Tadlock, Berry L., eds. 1999. Gays and Lesbians in the Democratic Process. New York: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
Rimmerman, Craig A., Wald, Kenneth, and Wilcox, Clyde, eds. 2000. The Politics of Gay Rights. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
Saint-Germain, Michelle. 1989. “Does Their Difference Make a Difference? The Impact of Women on Public Policy in the Arizona Legislature.” Social Science Quarterly 70 (4): 956–68.Google Scholar
Saltzstein, Grace Hall. 1986. “Female Mayors and Women in Municipal Jobs,” American Journal of Political Science 30 (1), 140–64.Google Scholar
Saltzstein, Grace Hall 1989. “Black Mayors and Police Policies,” Journal of Politics 51 (3), 525–44.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Schwindt-Bayer, Leslie A., and Mishler, William. 2005. “An Integrated Model of Women's Representation.” Journal of Politics 67 (2): 407–28.Google Scholar
Shilts, Randy. 1982. The Mayor of Castro Street: The Life and Times of Harvey Milk. New York: St. Martin's Press.Google Scholar
Slaughter, Anne-Marie. 2004. A New World Order. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
Smith, Charles Anthony. 2007. “The Electoral Capture of Gay and Lesbian Americans: Evidence and Implications from the 2004 Election.” Studies in Law, Politics, and Society 40: 103–21.Google Scholar
Smith, Daniel A., DeSantis, Matthew, and Kassel, Jason. 2006. “Same-Sex Ballot Measures and the 2004 Presidential Election.” State and Local Government Review 38: 7891.Google Scholar
Smith, Miriam. 1998. “Social Movements and Equality Seeking: The Case of Gay Liberation in Canada.” Canadian Journal of Political Science 31 (2): 285309.Google Scholar
Smith, Miriam. 2008. Political Institutions and Lesbian and Gay Rights in the United States and Canada. London; Routledge.Google Scholar
Smith, Raymond A., and Haider-Markel, Donald. 2002. Gay and Lesbian Americans and Political Participation. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO.Google Scholar
Stychin, Carl F. 1996. “Constituting Sexuality: The Struggle for Sexual Orientation in the South African Bill of Rights.” Journal of Law and Society 23 (4): 455–83.Google Scholar
UK House of Commons. 2010. Speakers Conference on Parliamentary Representation. http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/spconf/239/239i.pdf.Google Scholar
United Nations Commissioner for Human Rights. 2011. Discriminatory Laws and Practices and Acts of Violence against Individuals Based on their Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity. New York: UN General Assembly.Google Scholar
Vaid, Urvashi. 1996. Virtual Equality: The Mainstreaming of Gay and Lesbian Liberation. New York: Anchor.Google Scholar
Victor, Jennifer Nicoll, and Ringe, Nils. 2009. “The Social Utility of Informal Institutions.” American Politics Research 37 (5): 742–66.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Wald, Kenneth D., Button, James W., and Rienzo, Barbara A. 1996. “The Politics of Gay Rights in American Communities: Explaining Anti-Discrimination Ordinances and Policies,” American Journal of Political Science 40, 1152–78.Google Scholar
Wilson, Angela R., ed. 1995. A Simple Matter of Justice? New York: Cassell.Google Scholar
Wheen, Francis. 1990. Tom Driberg: His Life and Indiscretions. London: Chatto and Windus.Google Scholar
Wolbrecht, Christina, Beckwith, Karen, and Baldez, Lisa, eds. 2008. Political Women and American Democracy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
Wolbrecht, Christina, and Campbell, David. 2007. “Leading Example: Female Members of Parliament as Political Role Models.” American Journal of Political Science 51 (4): 921–39.Google Scholar
Young, Iris Marion. 1990. Justice and the Politics of Difference. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
Zackin, Emily. 2008. “Popular Constitutionalism's Hard When You're Not Very Popular: Why the ACLU Turned to the Courts.” Law & Society Review 42: 367–95.Google Scholar
Supplementary material: File

Reynolds supplementary Appendix

Reynolds supplementary Appendix

Download Reynolds supplementary Appendix(File)
File 58.2 KB
Submit a response

Comments

No Comments have been published for this article.