Marriage, Hate Crimes, and Civil Rights

in Same Sex, Different Politics

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print October 2008 | ISBN: 9780226544083
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226544106 | DOI:
Marriage, Hate Crimes, and Civil Rights

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This chapter argues that the level of public support for gay rights on marriage, hate crimes, and civil rights only partly explains public policy outcomes in each of them. Explanations rooted in public opinion and institutional arrangements are not mutually exclusive. First, institutions have played a crucial role in facilitating success in hate crimes and nondiscrimination and have contributed to the limited success in marriage. Second, a focus on institutions helps us to understand why public policy deviates from the public's preferences in particular instances. Most Americans do not support gay rights intensely enough to become active, while opponents continue to mobilize against them in many instances. Institutions create the possibility for these deviations from national public opinion to occur. The chapter presents findings for each case for the three main institutional variables, starting with an examination of the role of third-party stakeholders. Next, it examines the impact of the federal system, followed by the influence of legislative and judicial policymaking.

Keywords: public support; gay rights; public policy; public opinion; federal system; legislative; judiciary policymaking

Chapter.  12257 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: US Politics

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