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Neighbors in Exclusion: State Proposal of Anti-LGBTQ Legislation
AuthorGibb, Reece Stewart
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Abstract: In its landmark rulings on U.S. v. Windsor and Obergefell v. Hodges, the United States Supreme Court affirmed same sex couples’ right to marry and equal protection under the law. 2015 was believed to be a turning point in gay rights, yet states across the U.S. have attempted ever since to circumvent federal case law by passing legislation that discriminates against the LGBTQ community. Utilizing and modifying current theory on policy diffusion, this study seeks to understand how states’ partisan and normative characteristics, as well as their acceptance (or lack thereof) of LGBTQ individuals, determine the diffusion of legislation, which counters federal same-sex rulings, across states from 2015 to 2018. OLS regression models were created in order to determine which characteristics significantly predict the proposal of five categories of discriminatory law between border states or dyads. In this study, dyads were believed to be indicators not simply of the transference of legislation across state lines, but also the extent to which a common set of norms and values are exchanged between states. An additional linear regression model was developed to determine the prominence of discriminatory legislation in distinct political, cultural, and geographic regions of the United States. Findings indicate that specific characteristics, such as conservatism and legislative composition, are significant in the diffusion of legislation between border states in each legislative year. In addition to providing new insight into an understudied policy area, this study advances diffusion scholarship by examining which characteristics are significant in the proposal, not passage, of discriminatory legislation between dyadic, bordering states.