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How Social Movements Matter: Including Sexual Orientation in State-Level Hate Crime Legislation

Research in Social Movements, Conflicts and Change

ISBN: 978-1-78560-359-4, eISBN: 978-1-78560-358-7

Publication date: 1 September 2015


This paper examines the conditions under which states include sexual orientation as a protected status in hate crime policy over the course of 25 years. Previous research in this area has generally focused on the passage of either general hate crime statutes longitudinally or the inclusion of sexual orientation in hate crime legislation via cross-sectional analysis. Moreover, previous work in this area tends to concentrate on two types of factors affecting policy passage: (1) structural factors such as social disorganization and economic vitality, and (2) political characteristics including governor’s political party and the makeup of the state legislature. We argue that a strong LGBT social movement organizational presence may also influence LGBT hate crime policy passage. Using an event history analysis, we test how state-level social movement organizational mobilization, as well as the state-level political context, affect policy passage from 1983 to 2008. Our findings indicate that political opportunities, including political instability and government ideology, matter for the passage of anti-gay hate crime policy. We also find evidence to support political mediation, as the interaction between social movement organizational presence and Democrats in the state legislature affect policy passage.




We would like to acknowledge Melinda Kane for her generosity in sharing her data on state-level LGBT organizations over time. We appreciate her professional courtesy tremendously.


Parris, C.L. and Scheuerman, H.L. (2015), "How Social Movements Matter: Including Sexual Orientation in State-Level Hate Crime Legislation", Research in Social Movements, Conflicts and Change (Research in Social Movements, Conflicts and Change, Vol. 38), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 229-257.



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