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From Death Penalty to Legal Marriage: LGBT Politics in a Global Perspective

Enze Han

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Joseph O'Mahoney

Brown University


APSA 2011 Annual Meeting Paper

Many countries, especially in the West, have provided legal recognition of same sex unions, albeit in different forms. However, there are still many countries where homosexual activities are criminalized with different levels of penal punishment, including the death penalty. Why do some countries have severe punishment of homosexual activities while other countries have adopted legal protection of equal rights such as gay marriage? This study utilizes a newly constructed dataset of the legal status of LGBT people in 185 countries to explore the sources of this variation. What cross-national factors are associated with the current legal status of LGBT relationships? Are rich countries more likely to have legal protection for LGBT relationships than poor countries due to post-industrial values? Are democracies more protective of different expressions of sexuality than authoritarian ones? Or does the LGBT issue hinge on religiosity or different types of religious denominations? Our findings indicate the legal treatment of LGBT people is highly correlated with regime type; religiosity and prevalence of certain religious denominations; a country’s legal tradition; modernization and economic development; as well as the extent to which a country is enmeshed with the international human rights regime.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 39

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Date posted: August 1, 2011 ; Last revised: October 10, 2011

Suggested Citation

Han, Enze and O'Mahoney, Joseph, From Death Penalty to Legal Marriage: LGBT Politics in a Global Perspective (2011). APSA 2011 Annual Meeting Paper. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1902163

Contact Information

Enze Han (Contact Author)
affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )
No Address Available
Joseph O'Mahoney
Brown University ( email )
Box 1844
Providence, RI 02912
United States
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