Overcoming 'Stigmas': Lesbian and Gay Districts and Black Electoral Empowerment
Pace Law School
Howard Law Review, Vol. 39, No. 1, 1995
Since the Voting Rights Act, blacks have seen significant gains in their political representation, only to suffer a reversal in more recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions. Whereas voting rights litigation once explored ways to prevent minority vote dilution, these cases began a jurisprudential focused on the stigma faced by blacks in a majority-minority district and the constitutional right to participate in a 'colorblind' electoral process. Despite the systemic exclusion of lesbians and gays from political representation, advocates have mobilized to establish some access for lesbian and gay candidates within the current districting system. Although no districting authority officially recognizes lesbian and gay people as a group whose interests must be met by districting schemes, lesbian and gay activists, using community-based evidence, have succeeded in asserting districting claims in certain contexts. This Article argues that districting advocates may find lessons in the use of community-based evidence by lesbian and gay districting advocates. Community cohesiveness, rather than mere hard population statistics, may assist black districting advocates in maintaining and increasing representation.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 49
Keywords: race, racism, voting rights, lesbian, gay, political representation
Date posted: April 24, 2006