LGBTQ Policy and Fragmented Federalism in the U.S. Article (Faculty180)

cited authors

  • Taylor, Jami K; Lewis, Daniel; Haider-Markel, Donald


  • Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) Americans face a fragmented policy landscape in the country due, in part, to a lack of national action in areas such as inclusive employment, public accommodations, and housing nondiscrimination laws. Meanwhile, executive actions have been slow to occur and most inclusive executive actions have proven to be temporary following the Trump administration's dismantling of many of the Obama administration's policies on LGBTQ and particularly transgender rights. In this context, some states and localities have crafted policies to address the needs of LGBTQ citizens, while others have sought to undermine LGBTQ equality. As such, the rights of LGBTQ citizens in the country are very much dependent on the politics of states and localities they reside in. In this article, we show that the majority of state level LGBTQ inclusive nondiscrimination laws were passed during periods of national policy gridlock and often when Republicans, who have been more hostile to LGBTQ rights, exert national political power. In addition, we explore the state level political factors that contribute to the fragmented policy landscape for LGBTQ citizens in the absence of national policy leadership. We model LGBTQ inclusive policies as of 2020 as a function of a wide set of factors, including citizen ideology, government ideology, partisanship, legislative professionalism, religious affiliation, LGBTQ interest group capacity, and demographic variables such as education levels. Our analyses illustrate the dynamic nature of fragmented federalism in America.


publication date

  • 2020

published in

start page

  • 255

end page

  • 265


  • 52