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date: 18 May 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter surveys LGBTQ politics in the Anglo-American democracies, including the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand. Political change has followed a somewhat similar trajectory from the decriminalization of same-sex conduct through struggles over discrimination in areas such as employment to the recognition of same-sex relationships and families. From the emergence of gay liberation in the late 1960s to the marriage equality movements of the 2000s, LGBTQ communities have increasingly lived in the open and pushed for full sexual and political citizenship. In the Anglo-American democracies, same-sex conduct is no longer criminal, discrimination in key areas such as employment is banned, and some form of same-sex relationship recognition exists. At the same time, however, progress in the recognition of queer rights has been uneven, with the United States failing to prohibit employment discrimination and Australia only recently providing legal recognition of same-sex marriage. This chapter discusses the intersection of social movement activism and political institutions in these cases, exploring the role of political mobilization and litigation by LGBTQ movements. In doing so, it identifies some of the key factors that have facilitated and impeded the process of legal and policy change for LGBTQ communities across this group of countries including political institutional factors, partisan electoral dynamics, and the role of religion and public opinion.

Keywords: LGBTQ politics, United States, United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, social movement

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