When Do Voters Support the European Union’s Involvement in Gay Rights?

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Department 1

Political Science


Commitment to the European Union’s gay rights standards remains weak in new EU members and countries applying for EU membership. If the EU’s standards have minimal consequences, then when do voters support the EU’s involvement in gay rights? The existing research misses a comparison of opinions between those who identify with gay people, and those who do not. Sexuality-based marginalization carried out by state institutions (political homophobia) motivates those who identify with gay people to support alternatives to their state’s authority. Using an original survey of Bosnia and Herzegovina, I find that those who identify more closely with gay people are more likely to support transferring control of gay rights to the EU. Using twenty-one surveys of EU member states, I find that in countries with high levels of political homophobia, those who report discrimination on the basis of sexuality exhibit higher levels of support for the EU.


Original version available form the publisher at https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11109-017-9396-6

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