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The Religious Dynamics of Decision Making on Gay Rights Issues in the U.S. House of Representatives, 1993–2002

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In recent decades, homosexuality has emerged as a truly national political issue. As a result, the U.S. Congress is increasingly called upon to consider and set policy on an array of issues related to the status of gay men and lesbians. This article investigates legislator decision making pertaining to gay issues in the U.S. House of Representatives. Specifically, we examine the effect of several indicators on legislator support for progressive gay policies, including ideology, partisanship, and the characteristics of district religious affiliation. We use additive indices of legislator support for progressive gay policies, and use logit and ordered logit to derive estimates of influence. The findings indicate that even while legislator partisanship and ideology largely structure decision making, legislators are also highly responsive to the presence of conservative Protestants and (to a lesser extent) Roman Catholics in their constituency.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Elizabeth Anne Oldmixon, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science, University of North Texas, PO Box 305340, Denton, TX 76203., Email: 2: Brian Robert Calfano is a Lecturer in the Department of Political Science at Texas A&M University., Email:

Publication date: March 1, 2007


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