Where is the party? Explaining positions on same-sex marriage in Europe among would-be members of parliament

View author details View Less
  • 1 San Francisco State University, , USA
  • | 2 University of Southampton, , UK
  • | 3 Independent Scholar, , USA
Restricted access
Get eTOC alerts
Rights and permissions Cite this article

The rapid adoption of marriage equality legislation for non-heterosexual individuals in Europe is attributed to many factors, including dramatic shifts in public opinion, the work of transnational activists and changing international norms. Usually, these factors must be filtered through the halls of parliaments where most policy change happens. Given the importance of parliamentarians’ attitudes, it is surprising that we know so little about how attitudes towards same-sex marriage are distributed across political candidates in Europe and what factors shape them. This article fills that gap by using an underutilised dataset on the political preferences of candidates for parliamentary office. We find that beyond attachment to party families, a candidate’s religiosity and practice has a greater effect on a would-be Member of Parliament’s attitudes towards same-sex marriage. The findings suggest that the success of parliamentary action on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights depends not on the partisan composition of the legislature, but rather on the representation of secular candidates.

  • Abou-Chadi, T. and Finnigan, R. (2019) Rights for same-sex couples and public attitudes toward gays and lesbians in Europe, Comparative Political Studies, 52(6): 86895. doi: 10.1177/0010414018797947

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Adam, C., Knill, C. and Budde, E.T. (2020) How morality politics determine morality policy output – partisan effects on morality policy change, Journal of European Public Policy, 27(7): 101533. doi: 10.1080/13501763.2019.1653954

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Arzheimer, K. (2015) Strange bedfellows: the Bundestag’s free vote on pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) reveals how Germany’s restrictive bioethics legislation is shaped by a Christian Democratic/New Left issue-coalition, Research & Politics, 2(3): 17.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Arzheimer, K. (2020) Secular citizens, pious MPs: why German attitudes about genetic testing are much more permissive than German laws, Political Research Exchange, 2(1): 125. doi: 10.1080/2474736X.2020.1765693

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Asal, V., Sommer, U. and Harwood, P.G. (2013) Original sin: a cross-national study of the legality of homosexual acts, Comparative Political Studies, 46(3): 32051. doi: 10.1177/0010414012453693

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Ayoub, P.M. (2014) With arms wide shut: threat perception, norm reception, and mobilized resistance to LGBT rights, Journal of Human Rights, 13(3): 33762. doi: 10.1080/14754835.2014.919213

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Ayoub, P.M. (2016) When States Come out: Europe’s Sexual Minorities and the Politics of Visibility, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Ayoub, P.M. and Garretson, J. (2017) Getting the message out: media context and global changes in attitudes toward homosexuality, Comparative Political Studies, 50(8): 105585. doi: 10.1177/0010414016666836

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Ayoub, P.M. and Kollman, K. (2020) (Same)-sex in the city: urbanisation and LGBTI rights expansion, European Journal of Political Research, online first. https://doi.org/10.1111/1475-6765.12418

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Banchoff, T. (2011) Embryo Politics: Ethics and Policy in Atlantic Democracies, New York: Cornell University Press.

  • Bishin, B.G., Freebourn, J. and Teten, P. (2020) The power of equality? Polarization and collective mis-representation on gay rights in Congress, 1989–2019, Political Research Quarterly, online first. https://doi.org/10.1177/1065912920953498

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Brajdić Vuković, M. and Štulhofer, A. (2012) “The whole universe is heterosexual!” Correlates of homonegativity in seven South-East European countries, in: K. Ringdal, and A. Simkus (eds.) The Aftermath of War, Farnham: Ashgate, pp. 21734.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Cowley, P. (1998) Unbridled passions? Free votes, issues of conscience and the accountability of British Members of Parliament, Journal of Legislative Studies, 4(2): 7088. doi: 10.1080/13572339808420554

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Dejowski, E.F. (1992) Public endorsement of restrictions on three aspects of free expression by homosexuals: socio-demographic and trends analysis 1973–1988, Journal of Homosexuality, 23(4): 118. doi: 10.1300/J082v23n04_01

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Döring, H. and Manow, P. (2019) Parliaments and governments database (ParlGov): information on parties, elections and cabinets in modern democracies. Available at: http://www.parlgov.org

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Dotti Sani, G.M. and Quaranta, M. (2020) Let them be, not adopt: general attitudes towards gays and lesbians and specific attitudes towards adoption by same-sex couples in 22 European countries, Social Indicators Research, 150(1): 35173. doi: 10.1007/s11205-020-02291-1

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Engeli, I., Green-Pedersen, C. and Larsen, L.T. (2012) Theoretical perspectives on morality issues, in I. Engeli, C. Green-Pedersen and L.T. Larsen (eds) Morality Politics in Western Europe. Parties, Agendas and Policy Choices, Basingstoke: Palgrave MacMillan, pp 526.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Engeli, I., Green-Pedersen, C. and Larsen, L.T. (2013) The puzzle of permissiveness: understanding policy processes concerning morality issues, Journal of European Public Policy, 20(3): 33552. doi: 10.1080/13501763.2013.761500

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Flores, A.R. and Barclay, S. (2016) Backlash, consensus, legitimacy, or polarization: the effect of same-sex marriage policy on mass attitudes, Political Research Quarterly, 69(1): 4356. doi: 10.1177/1065912915621175

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Garretson, J.J. (2018) The Path to Gay Rights: How Activism and Coming Out Changed Public Opinion, New York: NYU Press.

  • Glaurdić, J. and Vuković, V. (2016) Proxy politics, economic protest, or traditionalist backlash: Croatia’s referendum on the constitutional definition of marriage, Europe–Asia Studies, 68(5): 80325.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Goren, P. and Chapp, C. (2017) Moral power: how public opinion on culture war issues shapes partisan predispositions and religious orientations, American Political Science Review, 111(1): 11028. doi: 10.1017/S0003055416000435

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Grzymala-Busse, A. (2015) Nations under God: How Churches Use Moral Authority to Influence Policy, Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Haider-Markel, D.P. and Jolsyn, M.R. (2008) Beliefs about the origins of homosexuality and support for gay rights: an empirical test of attribution theory, Public Opinion Quarterly, 72(2): 291310. doi: 10.1093/poq/nfn015

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Helfer, L.R. and Voeten, E. (2014) International courts as agents of legal change: evidence from LGBT rights in Europe, International Organization, 68(1): 77110. doi: 10.1017/S0020818313000398

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Hildebrandt, A. (2016) Who’s in favour? Same-sex union laws in parliament, The Journal of Legislative Studies, 22(3): 40423. doi: 10.1080/13572334.2016.1202649

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Inglehart, R.F. (1977) The Silent Revolution: Changing Values and Political Styles Among Western Publics, New Jersey, NJ: Princeton University Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Janos, A.C. (2001) From Eastern empire to Western hegemony: East Central Europe under two international regimes, East European Politics and Society, 15(2): 22129. doi: 10.1177/0888325401015002002

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Kollman, K. (2013) The Same-Sex Unions Revolution in Western Democracies: International Norms and Domestic Policy Change, Manchester: Manchester University Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Kollman, K. (2017) Pioneering marriage for same-sex couples in the Netherlands, Journal of European Public Policy, 24(1): 10018. doi: 10.1080/13501763.2016.1147057

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Magni, G. and Reynolds, A. (2020) Voter preferences and the political underrepresentation of minority groups: lesbian, gay, and transgender candidates in advanced democracies, Journal of Politics, online first. https://doi.org/10.1086/712142

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • McVeigh, R. and Diaz, M.E. (2009) Voting to ban same-sex marriage: interests, values, and communities, American Sociological Review, 74(6): 891915. doi: 10.1177/000312240907400603

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Mooney, C.Z. (2001) The public clash of private values, in C.Z. Mooney (ed) The Public Clash of Private Values. The Politics of Morality Policy, Washington, DC: CQ Press, pp 318.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Mos, M. (2020) The anticipatory politics of homophobia: explaining constitutional bans on same-sex marriage in post-communist Europe, East European Politics, 36(3): 395416. doi: 10.1080/21599165.2020.1733983

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • O’Dwyer, C. (2012) Does the EU help or hinder gay-rights movements in post-communist Europe? The case of Poland, East European Politics, 28(4): 33252.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Olson, L.R., Cadge, W. and Harrison, J. (2006) Religion and public opinion about same-sex marriage, Social Science Quarterly, 87(2): 34060. doi: 10.1111/j.1540-6237.2006.00384.x

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Oppenheimer, D., Oliveira, A. and Blumenthal, A. (2014) Religiosity and same-sex marriage in the United States and Europe, Berkley Journal of International Law, 32(1): 195238.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Paternotte, D. and Kollman, K. (2013) Regulating intimate relationships in the European polity: same-sex unions and policy convergence, Social Politics, 20(4): 51033. doi: 10.1093/sp/jxs024

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Plumb, A. (2015) How do MPs in Westminster-style parliaments vote when unconstrained by party discipline? A comparison of free vote patterns on marriage equality legislation, Parliamentary Affairs, 68(3): 53354. doi: 10.1093/pa/gsu006

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Rossi, M. and Scappini, E. (2014) Church attendance, problems of measurement, and interpreting indicators: a study of religious practice in the United States, 1975–2010, Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 53(2): 24967. doi: 10.1111/jssr.12115

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Searing, D.D., Jacoby, W.G. and Tyner, A.H. (2017) The endurance of politicians’ values over four decades: a panel study, American Political Science Review, 113(1): 22641. doi: 10.1017/S0003055418000692

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Siegel, S.N. and Wang, Y.A. (2018) Broken rainbows: the partisan politics of marriage equality in Europe, European Politics and Society, 19(4): 37795. doi: 10.1080/23745118.2018.1429195

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Stubager, R. (2009) Education-based group identity and consciousness in the authoritarian–libertarian value conflict, European Journal of Political Research, 48(2): 20433. doi: 10.1111/j.1475-6765.2008.00834.x

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Thomeer, M.B., LeBlanc, A.J., Frost, D.M. and Bowen, K. (2018) Anticipatory minority stressors among same-sex couples: a relationship timeline approach, Social Psychology Quarterly, 81(2): 12648. doi: 10.1177/0190272518769603

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Trumm, S., Milazzo, C. and Townsley, J. (2020) The 2016 referendum: explaining support for Brexit among would-be MPs, Political Studies, 68(4): 81936. https://doi.org/10.1177/0032321720904935

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Turnbull-Dugarte, S.J. (2020a) The European lavender vote: sexuality, ideology and vote choice in Western Europe, European Journal of Political Research, 57(3): 51737.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Turnbull-Dugarte, S.J. (2020b) Who wins the UK lavender vote? (Mostly) Labour, Politics, Groups, and Identities, online first. https://doi.org/10.1080/21565503.2020.1838304

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Twenge, J.M. and Blake, A.B. (2020) Increased support for same-sex marriage in the US: disentangling age, period, and cohort effects, Journal of Homosexuality, 68(11): 1174784. https://doi.org/10.1080/00918369.2019.1705672

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 1 San Francisco State University, , USA
  • | 2 University of Southampton, , UK
  • | 3 Independent Scholar, , USA

Content Metrics

May 2022 onwards Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 1 1 0
Full Text Views 7 7 7
PDF Downloads 5 5 5

Altmetrics

Dimensions