Winning for LGBT Rights Laws, Losing for Same-Sex Marriage: The LGBT Movement and Campaign Tactics

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Contribution to Book

Publication Date



Using historical evidence to compare the LGBT movement's earlier success with the difficulty of fighting same-sex marriage bans, this chapter examines why tactics developed to fight ballot measures during the LGBT movement's winning streak have not worked effectively against same-sex marriage bans. Existing accounts of marriage bans and other antigay ballot measure pay scant attention to the role of campaigns themselves in influencing outcomes, which is contrary to how many LGBT organizers and activists understand the importance of campaign tactics. This study examines both factors internal and external to the social movement that contribute to the success or failure of ballot-measure campaigns, including voter demographics, counter-movement mobilization, and campaign tactics. Drawing on existing social movement theory about success, I demonstrate that both internal factors having to do with social movement organizing and external factors outside of the control of the movement can account for why same-sex marriage ballot measures have been so difficult to fight.


Mary Bernstein & Verta Taylor


University of Minnesota Press




9781452939629, 9780816681716

Publication Information

The Marrying Kind?: Debating Same-Sex Marriage within the Lesbian and Gay Movement

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