Political Science


Law and Politics | Sexuality and the Law


The legalization of gay marriage has become a contentious issue in the United States, especially for individual state governments. The variation between gay marriage policies in US states ranges from complete ban of all partnership benefits to complete marriage equality for homosexual couples. This study seeks to explain this variation by looking at the possible mechanical factors that could affect state gay marriage policies. Specifically, this study looks at the influence the presence or lack of the citizens’ initiative process has on the gay marriage movement. The sample is seven states that have previously or currently legalized gay marriage through at least one branch of the state government. The results show that a correlation does exist between the citizens’ initiative process and the repeal or retention of state gay marriage laws. A state in which citizens’ do not have access to the citizens’ initiative will be more likely to retain gay marriage laws than a state where the initiative process is allowed.

Abstract Format




Faculty Mentor

Dr. Ross Burkhart