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    Spatial and temporal diffusion of local antidiscrimination policies for sexual orientation.

    Klawitter MM; Hammer B

    Seattle, Washington, University of Washington, Seattle Population Research Center, 1998 Jan. 25 p. (Seattle Population Research Center Working Paper No. 98-6)

    In 1972, East Lansing Michigan adopted the first public policy banning discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. Since then, hundreds of cities and counties and a few states have followed suit. These laws and policies have banned discrimination in private employment, government employment, housing, public accommodations, education, and credit. Recent federal attention focused on these policies as the Supreme Court ruled that states could not selectively ban local governments from adopting sexual orientation protections (Romer v. Evans, 1996) and the U.S. Senate turned down a federal antidiscrimination policy by one vote (Employment Nondiscrimination Act vote, 1996). This paper tells the story of the diffusion over time and space of local antidiscrimination policies for sexual orientation. Over time, the rate of new adoptions could be influenced by previous adoptions or by changes in public opinion or political conditions. Neighboring jurisdictions may influence adoptions because policy-makers or citizens learn about policies from near-by jurisdictions or because political interest group organization efforts spill over into nearby areas. Alternatively, policies may be adopted in close jurisdictions because they are similar in economic or demographic characteristics. Adoptions by encompassing jurisdictions could dampen the demand for local policies. Previous research has investigated the effects of political and demographic determinants on the passage of these policies. No studies have yet investigated the geographic and temporal diffusion of the antidiscrimination laws. (excerpt)
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