Indiana University SPEA Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy University of Pennsylvania AIR American University

Panel Paper: Gender Equality and Marriage Equality – Are They a Perfect Match?

Thursday, November 12, 2015 : 3:30 PM
Zamora (Hyatt Regency Miami)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Meika R. Berlan, University of North Carolina at Charlotte
Gender equality has been examined for its role in influencing an array of issues that societies face to better understand how changes in gender roles and expanded opportunities for women affect sociopolitical norms and behaviors. Expanding on this line of inquiry, gender equality as a key variable of interest, is introduced into an analysis of marriage equality policies, to determine whether gender based inequalities are relevant and significant factors that influence policy decisions around LGBT issues. Utilizing data from a variety of government sources, this study focuses on two key components of gender inequality in the US – wages and political representation – to analyze the impact that these gender based inequalities have on the adoption and diffusion of marriage equality policies at the state level. The interconnected relationship between gender roles and marriage indicate that as bifurcated gender roles break down [leading to greater gender equality], norms around marriage diversify, thereby creating an opportunity for the acceptance and support of marriage equality policies to surface and propagate. This quantitative analysis accounts for important state level factors, to highlight the unique role that gender equality plays in shaping the adoption of public policies regarding same sex marriage. The findings from this study are important and useful, as these public policies have far-reaching implications for individuals, organizations, and governments.