Panel Paper: Pride and Prejudice: Same-Sex Marriage Legalization Announcements and LGBT Hate-Crimes

Saturday, November 9, 2019
I.M Pei Tower: Majestic Level, Savoy (Sheraton Denver Downtown)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Zehra Valencia, University of South Carolina

We examine whether same-sex marriage legalization announcements impact the occurrence of LGBT hate-crimes. We exploit variation in the timing of same-sex marriage legalization announcements across states, using a difference-in-differences design. We find that a same-sex marriage legalization announcement leads to a reduction in the LGBT hate-crime rate of 0.111 per 100,000 people from a base of 0.3. This result is mostly driven by reductions in violent hate-crimes. There is also evidence of a reduction in property hate-crimes. Additional analyses indicate that the effect is stronger in counties with a large share of likely perpetrators. Our results show suggestive evidence that same-sex marriage bans have the opposite effect on the LGBT hate-crime rate. The results demonstrate that salient LGBT-specific policy announcements are effective at reducing hate-crimes based on sexual orientation.