Are African American Members of Congress more Likely to Support Gay Rights?
Featuring Benjamin Bishin, Associate Professor, Department of Political Science, UC Riverside
& Andrea Silva, Graduate Student, UC Riverside
Tuesday, October 30, 2012
UCLA School of Law, Room 1314
*Lunch will be provided.
Research on descriptive representation frequently examines the extent to which minority members of Congress act to advance policy that benefits members of their racial or ethnic group. Overlooked is whether the benefits of descriptive representation might be even further reaching—that descriptive representatives might act as advocates for the extension of rights and liberties to other members of marginalized groups that have a shared experience facing discrimination. More specifically, we examine whether increased descriptive representation for one group might lead to enhanced substantive representation for another. This paper examines this question by examining the extent to which African American members of Congress support legislation that advances the rights of gay and lesbian Americans. Our results suggest that black members of Congress are more likely to support policy important to the gay community.