Bureaucratic Responsiveness to LGBT Americans

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Authors Kenneth Lowande
Paper Category
Paper Abstract Marriage rights were extended to same-sex couples in the United States in 2015. However, anecdotes of bureaucratic non-compliance (in the form of bias or denial of license issuance) raise the possibility that de jure marriage equality has not led to equality in practice. We investigate this by conducting the only known national audit experiment of local-level marriage license granting officials in the United States. These officials vary in the constituencies they serve, as well as how they are selected, allowing us to evaluate longstanding hypotheses about bureaucratic responsiveness. Overall, we find no evidence of systematic discrimination against same-sex couplesregardless of responsiveness measure, institutions, local-level ideology, or prior state legal history. We find, however, that among same-sex couples, officials tended to be more responsive to lesbian couples. Our results support recent research that has found public officials tasked primarily with service provision show less evidence of discrimination than politicians.
Date of publication 2019
Code Programming Language R

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