An ACES Lecture by Andrew Reynolds: Explaining divergence in the embrace of LGBTQ rights among right wing parties in the OSCE
No mainstream political party robustly advocated for gay rights for the first century of modern democracy’s evolution. Then, gathering momentum in the 1970s, a cluster of left wing and liberal Western European parties begin to embrace gay and lesbian rights as part of a new project injecting individual liberty within collective social democratic norms.
These early adopters were joined by a few conservative parties in the 1990s and 2000s. Some of these center right converts became greater evangelical true-believers in the gay equality cause than the early adopters on the left. Conservative parties in Scandinavia, the Netherlands, and Britain, trumpeted their newly found enthusiasm for gay rights as a badge of modernity and political maturity.
There is a clear pattern of embrace driven by changing social values, the idiosyncratic agency of leadership, and declining religiosity. Today the right wing lesbian, gay or bisexual parliamentarian is far from an exception. Since 1976, nearly 150 self-identifying LGB parliamentarians from right of center parties have taken office.