Beyond backlash: Assessing the impact of judicial decisions on LGBT rights

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129 Scopus citations


This article evaluates the widespread scholarly claim that the courtroom victories of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender rights movement have invariably provoked a counterproductive political backlash. Those victories have indeed provoked conservative countermobilization, but that has not been their only or even their most prominent effect. Assessing the political reaction to the movement's judicial victories, the policy impact of those victories, and the alternative strategic paths that were available to the movement at the outset, I argue that here, as elsewhere, legal mobilization has sometimes been a promising avenue for pursuing policy changes whose prospects were otherwise quite limited.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)151-186
Number of pages36
JournalLaw and Society Review
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Law


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