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Abstract

Although battles over gay and lesbian rights have appeared prominently in political arenas, scholars have created few empirical studies on gay and lesbian activism. To address this absence, this quantitative study identified factors that inspired greater electoral engagement among gays and lesbians in the United States (n = 285). After integrating “resource,” “mobilizing,” and “framing” variables into regressions, this study found that electoral activism was inspired by many sorts of motivators. In sum, activist tendencies were swayed by educational levels, perceptions of political potency, a desire to conceal sexual orientations, surviving hate crimes, and joining certain political groups. Interestingly, this study supported “new social movement” theories that downplay economic factors as predictors of involvement in gay and lesbian rights campaigns.