ABSTRACT. LGBT rights have expanded across the Western Hemisphere, albeit unevenly. This article seeks to explain this uneven progress. It argues that important tenets in the literature on the expansion of social rights deserve to be revised to account for this variation in outcome. Specifically, 1) higher income is important, but it is not a sufficient condition to explain the expansion of LGBT rights; 2) social movements are essential for expanding LGBT rights, but their influence expands if they operate under favorable political institutions (competitive political parties, federalism, and independent and progressive courts); and 3) religion continues to be the most important attitudinal and institutional obstacle, but the veto power of religion is most strongly felt where Protestants and Evangelicals are dominant, growing, or have a strong presence in Congress.

Keywords: LGBT rights; Latin America; the Caribbean; income; social movement; religion

How to cite: Corrales, Javier (2017), “Understanding the Uneven Spread of LGBT Rights in Latin America and the Caribbean, 1999–2013,” Journal of Research in Gender Studies 7(1): 52–82.

Received 9 June 2016 • Received in revised form 26 November 2016
Accepted 26 November 2016 • Available online 20 December 2016


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