On SAGE Insight: Hate Crime Legislation Shapes Gay and Lesbian Target Groups: An Analysis of Social Construction, Law, and Policy

 

From Criminal Justice Policy Review 

Analyzing the effectiveness of hate crime laws and assessing their impacts is necessary, yet neglected.  This article is the first to attempt to quantitatively assess the impacts of hate crime laws on included social groups. Supporters of hate crime legislation argue the laws are a positive development designed to promote social equality and encourage political participation. Critics claim the laws are patronizing and disempowering.

This research explores the addition of sexual orientation to state hate crime law and how inclusion of this target group affects the social construction of gays and lesbians. Results indicate that the inclusion of sexual orientation in state hate crime laws failed to have a positive impact upon the social or political status of gays and lesbians as a target group.

Abstract

Supporters of hate crime legislation argue the laws are a positive development designed to promote social equality and encourage political participation. Critics claim the laws are patronizing and disempowering. Existing research addresses neither the impact of hate crime laws on designated social groups nor attempts to verify assumptions about legislation and the social and political status of protected minorities. Sexual orientation, one of the most controversial categories, resulted in considerable social and political debate. This research explores the addition of sexual orientation to state hate crime law and how inclusion of this target group affects the social construction of gays and lesbians. Data are drawn from a sample of 12 daily newspapers in six states. Content and time-series analyses were used to explore social construction. The results indicate that inclusion in hate crime protections fails to have a positive impact on the construction of the group, and the discussion offers important policy implications.

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Article details
Jace L. Valcore and Mary Dodge
How Hate Crime Legislation Shapes Gay and Lesbian Target Groups: An Analysis of Social Construction, Law, and Policy
Criminal Justice Policy Review 0887403416651924, first published on June 14, 2016 doi:10.1177/0887403416651924

     
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