Social Policy & Politics Program | Memo

Pro-Marriage Legislators Win Elections

by Lanae Erickson Hatalsky and Sarah Trumble

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Do voters punish legislators who support marriage for gay couples? A look at the data from the 2012 election shows that the answer is NO.

  • 97% of those who voted for marriage and ran for reelection won, compared to only 90% of incumbent state legislators nationwide.
  • Of the 5 who lost, 2 were under investigation for corruption or misuse of taxpayer dollars, so only 3 of 146 lost without being under an ethics cloud (2%).
  • At least 85% of the 13 Republican legislators who voted for marriage since the 2010 election did not lose their seats because of it.

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