First Advisor

Brian Renauer

Term of Graduation

Spring 2018

Date of Publication

Spring 6-8-2018

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.) in Criminology and Criminal Justice


Criminology and Criminal Justice




Sexual minorities -- Crimes against, Hate crimes -- Press coverage, Same-sex marriage -- Law and legislation, Homophobia



Physical Description

1 online resource (iv, 55 pages)


While activists and others have argued that the legitimization of biased attitudes and stereotypes by political leaders foments violence against minority groups, criminological research in the U.S. has focused more on "threat" hypotheses that view hate crime as a retaliatory response to perceived gains or encroachment of targeted groups. Another view suggests that heightened public visibility of hate crimes or other bias issues, usually in the form of media coverage, increases hate crimes. This study compares the effect on anti-LGB crimes of events representing political threat (a court decision legalizing marriage equality) and political legitimization of bias (passage of a ban on marriage equality), both of which occurred in California in 2008. The study also tests effects of media coverage prior to the ban on marriage equality. Results showed a statistically significant increase in anti-LGB hate crimes after the ban on same-sex marriage. There was no effect on anti-LGB crime counts after the court decision to legalize marriage equality, or during the media campaign leading up to the vote to ban marriage equality.


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