Roddrick A. Colvin
National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, New York,
New York, U.S.A.
According to the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), for the 2002 election gay men and lesbians represented 5% of the electorate (HRC, 2002). As a voting block, 5% can be the difference between political success and failure. Comparatively, in the 2000 elections African Americans comprised of 10% of the electorate, 7% were Hispanic, and 2% were Asian (HRC, 2002). According to HRC, the gay community voted 71 % Democrat, 19% Republican, 4.1 % Libertarian, and 2.7% Green. The overwhelming support for the Democratic party and its candidates is not surprising. Democrats have traditionally enjoyed political support among several minority communities, including African American, Hispanic, and Jews. Likewise, gay men and lesbians, for the most part, have been aligned with the Democrats.
Despite the size and level of support, it is unclear if the Democratic party has delivered policy outcomes to the gay community. Anecdotal evidence suggested that Democrats have been more supportive than Republicans in their support of gay rights issues. However, no systematic comparison has been conducted, nor has the political party been analyzed to determine its role in policy adoption. The assumption has been that Democrats have been more supportive than Republicans and that party affiliation influenced policy