Publication Date


Journal or Book Title

American Political Science Review


Scholars have long questioned whether and how courts influence society. We contribute to this debate by investigating the ability of judicial decisions to shape issue attention and affect toward courts in media serving the LGBTQ+ community. To do so, we compiled an original database of LGBTQ+ magazine coverage of court cases over an extended period covering major decisions, including Lawrence v. Texas (2003), Goodridge v. Massachusetts Department of Public Health (2003), and Lofton v. Secretary of Department of Children & Family Services (2004). We argue these cases influence the volume and tone of LGBTQ+ media coverage. Combining computational social science techniques with qualitative analysis, we find increased attention to same-sex marriage after the decisions in Lawrence, Goodridge, and Lofton, and the coalescence of discussions of courts around same-sex marriage after Lawrence. We also show how LGBTQ+ media informed readers about the political and legal implications of struggles over marriage equality.



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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.