Why Europe’s Right Embraces Gay Rights

Issue Date January 2023
Volume 34
Issue 1
Page Numbers 50–64
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What explains diverging attitudes toward LGBTQ+ rights among right-wing parties? Driven by changing social values and declining religiosity, the center right has largely embraced gay rights. The religious right, whose voters remain devout, maintains its biblically rooted opposition to LGBTQ+ rights. The radical right is split. In Western Europe and Scandinavia, the radical right has embraced the rhetoric of gay rights as a dog whistle of islamophobia to justify anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant policies. When gay rights are seen as a “foreign” value, such as in Eastern and Southern Europe, the radical right opposes gay rights. Right-wing parties across the board are much less likely to embrace trans rights.

About the Authors

Gabriele Magni

Gabriele Magni is assistant professor of political science at Loyola Marymount University, where he is also founding director of LMU’s LGBTQ+ Politics Research Initiative and director of the Global Policy Institute.

View all work by Gabriele Magni

Andrew Reynolds

Andrew Reynolds is the author of The Children of Harvey Milk: How LGBTQ Politicians Changed the World (2018).

View all work by Andrew Reynolds