"Queerly Beloved, We are Gathered here Today….”: An Examination of the Extension of Rights to Sexual Minorities in Latin America
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AbstractGiven the history of the region, the extension of rights to sexual minorities in Latin America may be somewhat unexpected. That being said, the “domino effect” of both negative and positive rights to the LGBT community has been quick and progressive in comparison to other regions. An interesting theoretical gap emerges when in trying to explain the extension of rights in the region, considering the historically strong influence of the Catholic Church as well the role of “machismo” as an informal institution. Using a historical institutionalist framework, this paper argues that the recent “domino effect” of rights being extended to sexual minorities in the region can be best explained by significant changes to the political opportunity structure, which include: the transition to democracy, the framing of the issue in terms of citizenship and human rights, the shift to the left in the region which allowed for strategic alliance building, and finally, the decreasing ability of the Catholic Church to act as a veto-player in terms of the policy process in the region.