Jenifer Whitten-Woodring

Additional Information

Authors: Jenifer Whitten-Woodring, Celin Carlo-Gonzalez and Christopher McKallagat

Date Issued: September 2017

Language:  en_US

Publisher: Southwestern Social Science Association

Type:  Article

Subjects: media freedom, internet access, gay rights

Social Science Quarterly, "The Rainbow Effect: Media Freedom, Internet Access, and Gay Rights


What accounts for the variation in the status of gay rights across countries?We consider the effects of media freedom and Internet access and hypothesize that it is the combination of the two that matters for promoting gay rights. Methods. Using cross-national time-series data drawn from a variety of sources, we test our hypotheses using a measure of lesbian, gay, and bisexual legal equality. Results. Our results indicate that the effects of media freedom and Internet access on gay rights are each conditional on the other. It is the interaction of media freedom and Internet access that has a statistically significant and positive effect on gay rights; without media freedom, Internet access has no significant effect and vice versa. Conclusion. All else being equal, we observe greater respect for gay rights in those countries featuring a combination of both free media and higher rates of Internet access.


Social Science Quarterly, Volume 98, Number 3, September 2017