Anti-Gay Ballot Initiatives

Anti-gay ballot initiatives (voter referendums) are designed to limit or reduce the equality of LGBT people.  These initiatives are accompanied by political campaigns that serve to inflame the passions of voters on both sides of the issue.  The effects of these political campaigns can be harmful to the LGBT community as they discover the depth of prejudice within their state or local community.


MPIPP has developed this fact sheet on the mental health impact of anti-gay ballot initiatives on LGBT people, their families, and their allies. MPIPP fact sheets generally contain key points of representative research that is cited on the second page.

See also:  Same-sex marriage topic in LGBT issues for additional information that is specific to “same-sex marriage” equality campaigns.


Shown here are examples of research and reports or surveys that address the psychological impact of anti-gay voter referendums. The research shown is generally representative of a larger body of peer-reviewed research.  Please note that not all individuals or families are affected in the same way. Also, most of the reports shown here also have extensive bibliographical references that can be reviewed for a more complete analysis of this topic.

  • American Psychological Association, Anti Same-Sex Marriage Amendments Spark Psychological Distress among GLBT Adults and Their Families, According to New Research. This 2008 press release shares that not only are LGBT people harmed by anti-LGBT campaigns over issues, such as same sex marriage, but their families and allies also experience secondary minority stress.  Available online at:
  • Arm, J.R., Horne, S.G., & Levitt, H.M. (2009).  Negotiating Connection to GLBT Experience: Family Members’ Experience of Anti-GLBT Movements and Policies. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 56(1), 82–96. doi: 10.1037/a0012813
  • Riggle, E. D. B., Rostosky, S. S., & Horne, S. G. (2010). Psychological distress, well-being, and legal recognition in same-sex couple relationships. Journal of Family Psychology, 24(1), 82-86. doi:
  • Russell, G. M. (2000). Voted out: The psychological consequences of antigay politics.New York: New York University Press.
  • Russell, G. M., & Richards, J. A. (2003). Stressor and resilience factors for lesbians, gay men, and bisexuals confronting antigay politics. American Journal of Community Psychology, 31, 313-327.


This list of resources and organizations (in no particular order) is designed to enable our website readers to find other information on the topic being described. Many of the organizations listed here also have resource guides and information available on this topic. MPIPP does not recommend nor endorse organizations by providing helpful links nor can we list programs or projects of political parties.  If you are aware of other resources and links that are non-partisan and appropriate, please use the “contact us” page to send the link for consideration.

  • Out & Equal Workplace Advocates.  This organization educates and empowers organizations, human resources professionals, employee resource groups, and individual employees through programs and services that result in equal policies, opportunities, practices, and benefits in the workplace regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, expression, or characteristics.   Website: