Women’s Rights and LGBT Rights

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The power changes in America have been very dramatic. In the 1950’s, America has changed the social and economic view on electoral politics and affects till this day. As years go by there continues to be a lot of achievements. We can start with interest groups organization for new rights, citizens and political institutions had a great impact on the electoral results in the US. This helped rights expand, civil rights, women's rights, and LGBT rights. These groups wanted to fight the politics for their own rights. The mobilization tactics were used for efficacy, selective benefits and voting laws. It was still difficult to use these methods because policies for the public had already changed from new economic and social issues. Many people say the “culture war” affected the United States elections from the representation and voting. This will engage on the 1965 voting rights benchmark mobilization factors, methods, economic and social problems. Give us the Ballot: Modern Voting Rights in America by Ari Berman uses the 1965 Voting Rights Act to discuss disputes on mobilization. It describes the causes and effects that occurred. The turning point was in 2005 when the ballot was renewed numerous times. Shelby Co. vs Holder (2013) is a prime example of the motives of laws and section 5 of federal elections. All in the family: The Realignment of American Democracy since the 1960s by Robert O. The self-expresses of who is under control of the mantra of the family values on who controls the government. The most efficient way to making policies is having a unified government. These books will discuss the matters on political participation and electoral politics. This comes to show how a single amendment made a huge stamp on American history but more importantly how it changed its political foundation. With issues of racial discrimination, women equality discrimination, abortion discrimination and LGBT discrimination in America, changes were made due to strong Civil Rights movements getting involved.

The social and economic landscape of America has changed electoral politics from the 1950’s till today. In the past six decades there are many things we can look back on what helped transform modern day electoral politics. The main issues were socially being able to vote. Berman mentions, “One hundred years after the end of the Civil War, the VRA guaranteed the franchise for black Americans and other minority groups and fulfilled the long-overdue promise of the Fifteenth Amendment of 1870 which states that the right to vote shall not be denied.” (Berman, 6) As stated, it took 100 years after the Civil War in order for everyone to be allowed to vote. It’s clear that there were many battles that had to happened for change, and this is past decades alone. Berman continues, “The VRA quickly became known as the most important piece of civil rights legislation in the twentieth century and one of the most transformational laws ever passed by Congress.” (Berman, 6) This act gave more freedom for people to vote and eliminates the discrimination of discouraging others to vote. Some examples are suspending literacy tests or mandating states, so the federal government can make electoral changes.

The act was able to limit problems, but as time went on new problems appeared with voter discrimination. Berman explains, “Segregationist whites, known as Redeemers, regained power and quickly targeted black voters, first through violence and fraud and then via devices like good character tests, poll taxes and stringent residency requirements.” (Berman, 17) To find other ways of diminishing voting, local government and states had to make some efforts of resolving it quick. “Even though HAVA allocated $3.9 billion for states to modernize their election systems, count election officials in Ohio allocated far fewer voting machines than necessary to accommodate the high voter turnout” (Berman, 220) The major cities in Ohio were the main objectives, but younger voters had to wait almost ten hours to get a vote in. Help America Vote Act is an act that is supposed to help fight against voter discrimination and fraud.

In 1965, the Voting Rights Act became a great impact for interest groups and the affect in made on the outcomes of electoral votes. As well as the mobilization of reshaping America’s political parties and its public policies. When Johnson was President he fought for a new American society and Martin Luther King Jr.’s fought for civil liberties, this was able to happen due to the fact of voting rights changes. They were both able to fight causing a magnificent impact the electoral vote. The act being passed made mobilization and interest groups become the main roles for public policy and campaigns. An example would be the National Abortion Rights Action League, which was founded in 1969 to fight for abortion rights. There was really never a choice for women when it came to reproduction, they were expected to have the baby and if they decided not to they were socially exiled. The goal for this group was to fight for women rights but the main objective was to get women to have a choice of abortion. Viewing interest groups like NARAL, they engaged in the battle to help shape public policy and the political parties. Robert Self mentions in his monograph, “By the summer of 1973, NARAL and the ACLU Women’s Rights Project had filed suit in New York, Massachusetts, Texas, New Jersey, Ohio and half a dozen other states which together accounted for more than half the national population against public hospitals that refused to perform abortions.” (Self, 289) This movement for abortion became so big that it made it fairly easy to be acceptable, but Medicaid funds was the form of payment used for abortions. Many people did not like what was going on, mainly because they did not support abortion and received Medicaid. A political movement emerged and politicians took action, “In 1975 Henry Hyde (R-IL) along with Representative Robert Bauman (R-MD) and Senator Dewey Bartlett (R-OK) introduced resolutions prohibiting the use of Medicaid funds to perform abortions.” (Self, 289) This later became known as the Hyde Amendment and, “thus represented the national version of a tactic that had been employed at the state level since at least 1970, when New York’s reformed abortion law first went into effect.” (Self, 289) With abortion rights coinciding with the Democratic Party, it was certain that the Republican Party would take action since it is not part of their ideology.

The gay/lesbian rights socially changed citizens, which had an effect on reshaping public policy and transformed political parties today. In 1970’s politician Harvey Malik, who was openly gay ran for city supervisor in San Francisco to fight for gay civil rights. At this time gays and lesbians made an effort of taking their cases to city councils and state legislatures, “The Advocate optimistically called 1975 a year to remember when gay rights progress shifted and expanded.” (Self, 241) The Gay Activist Alliance, also known as the GAA, began pushing for Democratic Party members, “Activists in Chicago and Los Angeles followed suit, forming GAA groups or like-minded organizations and pressing for city council action. Across the country activists sought to fashion a liberationist politics disentangled from the splintering radical American left.” (Self, 224) With that happening many of the states reformed sexual criminal codes. Some cities passed gay civil rights and even the right wing newspapers began showing their support. With efforts of fighting for gays, the bill was not passed in state legislatures and opposing ideologies took action. In the monograph Self he explains, “the introduction of such bills in Oregon, California, New York, Connecticut, Colorado, Massachusetts and four other states awakened fierce opposition.” (Self, 241) Legislators intended proposing antigay bills, like in the state of Pennsylvania when they began receiving popular support and Louisiana passed a ban on same-sex marriage. Antigay violence grew in the next couple years to arson cases across the country, “fires had burned several Metropolitan Community Churches, the GAA office in New York, and a gay bar in New Orleans, where more than twenty people died.” (Self, 242)

America’s social landscape was progressively changing the conservatives and the Republican Party did not want to accept this. The citizens and interest groups created many public policies due to being involved in the electorate. This would then expand to the church’s and effected the nature of elections. During the time Jerry Brown was running for governor in the mid 1970’s, he promised to the Society of Individual Rights to sign a consensual adult sex law that was passed by California legislature early. When he was elected, he signed the bill into law, and then caused for the Coalition of Christian Citizens to speak out, “a group called the Coalition of Christian Citizens announced a referendum campaign to repeal the new law. Religious response to the Moscone-Brown law revealed an emerging schism among California Christians, one that mirrored a national split.” (Self, 242) Other similar groups worked through Bible bookstores in 1975 and 1976 to gain media attention but did not gain enough signatures to make action towards state legislature. This shows how much change happened socially and economically transformed electoral politics through political institutions, interest groups and citizens.

Another problem United States faced was women discrimination and inequality in the workplace. In the 1960’s the topic on family and work collided during the time women were, “constituting more than one-third of the paid workforce” (Self, 20) and faced issues on low wages, insufficient child care funds and sex segregation. When President Johnson implemented his New Frontier and Great Society programs, it caused women to become unequal in the workforce. The main goal was to help unemployed fathers support their families and young men can get an education so this occurrence does not happen again. Male dominance was very prominent in the United States. Robert Self mentions in his monograph, “In 1961, President Kennedy fulfilled a long-standing goal of the Women’s Bureau when he created the President’s Commission on the Status of Women” (Self, 21) Congress passed an Equal Pay Act after a couple of years, which was in effect since World War II. Even though sex segregation was still happening, many women made up very high percentages as teachers, nurses, secretaries etc. With progress being made for equality most women did not receive many labor options, “Women needed access to the entire occupational ladder-not special treatment as women but equal treatment as workers.” (Self, 22) Some organizations like the National Woman’s Party had rallies to fight for what they wanted. Looking into the economy more, it was realized that being fully committed in the labor force coexists with class. “For middle-class women, the problem was forced domesticity and denial of access to the market. For working-class women, the problem was forced market labor and the denial of full-time domesticity.” (Self, 23) Though it was seemed to be a loss for many, activists and interest groups gained political attention.

Congress executed the Voting Rights Act, which stops people from discriminating on voting. This allowed United States to create many changes in the 1950’s till this day. At a time of racial discrimination, women equality discrimination, abortion discrimination and LGBT discrimination in America, strong Civil Rights movements emerged to fight a battle of disagreement. The dramatic events that occur reshaped electoral politics. There were many interest groups that appeared ranging from GAA, the NWP to HAVA have all mobilized and changed the ways electoral votes are now. At first the battle for rights were tough because many did not agree. Many groups failed to get signatures in order for Bills to be passed. It was clear that there needed to be lots of support and convincing to be able to fight these culture war. When the culture wars were beaten, they would give a new look on the democracy and more equal opportunities. Allowing everyone to be given equal treatment and no voter feeling discriminated. Over the decades of America having it’s encounters of trouble, changes were made. 

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Women's Rights And LGBT Rights. (2022, Apr 25). Retrieved May 20, 2024 , from

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