Legal Path Dependence and the Long Arm of the Religious State

Sodomy Provisions and Gay Rights across Nations and over Time

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Victor Asal, Udi Sommer
  • Albany, NY: 
    State University of New York Press
    , July
     208 pages.
     For other formats: Link to Publisher's Website.
Review coming soon!

Review by Amy Clanfield forthcoming.


A comparative examination of the political, historical, legal, and religious antecedents of penalties and discrimination against sexual minority groups around the world.

Bringing together theoretical perspectives from both comparative politics and public law, this book examines the reasons why certain countries criminalize same-sex activities while others have carved into law the requirement that sexual minority communities be protected. The authors break new ground by using cross-national yearly data over decades—focusing on sodomy laws, death penalty provisions for same-sex sexual relations, and sexual discrimination practices—to develop a Gay Rights Index comparing treatment of such groups in various parts of the world. The book includes legal and large-N analyses, historical examples, and case studies underscoring important changes and key trends during the last several decades. Also highlighted are the significant human rights violations still being committed in various parts of the world against sexual minorities, and the continuing role religion plays.

About the Author(s)/Editor(s)/Translator(s): 

Victor Asal is chair of public ddministration and associate professor of political science at the University at Albany, State University of New York and the coauthor (with Paul G. Harwood) of Educating the First Digital Generation.

Udi Sommer is associate professor of political science at Tel Aviv University and a member of both the Blavatnik Interdisciplinary Cyber Research Center and Israeli Young Academy. He is the author of Supreme Court Agenda Setting: Strategic Behavior During Case Selection.

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