chapter  7
14 Pages

Federalism and LGBT Rights in the US and Canada: A Comparative Policy Analysis

ByMiriam Smith

This chapter discusses the meaning and nature of federalism and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) policy issues in the US and Canada, before moving on to a detailed policy discussion of two particular areas of LGBT policy: criminal law and same-sex marriage. The federal government in Canada has more power to effect change in the lesbian and gay rights policy area than does the federal government in the US. The case of LGBT rights in Canada and the US demonstrates both sides of the argument about federalism and public policy. The criminalisation of same-sex sexual behaviour in the US and Canada occurred in part through sodomy laws, as well as through other criminal laws. Like criminal law, the determination of the capacity to marry is left to the States in the US system and to the federal government in Canada.