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Book part
Publication date: 26 May 2015

D. Mark Wilson

To highlight some of the tensions and complexities that persist in President Obama’s widening support of Marriage Equality during his second administration.

Abstract

Purpose

To highlight some of the tensions and complexities that persist in President Obama’s widening support of Marriage Equality during his second administration.

Methodology/approach

My primary research design uses autoethnographic detail and draws on two methodological frameworks: (1) the “personal is political” use of subjective voice in feminist theory (particularly in the writings of black feminists), and (2) the postmodern view of complex, “messy” and conflictual intersections of race, gender, sexuality, in the writings of critical race and queer theorists.

Findings

My primary finding highlights how macro social structural processes related to white privilege and racial domination and how micro cultural narratives contributing to homophobia and heteronormativity in African American religious circles creates both positive and questionable views of President Obama’s support of Marriage Equality, among African Americans heterosexuals, and within the African American LGBTIQ community.

Originality/value

The primary value of this chapter contributes to the discussion on the persistent tensions between religion, race, and sexuality, which make fragile allies between supporters of Marriage Equality and supporters of Civil Rights and racial justice.

Details

Race in the Age of Obama: Part 2
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78350-982-9

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Book part
Publication date: 12 June 2018

Douglas NeJaime

This chapter uncovers the destabilizing and transformative dimensions of a legal process commonly described as assimilation. Lawyers working on behalf of a marginalized…

Abstract

This chapter uncovers the destabilizing and transformative dimensions of a legal process commonly described as assimilation. Lawyers working on behalf of a marginalized group often argue that the group merits inclusion in dominant institutions, and they do so by casting the group as like the majority. Scholars have criticized claims of this kind for affirming the status quo and muting significant differences of the excluded group. Yet, this chapter shows how these claims may also disrupt the status quo, transform dominant institutions, and convert distinctive features of the excluded group into more widely shared legal norms. This dynamic is observed in the context of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) rights, and specifically through attention to three phases of LGBT advocacy: (1) claims to parental recognition of unmarried same-sex parents, (2) claims to marriage, and (3) claims regarding the consequences of marriage for same-sex parents. The analysis shows how claims that appeared assimilationist – demanding inclusion in marriage and parenthood by arguing that same-sex couples are similarly situated to their different-sex counterparts – subtly challenged and reshaped legal norms governing parenthood, including marital parenthood. While this chapter focuses on LGBT claims, it uncovers a dynamic that may exist in other settings.

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Special Issue: Law and the Imagining of Difference
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78756-030-7

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Article
Publication date: 27 March 2009

Fiona Kelly

This paper seeks to explore the attitudes of lesbian mothers towards same‐sex marriage, focusing in particular on how they perceive the relationship between marriage and…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper seeks to explore the attitudes of lesbian mothers towards same‐sex marriage, focusing in particular on how they perceive the relationship between marriage and children's best interests.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper draws on 36 semi‐structured interviews with lesbian mothers living in British Columbia and Alberta, comparing their views on marriage and children's best interests with those articulated by lesbian and gay litigants during the Canadian same‐sex marriage campaign.

Findings

It was found that few of the mothers made any positive link between having married parents and children's best interests. Only a quarter of the couples had married or intended to marry.

Research limitations/implications

Whether the views expressed in this research will be embraced by the next generation of lesbian mothers is difficult to predict. Prospective lesbian mothers will be able to marry before having children, will likely experience greater societal pressure to marry, and may have weaker ties to feminist politics. The issue should be revisited to see whether the views expressed in the research resonate with the next generation of mothers.

Practical implications

Law reform directed at same‐sex families should not presume that lesbians perceive there to be any positive relationship between marriage and children's best interests.

Originality/value

The paper provides empirical data on how lesbian mothers understand the relationship, if any, between having married parents and children's best interests. It challenges the universality of the very traditional views expressed in the same‐sex marriage litigation, and argues that amongst the wider lesbian mothering community attitudes towards the relationship between marriage and parenting are considerably more diverse.

Details

Equal Opportunities International, vol. 28 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0261-0159

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Book part
Publication date: 30 June 2017

Cyril Ghosh

In this chapter, I suggest that Connecticut’s and other states’ recent discontinuation of civil unions in the name of marriageequality” marginalizes and demeans marriage

Abstract

In this chapter, I suggest that Connecticut’s and other states’ recent discontinuation of civil unions in the name of marriageequality” marginalizes and demeans marriage – rejecting people who may nonetheless wish to codify their intimate partnerships – for purposes of legal “incidents,” including rights and privileges, like hospital visitation rights, testimonial privilege, inheritance rights, etc. In doing so, I also call for a rejuvenation of the practice of granting civil union licenses in these states.

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Studies in Law, Politics, and Society
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78714-811-6

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Book part
Publication date: 22 February 2011

Douglas NeJaime

Within the legal mobilization framework, sociolegal scholars identify elite support as a key indirect benefit of litigation. Court-centered strategies generate support…

Abstract

Within the legal mobilization framework, sociolegal scholars identify elite support as a key indirect benefit of litigation. Court-centered strategies generate support from influential state and private actors, and this support helps a movement to achieve its goals. Instead of assuming elite support to be a decidedly positive step in a movement’s trajectory, a more contextual analysis situates elite support as a complex, dynamic factor that movement advocates attempt to manage. Such support may at times create political and legal risks that jeopardize a movement's progress. My analysis of the marriage equality movement suggests a tentative typology with which to approach elite support: Elite support appears generally productive for a movement when it leads to action consistent with the movement's strategy. On the other hand, elite support may pose significant risk when it prompts action inconsistent with the movement's strategic plan, even if it is consistent with the movement's substantive positions.

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Special Issue Social Movements/Legal Possibilities
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-0-85724-826-8

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Book part
Publication date: 26 May 2015

Ravi K. Perry and Joseph P. McCormick

To identify the Obama administration’s policy responsiveness to the (African) American LGBT communities.

Abstract

Purpose

To identify the Obama administration’s policy responsiveness to the (African) American LGBT communities.

Methodology/approach

Theory development and content analysis.

Findings

Civic universalism, as a theory, can explain President Obama’s evolution on his support for marriage rights for same-sex couples. Obama employed the concept of e pluribus unum in his many approaches to LGBT responsive politics.

Research limitations

To date, theoretical development within the social sciences of LGBT policy responsiveness is limited.

Originality/value

Very little is written on the subject of LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgendered) politics in the 21st century. The study of the LGBT experience generally has been devoid of political variables because of a lack of attention toward LGBT issues, until recently, in national political party agendas. In this chapter, we review some of the contours of the LGBT community’s fight for political recognition in the United States as a precursor to the election and reelection of President Obama. Drawing parallels with presidential responsiveness toward Blacks in their quest for rights, we examine the Obama administration’s LGBT public policy initiatives as administrative policy and programs. We conclude by identifying new areas of research to explore on LGBT politics.

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Race in the Age of Obama: Part 2
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78350-982-9

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Book part
Publication date: 3 January 2015

Joseph Mello

This chapter examines how opponents of same-sex marriage have used rights discourse to construct an identity of themselves as victims, and construct gays and lesbians as…

Abstract

This chapter examines how opponents of same-sex marriage have used rights discourse to construct an identity of themselves as victims, and construct gays and lesbians as deviant “others.” I find that conservative rights discourse has been more effective outside the courtroom than in it. This is because these arguments rely on implicit discriminatory stereotypes which are frequently exposed under the scrutiny of dispassionate judicial actors. However, in a popular arena, they are free to operate with considerably less scrutiny. Here, rights discourse is used to mask discriminatory stereotypes and lend legitimacy to positions that would be rejected if made explicitly.

Details

Studies in Law, Politics, and Society
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78441-568-6

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Book part
Publication date: 25 January 2021

Timothy Madigan

Attitudes and beliefs towards marriage and family held by Chinese and American college students were compared in this study. The primary dimensions included whether to

Abstract

Attitudes and beliefs towards marriage and family held by Chinese and American college students were compared in this study. The primary dimensions included whether to marry, age to marry, number of desired children, age to have children, perceptions of divorce, willingness to cohabit, openness to blended marriages, and gender roles within marriage. If a global convergence of cultures is occurring, then similarities should be found throughout the views of all respondents towards the institution of marriage. Dissimilarities in views could be interpreted as evidence of the entrenchment and uniqueness of culture, an outcome advanced by those who question cultural homogenisation. Hundreds of college students in several large universities in China and one regional university in the United States were surveyed at convenience. The Chinese students were found to prefer marrying and to plan having children a year later in age compared to the Americans. They also desired having nearly one fewer total number of children on average compared to the Americans. Surprisingly, the Chinese were more agreeable with divorce. The Americans were more likely to support gender equality within marriage and to accept blended types of marriage. Both groups equally approved of the overall idea of couples cohabiting if they plan on marrying. However, the Americans were far more willing to say that they themselves would cohabit. Visions of the benefits of married life were similar across countries. Overall, far more significant differences were found than no differences. The results suggest that elements of marriage norms in the world’s largest economies are somewhat constrained by social forces in their ability to completely converge.

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Chinese Families: Tradition, Modernisation, and Change
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-80071-157-0

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Article
Publication date: 27 March 2009

Dawn Onishenko and Lea Caragata

Following the landmark 2003 Ontario Court of Appeal decision legalizing same‐sex marriage, some same‐sex couples sought to formalize their unions through legal marriage

Abstract

Purpose

Following the landmark 2003 Ontario Court of Appeal decision legalizing same‐sex marriage, some same‐sex couples sought to formalize their unions through legal marriage. The purpose of this paper is to explore the personal and political reflections of recently married same‐sex couples on the meaning of their marriages for themselves, their partners, their community as well as the implications for progressive social change in the broader social world.

Design/methodology/approach

An ethnographic approach was employed to semi‐structured in‐depth qualitative interviews with six lesbian and gay couples.

Findings

An emerging thesis is that, while seeking access to a most conventional and conformist institution, same‐sex couples inadvertently become “cutting edge” couples as they make public their declarations of love and commitment and model new and challenging notions of marriage.

Research limitations/implications

The paper provides a snapshot of a small number of interviews that took place approximately 11 months after the Ontario Court of Appeal decision.

Practical implications

Law should take into account the importance of social and legal recognition of marriage for all. The heteronormativity of marriage is thus challenged from within, to make these types of marriages truly cutting edge.

Originality/value

The paper provides evidence of the personal and political reflections of people who had the choice to get married and did, at a time when this was seen as really cutting edge. Few personal accounts exist which provide a picture of the continued importance of marriage to human beings.

Details

Equal Opportunities International, vol. 28 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0261-0159

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Article
Publication date: 1 March 1982

Frances Baum

Five years ago a conference on Children and Marriage would probably not have included a paper on marriages without children. Having children in marriage conforms to one of…

Abstract

Five years ago a conference on Children and Marriage would probably not have included a paper on marriages without children. Having children in marriage conforms to one of society's strongest expectations; conversely not having any is portrayed as both undesirable and deviant. Society's prescriptions relating to parenthood have given rise to a number of assumptions about childless marriages. Briefly, these maintain that the causes of childlessness are almost always involuntary, that marriages without children will be less satisfactory and more prone to divorce than parental marriages, and that childlessness is generally associated negatively with various measures of mental health. It is only recently that such assumptions have been questioned, and that voluntary childlessness has become a subject of research in its own right, rather than as an aberration from the “normal” pattern of behaviour. In Britain three chief reasons for an upsurge in interest in childless by choice marriages are apparent. Firstly, there have been indications that couples are delaying childbirth in marriage and this has led to speculation that in some cases, at least, this delay would lead to higher rates of childlessness when this cohort of women had completed childbearing. Figure 1 illustrates both this trend and the fact that in the past high rates of childlessness in early marriage were associated with high rates of final childlessness. Secondly, in 1976 a pressure group was formed by some voluntarily childless individuals; its aim was to campaign for a reduction in pronatalist pressure in society. This group attracted a good deal of interest from the popular press and in the late seventies and early eighties many articles looking at various aspects of voluntary childlessness have been published. Thirdly, and most significantly, voluntary childlessness represents an alternative family form and has come into the realm of sociological studies of the family along with other lifestyles (such as one‐parent families or homosexual couples) that were once considered deviant and therefore outside the mainstream of society. It is now recognised that such living arrangements are both valid as subjects for study in their own right and in terms of the understanding they may give of more traditional arrangements.

Details

International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, vol. 2 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-333X

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