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Advocacy - News

May 28, 2002

Feminism & Psychology Examines Equal Marriage


'as a lesbian, I am fundamentally different from non-lesbian women. That's the point. Marriage, as it exists today, is antithetical to my liberation as a lesbian and as woman because it mainstreams my life and my voice. I do not want to be known as 'Mrs. Attached- To-Somebody-Else'
(Ettelbrick, 1989/1997: 165-6).

'marriage is... the political issue most likely to lead ultimately to a world free from discrimination against lesbians and gay men' (Stoddard, 1999/1997: 756).

In the last few years, for the first time, some countries and states [and provinces] have begun to offer social and legal recognition to lesbian and gay relationships, in the form of civil unions (only in The Netherlands is marriage possible). In addition, increasing numbers of lesbians and gay men are arranging ceremonies to affirm or celebrate their relationship in a public and/or religious context. Debates about marriage within lesbian and gay communities tend to be dichotomised around the poles of accommodation and resistance to a heterosexual norm, and often fail to acknowledge either the limited rights, or the lived experience, of lesbians and gay men.

This Special Feature will address the intersection of lesbian and gay relationships with heterosexual marriage, and the costs and benefits for lesbians and gay men of entering civil unions or other formally-recognised partnerships. It will address issues such as:

  • Why do some lesbians and gay men want marriage / civil union? What difference would it make?
  • Why do some lesbians and gay men oppose marriage/civil union?
  • How can we theorise the tension between feminist critiques of heterosexual marriage and feminist activism around lesbian and gay marriage?
  • What challenges can lesbians and gay men offer to (conventional) marriage, and to institutional heterosexuality?

This Special Feature invites short contributions (2000 words) which explore these issues. Authors may choose to write with a partner (either one 2000 word piece written together as a couple, or two 1000 word pieces individually authored by-each partner). A selection will be published in Feminism & Psychology. Authors are advised to refer to previous Special Features such as Heterosexuality, edited by Sue Wilkinson and Celia Kitzinger Vol. 2 ), 1992.

Submissions should be sent to:

Victoria Clarke,
Dept. of Social Sciences,
Loughborough University,
Loughborough, LEll 3TU, UK.

The deadline for submissions to this Special Feature is October 2002.