The Civil Partnership Act 2004 and the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013 are important legal, social and historical landmarks, rich in symbolic, material and cultural meanings. While fiercely opposed by many, within mainstream narratives they are often represented as a victory in a legal reform process that commenced with the decriminalisation of homosexuality. Yet, at the same time, for others they represent a problematic and ambivalent political engagement with the institution of marriage. Consequently, understood or labelled as ‘revolutionary’, ‘progressive’ and ‘conservative’, these legal reforms provide a space for thinking about issues that arguably affect everyone, regardless of sexual orientation or relationship status.
This edited collection brings together scholars and commentators from a range of backgrounds, generations and disciplines to reflect on the first ten years of civil partnerships and the introduction of same-sex marriage. Rather than rehearsing the arguments ‘for’ and ‘against’ relationship recognition, the essays ask original questions, draw on a variety of methods and collectively provide a detailed and reflective ‘snap shot’ of a critical moment, a ‘history of the present’ as well as providing a foundation for innovative ways of thinking about and engaging with the possibilities and experiences arising from the new reality of relationship recognition for gays and lesbians.
Notes on Contributors, 1. From Civil Partnership to Same-Sex Marriage: A Decade in British Legal History – Nicola Barker and Daniel Monk, Part One: Towards Marriage, 2. Liberalism by Stealth? The Civil Partnership Act and the New Equalities Agenda in Perspective – Jeffrey Weeks, 3. From Civil Partnership to Marriage in Scotland – Kenneth Mck. Norrie, 4. Opposing Same-Sex Marriage, by Supporting Civil Partnerships: Resistances to LGBT Equalities - Kath Browne and Catherine Nash, 5. Consenting to Gender? The New Spousal Consent Requirement in the Gender Recognition Act 2004 – Flora Renz, Part Two: Changing Minds, Changing Practice? After the Wedding, 6. Social Work, Adoption, Civil Partnerships and Same Sex Marriage – Christine Cocker, 7. Civil Partnership and Ordinary Marriages – Brian Heaphy, 8. The Church of England and Gay Marriage – What Went Wrong? - Giles Goddard, 9. Even Sociologists Get Civilly Partnered? Loving Same-Sex Marriage and Other Contradictions - Yvette Taylor, Part Three: The End of (the) Marriage: Dissolutions, Disputes and the Future, 10. ‘Square peg, round hole?’: The legal regulation of Plus Two Parent Families - Chris Dietz and Julie Wallbank, 11. Judging the Act: Civil Partnerships Disputes in the Courtroom and the Media - Daniel Monk, 1 2. Dissolution or Disillusion? The Unravelling of Civil Partnerships - Rosemary Auchmuty, 1 3. After the Wedding, What Next? Conservatism and Conjugality – Nicola Barker, Index