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Same-sex relationship recognition and the weight of heteronormative expectation

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journal contribution
posted on 2019-09-05, 07:38 authored by Aoife Neary
The legal mechanism by which same-sex relationships are recognised has long been a contentious issue around the world. In many countries, same-sex marriage and civil partnership (CP) have been met with stark opposition emanating from assumptions of heterosexuality and the trope of the heterosexual family. However, these are not the only lines upon which tensions around same-sex relationships have settled. Key differences between CP and same-sex marriage have resulted in tensions among lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) organisations. This paper seeks to explore these tensions and ambiguities and argues that the weight of heteronormative expectation around same-sex relationship recognition results in the masking of a process that (re)produces societal norms and privileges.Firstly, I explore the emergence of same-sex marriage and CP1 through the examples of the U.S. and the UK. Secondly, in light of these examples, I turn to the case of Ireland to explore how CP has been received and to examine the politics of how the CP/same-sex marriage divide has been constructed within the LGBT political landscape. Finally, I deconstruct the CP/same-sex marriage binary that exists and assert that this false binary and the dominant ‘gay agenda’ of marriage (Rohrer 2009) have distracted from a normalising project that sanitises alternatives to the norm of heterosexuality

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Publication

Socheolas;4(1),pp. 52-70

Publisher

Department of Sociology, University of Limerick

Note

peer-reviewed

Language

English

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