Posts Tagged ‘equal marriage’

Jesse Bachir Picture

Durham Law Student, Jesse Bachir, explores a recent development in the current US Supreme Court case on same sex marriage. An earlier version of this post was published on Queer Human Rights and is posted here with permission and thanks.

This week, the US Supreme Court will be hearing two cases on the issue of same sex marriage. Today, it will be hearing Hollingsworth v Perry, a case deciding whether California’s Proposition 8, a State amendment to the Californian Constitution which states that only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognised in California, violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

In advance of this hearing, Obama submitted an amicus brief with the Supreme Court asking them to the ban on equal marriage in the Prop 8 case. This move was a lot more monumental than most people realise – the President of the United States had intervened in judicial matters.

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Neil Cobb

The coalition government has begun its consultation on equal marriage for gay people in England and Wales, after announcing it is already persuaded by the arguments in favour of same-sex civil marriage. This follows the Scottish Government’s own proposals last year in which it also gave its provisional support for equal rights to civil marriage in Scotland.

“I don’t support gay marriage despite being a Conservative,” David Cameron said in a recent speech. “I support gay marriage because I am a Conservative.”

Of course, Cameron’s soundbite will feed fears that the right to marry is a retrograde step for gay people that ignores the institution’s oppressive history and assimilationist power.

For many others, though, equal marriage will be welcomed for finally challenging the symbolic inequality in relationship recognition that has persisted in the UK since the Civil Partnership Act in 2004.

That the coalition and Scottish government are both broadly in favour of equal marriage marks a significant shift in UK gay politics. In particular, the consultation positions the coalition in direct opposition to extreme religious forces, especially a virulently homophobic Catholic church.


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