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Posts Tagged ‘homophobia’

IB imageSnapshots of law, gender and sexuality news from the past couple of weeks.

US Supreme Court (Sort of) Decides on Same Sex Marriage

Jesse Bachir, Durham University

Following last year’s decision in Windsor, same-sex couples and LGBT advocacy groups across the United States have been filing suits against State governments challenging the Constitutionality of same-sex marriage bans.

So far, almost every Court (with one exception) in the United States has found marriage bans to be unconstitutional either under Federal Constitutional law or State Constitutional law. Most recently, earlier this month, the Supreme Court denied a petition to review 7 cases from lower Federal Courts on the constitutionality of marriage bans. In denying review of the cases, the decisions of the lower courts stood (all of which found the bans unconstitutional), and the stays of execution issued by the lower courts were removed. That brings the total to 32 States with equal marriage.

The Supreme Court effectively, though indirectly, decided the issue for the rest of the country – in allowing the lower court decisions to stand, clear judicial precedent has been made.  The lower courts in all 7 of the denied review cases found the marriage bans to be unconstitutional for the same reasons. In denying review, the Supreme Court implicitly agreed with the rulings of the lower courts and avoided wading into the politically charged topic.

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Mark McCormack, Durham UniversityMcCormackHeadshot

One of the most significant social trends of the past thirty years in the UK has been the reduction of homophobia. And yet, sexual minorities remain under-represented at the top levels of sport, politics and business, hate crimes about sexual minorities have not dissipated and many people remain closeted in aspects of their lives. In order to address these issues, The Centre for Sex, Gender and Sexualities at Durham University is hosting a Sociological Review one-day symposium on Monday 30th June that seeks to understand the complexity of LGBT lives in contemporary Britain—a country that has undergone a transformation in attitudes toward sexual minorities that is reflected in the removal of homophobic discrimination.

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SKDr Sarah Keenan teaches and writes on property, feminist and critical race theory at SOAS School of Law.

This piece was originally posted on halfinplace and is reproduced here with permission and thanks.

This is the text of a speech I gave at the SOAS teach-out as part of the UCU strike on October 31, 2013:

It’s great to see you all here at the teach-out today.  As you know, a strike is one strategy in trying to fight the neoliberalisation of higher education, but any political campaign that aims to fight or destroy something needs to also actively think about and start creating what it wants to build instead.  By working together to make this teach-out happen the SOAS SU and UCU haven’t just helped to protest against unfair pay for university staff, but have actually created an open, free and diverse space where students and lecturers can discuss ideas, which is exactly the kind of space that we want our universities to be.

By doing that and being here at the teach-out today creating our own space, we are resisting the politics of inclusion.  Those of us who are trying to achieve real social change need to be careful that we aren’t just asking or fighting to be included in systems and institutions that are already broken.  That means for those of us who occupy marginal identity categories, that we need to avoid political campaigns that aim for our inclusion in systems and institutions that are elitist, and/or that are sexist, racist, homophobic, ableist or otherwise violent.  Those systems and institutions weren’t built by or for marginalised and oppressed people, and inclusion in those systems won’t end structures of power that produce gross social and economic inequality. (more…)

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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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