Posts Tagged ‘LGBT’


Kat Gupta is a researcher at the University of Nottingham and recently completed a PhD in corpus linguistics, focusing on the representation of the women’s suffrage movement in The Times newspaper between 1908 and 1914. Kat also campaigns on trans* and queer issues.

The Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013 received its Royal Assent this month to the joy of many cis-gender lesbian, gay and bisexual people in same sex relationships and the dismay of many transgender people. While same sex marriage is an important step for many people, allowing them to celebrate their relationship, in its current form it fails transgender people. Trans* activists have already written about what the Act means for trans* people: Zoe O’Connell has summarised where the Marriage (Same-Sex Couples) Act 2013 leaves trans* people, while Sarah Brown has further discussed its implications for trans* people.

In this post, I will discuss three of its main failings: stolen marriages, the spousal veto, and the Act’s language of binary gender. As the Act is written in terms of binary gender – something that I find deeply problematic and will discuss further in the third section of this post  – I will use its language of “opposite sex” and “same sex” relationships. An opposite sex relationship is defined as one between a man and a woman; a same sex relationship as between two men or two women. These definitions can be found in Schedule 3, Part 2 of the Act.


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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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Michael PassaroMichael Passaro 

Michael first discussed this issue on Issues of Humanity. It is posted here with permission and thanks.

For many years now, the term LGBTQ has been used as an overarching acronym to refer to the expanding gay rights movement. However, growing numbers have rejected moves to simply add more letters to this already seemingly long acronym. A London based advocacy group called Pink Therapy posted a video discussion about how and why the current acronym may not be ideal for such a movement.


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

International Women’s Day

Laura Graham

Today, 8th March, marks International Women’s Day 2013, a day to celebrate the achievements and lives of women across the globe, as well as speaking out against oppression of women and the issues still facing women today.

International Women’s Day has been celebrated for over 100 years. The first National Women’s Day was celebrated in the US in 1909, following a declaration by the Socialist Party of America. The very first International Women’s Day was launched in 1911 on 19th March (not 8th March) – the 19th March was chosen to mark the promise made by the Prussian king on this date during the 1848 revolution to introduce votes for women. Since 1913, it has been celebrated on the 8th March.


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

Church of England and Church in Wales Ban on Gay Marriage

Jayne Howell

The government is currently initiating legislation which would allow gay marriage in England and Wales.  There has been concern that this could cause a backlash from some religious organisations given that homosexuality is frowned upon in many religions. In a bid to appease conservative and religious critics, the proposed legislation would allow same sex marriages in religious institutions that wish to perform them but would not oblige them to do so.

When the Church of England presented its position on same-sex marriage in its submission to the Government’s consultation in June, it stressed that “the canons of the Church of England define marriage, in accordance with Christ’s teaching and the doctrine of the Church, as being between a man and a woman”.  This suggests that the Church was opposed to the idea of same-sex marriage and would not support the proposals.  However, the Church has expressed their “complete shock” at the ‘quadruple lock’ which will on ban the Church of England and the Church in Wales from offering same-sex marriages.  This shock seems to arise from the fact that the government has not consulted the churches in making this decision. It is felt that this takes away the choice from individual churches, given that some may be sympathetic to the idea of same-sex marriages in church. (more…)

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Durham Law Student, Jesse Bachir, explores the legal position of same-sex marriage in the US.

Same-sex marriage has seen some very good progress lately, especially with the recent election. In fact, the election brought same-sex marriage to Maine, Maryland and Washington by referendum – the first time in US history that same-sex marriage has been legalised via popular vote. Minnesota voters also defeated a proposed constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage at the ballots during the election. All of this, along with openly gay, lesbian and transgender representatives being elected to national and state legislators, as well as President Obama being elected for a second term, made this past election a very exciting time for the LGBTQ community. However, there are still some major hurdles to overcome for same-sex marriage in the United States

Marriage in the US 101

Very briefly, it is important to note the distinction between state and federal powers in the United States before continuing with any discussions of same-sex marriage within the US. Marriage is a right reserved by the states – meaning that they have the power to legislate as to the definitions and requirements of marriage. If you want to get married, you must go to the state and follow their particular rules governing marriage.

Once you are married, you are conferred apposite rights and privileges by the state as well as the Federal Government. However, it is up to each individual state to determine who is married within their jurisdiction – meaning that in order to gain access to federal marriage rights, you must first have access to state marriage rights.


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Snapshots of law, gender and sexuality news from the past couple of weeks


In companies…

Kate Galilee

The European Commission is expected on Wednesday to back proposals urging private companies to aim for 40% female company directors by 2020, and by 2018 for state-owned companies. These proposals ultimately leave it to national governments to determine how this will be enforced, after the Commission failed to clear a more stringent proposal three weeks ago.

The previous proposal, headed by Viviane Reding of Luxembourg, sought binding quotas to be imposed on member states, with penalties for non-compliance. This was the first time under their current president that the Commission has been unable to agree on a piece of draft legislation. Opponents included a number of the most prominent women commissioners, as well as leading businesswomen such as Angela Ahrendts, CEO of Burberry, who branded quotas ‘dangerous’.

Maria Miller, UK Culture Secretary and Women and Equalities Minister, criticised the new proposals as patronising to women. She argued that the UK’s voluntary measures have been successful, with 44% of board appointments in the past 6 months being women. Miller also argued that the removal of barriers to achieving women’s goals in all levels of business should be a priority, and indeed, a recent study by Talking Talent shows that a rigid career structure and lack of flexibility seem to be women’s primary obstacles to progression in the workplace.


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