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Title: Not the marrying kind : feminist critiques of marriage and legal recognition of same-sex relationships
Author: Barker, Nicola
ISNI:       0000 0001 2427 3378
Awarding Body: Keele University
Current Institution: Keele University
Date of Award: 2008
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This thesis is a critical analysis of the legal recognition of same-sex relationships, particularly through marriage. Through a close examination of marriage as a legal institution and the separate forms of relationship recognition that have been modelled on it (such as civil partnership in the UK) I demonstrate both the continuing significance of the marriage model and the continuing relevance of a second wave feminist analysis to the issue of same-sex marriage. The institution of marriage is assumed to have a clear and universal meaning, or essence. I argue that this assumption is mistaken and a close reading of UK law in relation to marriage reveals that the statement articulated by Lord Penzance in Hyde v. Hyde and Woodmansee [1866] does not provide an accurate definition of marriage. Rather, while the marriage model can be identified by reference to legal structure, legal consequences and ideology, the essence of marriage is not fixed or universal. In light of my critique of the marriage model and analysis of the ways in which both same-sex marriage and new, separate forms of relationship recognition for same-sex couples fit within this marriage model, I modify feminist critiques of marriage to both take account of queer contributions to this debate and more directly engage with the issue of same-sex marriage. I argue that although the feminist analyses of marriage are in themselves important and pertinent to the issue of same-sex marriage, particularly concerns about the privatisation of care and dependency, a queer lens can complement and inform these analyses. Queer provides not only additional critiques of marriage but also a more direct response to some of the arguments for same-sex marriage, particularly those that are based on the (perceived) need for positive state recognition of same-sex relationships.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available