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Title: Same-sex marriage and the sexual hierarchy : constructing the homonormative and homoradical legal identities
Author: Maine, Alexander
ISNI:       0000 0004 8506 2496
Awarding Body: Northumbria University
Current Institution: Northumbria University
Date of Award: 2019
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This thesis investigates the impact of the Marriage (Same-Sex Couples) Act 2013 in England and Wales on the lived experiences of LGBTQ individuals. The Act, which legalised same-sex marriage in England and Wales, is argued to contribute to a 'sexual hierarchy' in which certain forms of sexuality and sexual identity are ascribed value by law and society. This is significant in developing understanding of the law's role in constructing and regulating sexual behaviour. The thesis contributes to studies in gender, sexuality, and the law, and in family law, in providing a seminal qualitative assessment of the 2013 Act using queer theory. In doing so, it constructs homonormativity and the homoradical as identities existing within the sexual hierarchy. Not only does this thesis investigate the impact of the Act, it also assesses the lived experiences of LGBTQ individuals in relation to the passing of the legislation - including their views on equality, normativity, and sexuality. As such, it significantly adds to existing LGBTQ narratives. Utilising semi-structured interviews with 29 self-identified LGBTQ individuals, the thesis is qualitative in nature. It uses mixed-method sampling to create rich interview data and unique visual data. Applying a queer theory analysis, the study has found that the 2013 Act reinforces the sexual hierarchy in the construction of the homonormative and the homoradical as concurrent LGBTQ identities. In constructing the sexual hierarchy, this study has made visible the ways in which same-sex marriage reinforces and upholds heteronormative institutions. It confirms marriage to be a social and legislative organiser that reaffirms the centrality of the legal regulation of sexuality and the construction of 'good' and 'bad' sexuality. The thesis will argue that consummation requirements should be abandoned as a precursor to further reform to disestablish the sexual hierarchy, thereby advancing social acceptance of LGBTQ identity and non-normative sexuality.
Supervisor: Hall, Elaine ; Hamilton, Frances Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: L900 Others in Social studies ; M100 Law by area ; M200 Law by Topic ; M900 Other in Law