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Title: Becoming families : a study of same-sex couples' rights in the Anglo-Saxon countries
Author: Probst, Gaudenz P. A.
ISNI:       0000 0004 8507 4446
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2020
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The politics surrounding the recognition of same-sex couples has found uneven analysis in the extant literature. While the dynamics in the United States and Western Europe are well-documented, the processes in the Anglo-Saxon countries is less advanced. This oversight is two-fold. First, the empirical record regarding the historical evolution of same-sex couples' rights is wanting. Second, the theoretical framework of morality policymaking is unevenly theorised and therefore ill-equipped in dealing with this set of countries. This set of countries, therefore, is chosen to advance the extant theories regarding the politics of same-sex couples' rights. In short, this thesis aims to add to the empirical evidence and advance the theorisation of morality policy in 'secular' countries; that is countries which do not feature a politically relevant state-church conflict. The thesis pursues this goal through four cases studies that each rely on qualitative research methods. First, it develops a theoretical framework to show the secularisation and contractualisation of opposite-sex marriage and outlines these processes' importance for same-sex marriage advocacy. Second, it uses the experience of the Anglo-Saxon countries to develop a new judiciary-based mode of international policy transfer. Third, it uses the case of same-sex union recognition in Australia to develop the morality policy framework in regard to secular countries. This analysis expands to the extant understanding of morality policymaking in particular regarding parliamentary democracies of the Westminster type. Fourth, the thesis analyses the Adoption and Children Act 2002 in England and Wales to understand why same-sex couples were granted joint adoption rights before any form of formal union recognition. The results of these case studies indicate that the morality policy framework is only partially useful for explaining the politics in Anglo-Saxon countries. In setting the parliamentary agenda, the executive has very strong albeit not absolute control. In the legitimation of policy, the competition between 'progressive' and 'traditionalist' frames is confirmed, as is the ability of the executive to reinforce its preferred policy definition in the case of latent morality policies. However, the treatment of manifest morality policy requires the careful analysis of intra-party fractions and vested interests. Further research is required to test the theoretical frameworks built in this thesis and in particular the applicability of the morality policy framework in similar countries.
Supervisor: Daly, Mary Sponsor: University of Oxford
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Social policy ; politics of social policy