The Same-Sex Marriage Debate in the Us and Representations of Scandinavia
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- 1.The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled that the state could not deny ‘the protections, benefits and obligations’ of marriage to same-sex couples because of a clause in the state’s constitution that prohibits ‘the creation of second-class citizens’ and the failure of the state to establish a rational basis for such a denial. In February 2004, in an advisory judgement, the Court ruled that civil unions, such as those established in neighbouring Vermont, would create an ‘unconstitutional, inferior, and discriminatory status for same-sex couples.’ (University of Missouri — Kansas City School of Law, Hillary Goodridge & Others vs. Department of Public Health & Another, SJC-08860, Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts, (2003), https://doi.org/www.law.umkc.edu)
- 4.From October 1989 onwards, the Danish registered partnership law provided that whenever — in Danish law — there were references to ‘marriage’ or ‘spouse’, the same responsibilities and rights would be extended to same-sex in a registered partnership. There were, however, exceptions. Registered partners could not adopt, have joint custody of children, or be married in the established churches. In 1999, the restrictions on adoption and custody were withdrawn, except that registered partners cannot adopt children outside of Denmark. The partnership laws in the other Nordic countries are broadly similar although the Swedish law — which was enacted in 1994 — imposed rather more restrictions on couples, although many of these were lifted by further legislation passed in 2003. Partnerships from one of the countries are recognised in the other countries as well.Google Scholar
- 5.Andrew Sullivan, ‘The conservative case’, in Andrew Sullivan (ed.), Same-Sex Marriage: Pro and Con — A Reader, New York, Vintage Books, (2004), p.155. To some extent, there are ties and associations between the ‘conservative case’ for same-sex marriage and themes, most notably conceptions of ‘citizenship’, that have been the subject of debate within the gay and lesbian movement. Whereas gay rights advocates back the call for same-sex marriage, regarding it as the rightful extension of political citizenship and a further step in the ‘civil rights revolution’, ‘queer theorists’ assert that marriage is structurally rooted in ‘heteronormativity’: ‘…extending same-sex marriage rights is a way to incorporate and assimilate gays and lesbians into the norms of the national polity. Such rights will provide order … That is, they will make gays and lesbians intelligible and acceptable to the state as citizens.’ (Google Scholar
- 5a.Amy L. Brandzel,’ Queering citizenship? Same-sex marriage and the state’, GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies, 11:2, 2005, p. 194). Like Sullivan, queer theorists regard marriage as a constraining institution that reproduces dominant norms. In contrast with Sullivan, who embraces such notions, this forms the basis for a rejection of marriage and the other trappings of citizenship.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- 6.Peter Sprigg, Outrage: How Gay Activists and Liberal Judges are Trashing Democracy to Redefine Marriage, Washington DC, Regnery Publishing, (2004), p.46.Google Scholar
- 8.Kurtz and some other observers — including Andrew Sullivan — use the phrase ‘gay marriage’ to describe the registered partnerships offered in Scandinavia. For both, it is important to represent the partnerships as ‘marriage’ — and argue that they are seen as a form of marriage — insofar as they have drawn an association between the introduction of partnerships and their impact on heterosexual marriage.Google Scholar
- 13.Stanley Kurtz, ‘Going Dutch?: Lessons of the same-sex marriage debate in the Netherlands’, The Weekly Standard, 9:36, May 31st, (2004), https://doi.org/www.weeklystandard.com.
- 15.Henning Bech, ‘Report from a rotten state: ‘marriage’ and ‘homosexuality’ in ‘Denmark’’, in Ken Plummer, Modem Homosexualities: Fragments of Lesbian and Gay Experience, London, Routledge, 1992, p.144.Google Scholar
- 22.M.V. Lee Badgett, Will Providing marriage Rights to Same-Sex Couples Undermine Heterosexual Marriage? Evidence from Scandinavia and the Netherlands, Council on Contemporary Families and the Institute for Gay and Lesbian Strategic Studies, (2004), p. 5.Google Scholar
- 28.On the day of the 2004 presidential election, Urban, a Danish daily newspaper that is distributed freely, reported on Kurtz’s arguments and responses to them in Denmark. See Vibe Halbirk (2004),’ Dansk forskning optræder som et skraemmebillede’, Urban, 2. november, https://doi.org/www.urbanavis.dk.
- 33.Jason Fields, Living Arrangements of Children, Current Population Reports, Washington DC, US Census Bureau, 2001, p.3.Google Scholar
- 34.Nathaniel Frank, ‘Perverted: quack gay marriage science’, The New Republic, May 3, (2004), p.20.Google Scholar
- 35.Supreme Court of Louisiana, Docket number: 2004–C- Forum for Equality PAC et. al. vs. Honorable Fox McKeithen et al — Motion for Leave to File Amici Curia Brief on Behalf of Katherine Shaw Spaht, J Randall Trahan and Richard D Moreno, (2004), p. 13, https://doi.org/www.marriagelaw.cua.edu.Google Scholar
- 43.Jussi M. Hanhimaki, Scandinavia and the United States: an Insecure Friendship, New York, Twayne Publishers, 1997, pp.87–8.Google Scholar
- 44.Jussi M. Hanhimaki, Scandinavia and the United States, p.123.Google Scholar
- 45.Congressional Record, Federal Marriage Amendment — Motion to Proceed, 108th Congress, Senate, July 12, (2004), S7908.Google Scholar
- 46.Amy L. Brandzel,’ Queering citizenship?, p.186.Google Scholar
© Taylor & Francis 2005