Understanding Same-Sex Marriage Debates in Malawi and South Africa

  • Ashley Currier
  • Julie Moreau
Part of the Global Queer Politics book series (GQP)


Using a discursive institutionalist approach, we examine the connection between discourses about same-sex sexualities and institutional outcomes around same-sex marriage in Malawi and South Africa. Beginning in the mid-2000s, politicians in Malawi began politicizing and deriding same-sex sexualities, but in South Africa, lawmakers, at the request of the judiciary, investigated legalizing same-sex marriage. Most Malawian political elites regard same-sex marriage negatively, but many South African political elites and activists favorably view same-sex marriage as a right in this postapartheid nation. In Malawi, elites’ “discursive anxiety” about same-sex marriage in the country conflated same-sex marriage with any lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) rights campaign. In South Africa, LGBTI activists strategically framed marriage in terms of human rights to satisfy Constitutional Court judges of its importance in building South Africa’s nascent democracy.


Same-sex marriage Malawi South Africa Discursive anxiety LGBTI rights 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ashley Currier
    • 1
  • Julie Moreau
    • 2
  1. 1.University of CincinnatiCincinnatiUSA
  2. 2.University of TorontoTorontoCanada

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