Editorial: Marriage Equality in Australia

By Riggs, Damien W.; Cadwallader, Jessica Robyn | Gay and Lesbian Issues and Psychology Review, December 1, 2012 | Go to article overview

Editorial: Marriage Equality in Australia


Riggs, Damien W., Cadwallader, Jessica Robyn, Gay and Lesbian Issues and Psychology Review


It has been argued that marriage equality is the paramount issue in Australian LGBT politics (Marsh, 2011). Certainly the push for marriage equality has been at the forefront of political organising for the past three years, following on from successes in all states and territories in regards to rights for (certain groups of) lesbian and gay parents. At the same time, however, and as we have argued elsewhere (see Cadwallader & Riggs, 2012), the focus upon marriage equality can tend towards a very narrow agenda promoted by specific members of LGBT communities, an agenda that fails to truly encompass the diverse relationships and experiences of LGBT people. The papers in this issue highlight the diverse positions on marriage equality, both within Australia and internationally.

The issue opens with a paper by Matthews and Augoustinos, exploring how Australian politicians justify a position that may be broadly defined as against marriage equality. Matthews and Augoustinos' discursive analysis of politicians' speeches about marriage equality deftly highlights the complex ways in which politicians make claims to being inclusive and non-discriminatory, whilst nonetheless arguing against marriage equality.

Moving to the international arena, Epstein examines a corpus of children's picture books and young adult novels from the US, UK and EU in order to identify how these differing locales either include or exclude representations of LGBT marriage within such books. Epstein usefully highlights the ways in which differences between the locales may be framed in terms of either a focus on children's rights (broadly defined as the right to have their parents' relationships recognised) or a focus on adults' rights to marry (which is not necessarily connected to the rights of their children).

The third paper by Cover examines general trends in arguments for marriage equality, with a specific focus on how such arguments centre the homonormative couple. Cover examines how the exclusive focus on couples relies upon a binary of coupledom/promiscuity that serves to marginalise a range of relationship forms.

The final paper by Webb and Chonody takes up the question of public attitudes towards marriage equality in Australia, through a quantitative study of the relationship between attitudes to same-sex parenting, and attitudes to same-sex marriage. …

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