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“It’s made a huge difference” : recognition, rights and the personal significance of Civil Partnership

Shipman, B. and Smart, C.C. (2007) “It’s made a huge difference” : recognition, rights and the personal significance of Civil Partnership. Sociological Research Online, 12 (1). ISSN 1360-7804

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Abstract

In this paper we map briefly some of the arguments around the meaning and significance of the introduction of Civil Partnership in England and Wales, and in this way show how contested these meanings are. We then turn to our empirical data to explore the extent to which these arguments and issues are part of the everyday decision making processes of same sex couples who have decided to register their partnerships or to undergo a commitment ceremony of some kind. In doing this, we were interested in how people make their own meanings (if they do) and whether they actually frame important decisions in their lives around the ideas that are part of the current political debates. We are interested in whether the public debates are featured in the accounts of our interviewees but our concern is also that these broader political debates appear to offer two alternatives to same sex couples. In one scenario same sex couples appear to be striking a blow for equality and are cultural heroes, in the other they appear as cultural dupes who are unintentionally falling into a government trap to de-radicalise their relationships and defuse the possibility of a queer alternative to heteronormativity. Our data give some insight into how same sex couples negotiate these alternatives and may, in fact, circumnavigate them.

Item Type: Article
Copyright, Publisher and Additional Information: © 2007 Sage. This is an author produced version of a paper published in Sociological Research Online. Uploaded in accordance with the publisher's self-archiving policy.
Keywords: Civil Partnership, Same-Sex Relationships, Marriage, Law Reform
Institution: The University of Leeds
Academic Units: The University of Leeds > Academic Services (Leeds) > Library (Leeds)
Depositing User: Repository Officer
Date Deposited: 02 May 2008 16:27
Last Modified: 08 Feb 2013 16:56
Published Version: http://www.socresonline.org.uk/12/1/shipman.html
Status: Published
Publisher: Sociological Research Online
URI: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/3763

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