Preserving the Social Fabric: Debating Family, Equality and Polity in the UK, the Republic of Ireland and Australia

  • Bronwyn Winter
Part of the Global Queer Politics book series (GQP)


This chapter compares the UK, Ireland and Australia, which are linked by a long colonial history, and which, notwithstanding their differences, have comparable political and legal systems, and where the family and Christianity are core national values. Yet the process of institutionalization of same-sex marriage has been markedly different. In the UK, a common-law parliamentary monarchy without a formal constitution, same-sex marriage was legalized by a conservative-majority parliament in 2013. In Ireland, a Catholic-majority republic, heterosexual marriage was encoded in the Constitution, necessitating a referendum in 2015 to legalize same-sex marriage. By contrast, in Australia marriage is not a constitutional matter, but the Marriage Amendment Act (2004) explicitly requires that marriage be between a man and a woman. At the time of writing, same-sex marriage remains illegal there.


Same-sex marriage The UK Ireland Australia Family Religion Conservative values 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bronwyn Winter
    • 1
  1. 1.The University of SydneySydneyAustralia

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