In an earlier chapter on long-lasting relationships, I referred to evidence showing how in the West, as well as in cities like Mumbai and Hong Kong, gay men were capable of conducting stable, long-term relationships resembling the companionate marriage in all but name, and had a history of doing so. This chapter and the next are paired because they both consider the views of the men from the international sample regarding the push for marriage equality or formal recognition of same-sex relationships. In this chapter, I examine the arguments of those men who favoured marriage equality, and in the chapter that follows will examine the arguments of the men who opposed it. These two chapters most clearly reflect aged-based differences of opinion among gay men. As the discussion in this chapter shows, it is men aged 31 and younger who most uniformly support marriage equality; while, by contrast, in the next chapter, the strongest arguments against gay marriage are to be found in the views of men aged 51 and older.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    J. Boswell (1995) The Marriage of Likeness: Same Sex Unions in Pre-modern Europe (London: Harper Collins).Google Scholar
  2. K. Plummer (1981) ‘Going Gay: Identities, Lifecycles and Lifestyles in the Male Gay World’ in J. Hart and D. Richardson (eds) The Theory and Practice of Homosexuality (London: Routledge&Kegan Paul), pp. 93–110;Google Scholar
  3. A. Rolfe and E. Peel (2011) ‘“It’s a Double-Edged Thing”: The Paradox of Civil Partnership and Why Some Couples are Choosing Not to Have One’, Feminism and Psychology 21(3) 317–35;CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. B. Shipman and C. Smart (2007) ‘“It’s Made a Huge Difference”: Recognition, Rights and the Personal Significance of Civil Partnerships’, Sociological Research Online (1). Some scholars have focused on the experiences of lesbians and gay men. While questions of sexual identity and relational equality have seen coalitions form between gay men and lesbians, each has a unique, gendered view on marriage. My perspective in this chapter and more broadly in this book is on the experience of non-representative samples of gay men and gay men only.Google Scholar
  5. 2.
    A. McLaren (1999) Twentieth Century Sexuality: A History (Oxford: Blackwell), p. 199.Google Scholar
  6. G. Chauncey (2004) Why Marriage? The History Shaping Today’s Debate over Gay Equality (Cambridge, MA: Perseus Books), p. 3.Google Scholar
  7. 4.
    G. Hekma (1999) ‘Same-Sex Relations among Men in Europe, 1700–1990’ in F.X Elder, L.A. Hall, and G. Hekma (eds) Sexual Cultures in Europe: Themes in Sexuality (Manchester: Manchester University Press), pp. 99–100.Google Scholar
  8. 5.
    Information on state-by-state legislation in favour same-sex marriage is drawn from N.D. Polikoff (2008) Beyond (Straight and Gay) Marriage: Valuing All Families under the Law (Boston, MA: Beacon Press), pp. 110–20.Google Scholar
  9. 6.
    As reported in The Age, 5 July 2012; see also J.P. McCormick (2012) ‘Same- Sex Marriage Bill to be introduced in France this October’, Pink News 26 August:, accessed 29 August 2012.Google Scholar
  10. 8.
    G. Herdt (2009) Moral Panics, Sex Panics: Fear and Fight over Sexual Rights (New York: New York University Press), pp. 157, 182.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    C. Frew (2010) ‘The Social Construction of Same-Sex Marriage in Australia: Implications for Same-Sex Unions’, Law in Context, 28(1), 86.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    M. Kirby (2011) A Private Life: Fragments, Memories, Friends (Sydney: Allen&Unwin), p. 91.Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    S. Roberts (2012) ‘Australia votes against legalizing equal marriage’, Pink News 9 September:, accessed 20 September 2012.Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    G. Williams (2012) ‘States Leave Canberra Behind in Rush to Same-Sex Marriage’, The Age 19 September:, accessed 20 September 2012.Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    J. Green (2011) ‘French Parliament rejects Gay Marriage Bill’, Pink News14 June:, accessed 15 June 2011.Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    S. Gray (2012) ‘The Times backs gay marriage’, Pink News 25 July:, accessed 7 March 2012.Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    S. Gray (2012) ‘Scottish Government will bring forward equal marriage legislation’, Pink News 25 July:, accessed 26 July 2012.Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    S. Gray (2012) ‘Catholic Church in Scotland: Society “should not facilitate gay relationships”’, Pink News 26 July:, accessed 27 July 2012.Google Scholar
  19. 20.
    T.S.K. Kong (2012) Chinese Male Homosexualities: Memba, Tongzhi and Golden Boy (London: Routledge), pp. 118–19.Google Scholar
  20. 21.
    M.C. Nussbaum (1999) Sex and Social Justice (New York: Oxford University Press), pp. 201–3.Google Scholar
  21. 22.
    G. Simmel (1999 [1895]) ‘On the Sociology of the Family’, trans. M. Ritter and D. Frisby in M. Featherstone (ed.) Love and Eroticism (London: Sage), p. 291.Google Scholar
  22. 24.
    M. Warner (2000) The Trouble with Normal: Sex, Politics, and the Ethics of Queer Life (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press), pp. 61–80.Google Scholar
  23. P. Moore (2004) Beyond Shame: Reclaiming the Abandoned History of Radical Gay Sexuality (Boston, MA: Beacon Press)Google Scholar
  24. M.B. Sycamore (ed.) (2004) That’s Revolting! Queer Strategies for Resisting Assimilation (Berkeley, CA: Counterpoint LLC).Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    A.J. Cherlin (2004) ‘The Deinstitutionalization of American Marriage’, Journal of Marriage and Family, 66, 855–6.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. 27.
    In the United States, different state jurisdictions use different terminology for formally recognising same-sex civil unions. See D.R. Pinello (2006) America’s Struggle for Same-Sex Marriage (New York: Cambridge University Press), pp. 160–6.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 34.
    P. Robinson (2008) The Changing World of Gay Men (Basingstoke and New York: Palgrave Macmillan), pp. 76–83.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. 36.
    L. Jamieson (1998) Intimacy: Personal Relationships in Modern Societies (Cambridge: Polity Press), pp. 32–3.Google Scholar
  29. C. Smart (2007) Personal Life: New Directions in Sociological Thinking (Cambridge: Polity Press), pp. 13–16.Google Scholar
  30. 49.
    C. Smart (2008) ‘“Can I Be Bridesmaid?” Combining the Personal and Political in Same-Sex Weddings’, Sexualities, 11(6), 770–71.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Peter Robinson 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Peter Robinson
    • 1
  1. 1.Swinburne University of TechnologyAustralia

Personalised recommendations