This book reveals that the factors impacting on the institutionalization of same-sex marriage involve a complex interplay of globalizing factors and national contexts. At the same time, the structure of the state (e.g. federal vs unitary), the roles of the courts, the constitutionalization or otherwise of marriage, and national or regional cultures and values shape the types of political opportunities same-sex marriage campaigners have been able to exploit. Across all these differences, one factor remains constant: sexuality and the family remain at the heart of the (gendered) construction of national meaning. How that meaning is shaped, politically and legally, is not, however, a straightforward process, and a number of paradoxes emerge.