‘But if you legalise same-sex marriage…’

‘But if you legalise same-sex marriage…’: Arguments against marriage equality in the British press

From Feminism & Psychology

As a key ally of lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT) psychology, feminist psychology has a shared interest in dismantling social inequalities. One important way of doing this is to examine the way in which inequalities are justified and legitimated in discourse. Same-sex marriage is a contested terrain both within and outside lesbian, gay and feminist academia and activism. This article uses a rhetorically informed thematic analysis to critically examine conservative arguments against same-sex marriage, as articulated in the British press at the time of a public consultation on marriage equality. The paper identified seven arguments which were commonly put forward in the British press as reasons why same-sex couples should not be granted the right to marry. The author concludes that through better understanding arguments used to oppose equality today, we may be better prepared to challenge them tomorrow.

 

Abstract

This article uses a rhetorically informed thematic analysis to critically examine conservative arguments against same-sex marriage, as articulated in the British press at the time of a public consultation on marriage equality. Seven opposition arguments were identified: (1) marriage is by definition and tradition a union between a man and a woman; (2) marriage is designed as a framework for raising children; (3) if you allow gay marriage now, it will be polygamous and incestuous marriage next; (4) same-sex marriage would threaten the right to religious freedom; (5) same-sex couples already have equal rights; (6) changing the law to allow same-sex marriage would be undemocratic and (7) the government should focus on bigger priorities. Many of these arguments were a reworking of arguments previously used to oppose other forms of equality, although there was a notable absence of arguments explicitly based on assertions that homosexuality is immoral.

Read this article for free

Article details
Adam Jowett
‘But if you legalise same-sex marriage…’: Arguments against marriage equality in the British press Feminism & Psychology February 2014 24: 37-55, first published on November 26, 2013 doi:10.1177/0959353513510655

     
This entry was posted in Gender & Sexuality, Psychology, SAGE Insight and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.