Queering Consummation: An Empirical Reflection on the Reform of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973, 11 December 2019

Alex Maine (Leicester Law School)

This article will explore the recognition of consummation and adultery in same-sex marriage and civil partnerships and offer empirical evidence to give weight to the need for reform. Using empirical evidence from a study assessing the functioning and role of relationship recognition to LGBTQ people, this article will use queer theory to assess the role of consummation and adultery requirements, and argue that consummation between same-sex couples should be recognised, following Sarah Beresford’s suggestions for reform of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973. This article will make use of empirical evidence from a diverse group of LGBTQ people, with data collected in Newcastle Upon Tyne. This article will argue that the current arrangements contribute to a sexual hierarchy, one that maintains and privileges heteronormativity, and that the redefinition of sex to include same-sex consummation should avoid essentialist, penetrative discourse in order to fully accommodate a wide range of sexual expression. This recognition would provide a significant addition to same-sex marriage as a step towards fully realising formal equality in the legislation.

This event is organised by the Socio-legal Studies Research Cluster


Date and time 1.00—2.00pm, Wednesday, 11 December 2019
Location Jan Grodecki Room, first floor, Fielding Johnson Building
Open to staff and students
not required

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