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Past Event

Seminar: Divergences between the law of marriage and its social meaning: are same-sex marriages unique?

Dr Scot Peterson, Bingham Research Fellow in Constitutional Studies and Junior Research Fellow in Social Sciences, Department of Politics & International Relations, University of Oxford

Abstract:  Few things demonstrate the importance of population aging as clearly as the shift in policies and opinions concerning same-sex relationships. Although same-sex sexual conduct was decriminalized in the Sexual Offences Act 1967, twenty years later, in section 28 of the Local Government Act of 1988, local authorities were prohibited from ‘intentionally promot[ing] homosexuality or pubilish[ing] material’ with the intent to do so. A further twenty years on, in the Civil Partnership Act 2004 the Labour government introduced same-sex civil partnerships for same-sex couples, which were legally equivalent to marriage. Employees of local authorities were required to sanction them. Finally, in 2014 it became possible for same-sex couples to marry. This rapid change, which took place in less than fifty years, means that older people have had to adapt relatively quickly to a fundamental social change. This talk will discuss some of the research that underlies Scot Peterson’s and Iain McLean’s book, Legally Married: Love and Law in the UK and the US, including the historical development of marriage law and the rapid acceptance of same-sex marriage.

This event is part of a seminar series:

Michaelmas Term 2015 Seminar Series: Narratives on Marriage and Co-Habitation

This seminar series is hosted by the Oxford Institute of Population Ageing Convenor: Professor Sarah Harper, Director, Oxford Institute of Population Ageing Week one: Please note that the Institute seminar on 15th October is part of the OMS 10 year celebration. The Marriage and Cohabitation Series thus starts on Week two. All welcome

Post event resources


Podcast of the seminar is available here.

Event Details

12 November 2015 14:00 - 15:30


Oxford Institute of Population Ageing

66 Banbury Road, Oxford, OX2 6PR