University of Worcester Worcester Research and Publications

'It's a Double-edged Thing' : the Paradox of Civil Partnership and Why Some Couples are Choosing Not to Have One

Rolfe, Alison and Peel, Elizabeth (2011) 'It's a Double-edged Thing' : the Paradox of Civil Partnership and Why Some Couples are Choosing Not to Have One. Feminism & Psychology, 21 (3). pp. 317-335. ISSN 0959-3535

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Since their introduction in 2005, thousands of same-sex couples in the UK have had a civil partnership. However, many other couples have chosen not to have one. This qualitative study explores why some same-sex couples are choosing not to have a civil partnership. Seven semi-structured interviews were conducted with 12 people (five couples and two individuals) who identified as lesbian, gay or bisexual, and analysed using discourse analysis. Participants' accounts were characterised by ambivalence about civil partnership, and three main paradoxes were identified: the 'good but not good enough' paradox, the 'unwanted prize' paradox and the 'legal rights v. social oppression paradox. A major source of ambivalence was support for rights but resistance to assimilation into dominant heteronormative cultural frameworks. Participants negotiated this ambivalence in a variety of ways, including considering how to have a civil partnership that is different from 'marriage', and adopting a pragmatic position. The analysis highlights the importance of social recognition and support for a range of relationship forms and identities, as well as for an ongoing critical debate about civil partnerships and same-sex marriage. ? The Author(s) 2011.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information:

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Uncontrolled Discrete Keywords: feminist critiques of marriage, same-sex marriage, lesbians, gay men, gay marriage, civil partnership
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Divisions: College of Business, Psychology and Sport > School of Psychology
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Depositing User: Elizabeth Peel
Date Deposited: 22 Oct 2013 19:26
Last Modified: 17 Jun 2020 17:00

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