Chapter 4: Same-sex relationships in a European perspective
Change is a funny thing. We are never quite sure what we are becoming or even why. Then one day we look at ourselves and wonder who we are and how we got that way. In 1990, who would ever have thought that there would come a time when a generation of new law students starting university would not even question the eligibility of same-sex couples to marry? And yet, that time has already arrived. The majority of students embarking upon a legal education at a Dutch university in September 2015 were four years old when Job Cohen, the Mayor of Amsterdam, celebrated the first-ever State endorsed same-sex marriage in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. For these students, the existence of same-sex marriage is oftentimes as much a given as the need to criminalise murderers or the need for a National Parliament. Yet, the road to this point in time has not been one without its trials and tribulations. In this chapter, an attempt will be made to briefly outline the current state of the law with regard to the legal recognition of same-sex relationships in Europe (see section 2). This comparative synopsis will form the basis upon which a more theoretical framework will be discussed (see section 3). Such a theoretical framework will provide academics and legislatures alike with a template to discuss the issues related to these new phenomena in a structured and purposeful manner.
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