Research Handbook on Gender, Sexuality and the Law
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Research Handbook on Gender, Sexuality and the Law

Edited by Chris Ashford and Alexander Maine

This innovative and thought-provoking Research Handbook explores not only current debates in the area of gender, sexuality and the law but also points the way for future socio-legal research and scholarship. It presents wide-ranging insights and debates from across the globe, including Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe and Australia, with contributions from leading scholars and activists alongside exciting emergent voices.
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Chapter 3: Formal recognition of adult relationships and legal gender in a comparative perspective

Jens M. Scherpe

Abstract

This chapter looks at the recognition of families outside of marriage, and especially same sex couples. In many jurisdictions this (also) happened through the introduction of registered partnerships. These regimes were created as either functional equivalents of or alternatives to marriage, and it is this function that then determined their fate in most jurisdictions when marriage was later opened up to same sex couples. England and Wales was an exception in this, and is looked at more closely. The chapter then argues that the focus on gender for relationship recognition is unnecessary and indeed counterproductive, particularly now that jurisdictions are beginning to move beyond the binary for legal gender. The chapter concludes that relationship recognition needs be rethought beyond the binary, beyond conjugality and beyond coupledom.

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