I am happy to announce the publication of a special issue of Theology & Sexuality on “Nuptial Symbolics beyond the Law: Constructions of Religion and Sexuality in Debates on the Legalization of Same-Sex Marriage”, edited by myself, Ruard Ganzevoort and Anne-Marie Korte. The contributors to this issue discuss how debates on same-sex marriage in the Netherlands, Sweden and the United States reveal a multitude of discursive constructions of marriage beyond the law.
David Bos moves back in time to discover how Catholic and Protestant pastors partly paved the way for the social acceptance of homosexuality in the Netherlands, whereas they – as well as the Christian traditions they represented more generally – also provided a ritual and symbolic repertoire to be deployed by gays and lesbians seeking public display and recognition of their relationships. Marco Derks focuses on a debate that followed the introduction of same-sex marriage in the Netherlands, that is, the debate on allegedly Christian marriage registrars with conscientious objections against conducting same-sex wedding ceremonies. He shows, among others, how the nuptial symbolics are highly valued by both opponents and sympathizers of these registrars. Mariecke van den Berg analyses the opposition against the introduction of ‘gender-neutral’ marriage in another European country, Sweden, where the (predominantly secular) majority was unexpectedly confronted with a coalition of representatives from several ‘free churches’ and non-religious persons. Marvin Ellison and Heather White provide reflections on these three articles and draw connections to debates in their own national context: the United States. Together, these articles provide new perspectives – and argue for further research – on the different roles religion has played and continues to play, both in processes of legalization of same-sex marriage and in the performance of wedding ceremonies.
Click here to go to the web page of Theology & Sexuality and view the special issue. The issue is based on a pre-arranged panel session co-sponsored by the Gay Men and Religion Group and the Law, Religion, and Culture Group at the Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Religion, San Diego, CA, USA, 24 November 2014.