Based on the 2005 Oxford Clarendon Lectures in Law, this book deals with the remarkable change in society's attitude to homosexuality over the last half century. Until 1967 homosexual acts were punished by the criminal law and as recently as 1988 Parliament forbade teachers from suggesting that homosexuality was an acceptable family relationship. In 2005 Parliament passed the Civil Partnership Act, which creates a framework in which same-sex couples can have their relationship legally recognised in much the same way as marriage. This book looks at the essentials of the civil partnerships contruct, and asks whether it is really creating an institution of 'gay marriage'? If not, the next question to ask is whether civil partnership can satisfy the demands for equality increasingly being made by the gay community? In the United States, the courts have taken an active and progressive stance, holding that to deny marriage to same sex couples and leave them with mere partnership is to create a 'separate but equal' situation historically associated with the racial discrimination now universally recognised as unconstitutional and morally unjustifiable.
However, the political climate has risen to a fever pitch with the current administration's push for constitutional amendment to ban outright gay marriage. In the UK the courts have been less activist, but the potential creation of a Supreme Court raises important questions about the boundaries between the roles of judiciary, the legislature, and government; and whether the judiciary should play a more constitutionally active role than has thus far been traditional?
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(240mm x 160mm x 30mm)
Oxford University Press
Publisher: Oxford University Press
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Author Biography - Stephen Cretney
Stephen Cretney is one of the country's foremost academic lawyers. He also has wide experience of legal practice (he is a Solicitor who practised in the City of London) and of the practical business of law reform (he was a Law Commissioner). He has wide experience of lecturing in this country and abroad, not only to judges and other lawyers, and to students, but also to the general public. His scholarly books have been widely admired for their combination of detailed scholarship, deep analysis, readability - and humour. Formerly a Senior Research Fellow of All Souls College Oxford he is now an Emeritus Fellow of All Souls. He is a Queen's Counsel honoris causa and a Fellow of the British Academy.