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11 Laws 1 (2022)

handle is hein.journals/laws11 and id is 1 raw text is: laws


Queering Marriage: The Homoradical and Anti-Normativity
Alexander Maine
Leicester Law School, University of Leicester, Leicester LEI 7RH, UK; a.maine@le.ac.uk
Abstract: This article explores 'bad' sex in an age of same-sex marriage, through an analysis of the
'homoradical' as a rejection of both hetero and homo-normativities. Drawing on qualitative data from
29 LGBTQ interviewees, the article considers resistance to the discursive privileging of same-sex
marriage in the context of Gayle Rubin's theories of respectability and sexual hierarchies. These
hierarchies constitute a 'charmed circle' of accepted sexual practices which are traditionally justified
by marriage, procreation and/or love. It examines non-normative sexuality through the example of
the lived experiences of non-normative, anti-assimilationist identities, particularly non-monogamy,
public sex, and kink sex, showing how the 'homoradical' deviates from the normative practices that
same-sex marriage reinforces.
Keywords: same-sex marriage; sexuality; queer theory; heteronormativity; homonormativity

check for
Citation: Maine, Alexander. 2022.
Queering Marriage: The
Homoradical and Anti-Normativity.
Laws 11: 1. https://doi.org/
Received: 26 August 2021
Accepted: 14 December 2021
Published: 21 December 2021
Publisher's Note: MDPI stays neutral
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Copyright: © 2021 by the author.
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1. Introduction
The Marriage (Same-Sex Couples) Act 2013 (hereafter, the 2013 Act) allowed same-sex
couples to enter into a marriage for the first time in England and Wales.1 This change
in the law is a significant development in the relationship of law and sexuality, and is of
particular significance for LGBTQ people who are now be seen as 'equal', 'normal', or
'the same as' different-sex couples when formally recognizing their relationship. LGBTQ
people's sexuality was seen, traditionally, as antithetical to marriage; abject, immoral, and
dangerous. In the 1980s, LGBTQ couples were described by Parliament as 'a pretended
family relationship' in s28 of the Local Government Act, while the Marriage (Same-Sex
Couples) Act 2013 explicitly removes the sex from same-sex marriage by omitting adultery
and consummation provisions (see Maine 2021). Marriage is representative of notions of
'good sex', as the legitimate and appropriate location for sex and procreation to take place:
marriage's introduction occupied a large swathe of LGBTQ rights campaigns for the best
part of the last decade, and reaffirms the normative centrality of marriage and promotions
of good gay, bad queer narratives (Ashford et al. 2020). This article seeks to highlight the
queer challenge to the normative ideals of marriage and, particularly, the homonormative
ideals of same-sex marriage.
Heteronormativity describes the social norm in which heterosexuality is seen as a
'default' position. Heteronormativity sustains and fosters a sexual hierarchy (Rubin 1984)
in creating an expectation of heterosexuality, monogamy, and procreativity. Comparatively,
homonormativity may be viewed as a conduit of heteronormativity, a form of identity and
relationship that closely mirrors and reinforces heteronormativity and that 'straightens'
queer politics. Homonormativity describes a dominant politics of liberal equality that
upholds and sustains desexualised and depoliticised perspectives of same-sex couples,
defined by Duga n (2003) as a 'politic of assimilation'.
The homoradical is an 'anti-assimilationist politic', an actively sexualised and politi-
cised queer experience that contests homonormativity. It describes a sexualised body
of queer identity, one that rejects normative discourse surrounding homosexuality. The
1 Scotland followed with the Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Act 2014 and Northern Ireland with the
Northern Ireland (Executive Formation etc) Act 2019.

Laws 2022, 11, 1. https: / /doi.org/1C.3390/lawsllClCCCl                                       https:/ /www.mdpi.com/journal/laws

Laws 2022,    https://doi.org/10.3390/laws11010001


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