“Seismic cultural change?”: British media representations of same-sex ‘marriage’

Adam Jowett, Elizabeth Peel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The legal recognition of same-sex relationships is a contested terrain that has been hotly debated by feminists. This article provides a social constructionist analysis of the UK newspaper media coverage around the time of the introduction of the Civil Partnership Act (2004). In examining the 348 national newspaper coverage over a three month period (November 2005–January 2006) we highlight three prevalent, and conflicting, themes: ‘same-sex marriage becomes legal under the Civil Partnership Act’; ‘couples will not get full legal status’ and ‘marriage is a heterosexual business’. We discuss these media representations and argue that the heteronormativity of the coverage provided little space for more radical constructions of same-sex relationship recognition.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)206-214
Number of pages9
JournalWomen's Studies International Forum
Issue number3
Early online date2 Feb 2010
Publication statusPublished - May 2010

Bibliographical note

NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Women's studies international forum. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Jowett, A. , & Peel, E. . “Seismic cultural change?”: British media representations of same-sex ‘marriage’. Women's studies international forum, Vol. 33, Issue 3 (2010) DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.wsif.2009.12.009


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