Sir mark potter and the protection of the traditional family: Why same sex marriage is (still) a feminist issue

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  • Keele University


In Wilkinson v. Kitzinger, the petitioner (Susan Wilkinson) sought a declaration of her marital status, following her marriage to Celia Kitzinger in British Columbia, Canada in August 2003. The High Court refused the application, finding that their valid Canadian marriage is, in United Kingdom law, a civil partnership. In this note, I focus on Sir Mark Potter's adjudication of the human rights issues under Articles 8, 12 and 14 of the European Convention on Human Rights (E.C.H.R.), highlighting his restatement of the ideology of the traditional' family as natural, normative and desirable. I argue that this case shows that the exclusion of same sex couples from marriage is a feminist issue, because denying same sex couples access to marriage works to sediment patriarchal ideas and re-inscribe gender roles within the family.

Bibliographic note

Copyright: Copyright 2007 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)223-234
Number of pages12
JournalFeminist Legal Studies
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2007


  • European Convention on Human Rights, Family life, Human rights, Lesbian and gay rights, Same sex marriage

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