9th Conference European Sociological Association

RN13 Sociology of Families and Intimate Lives

2009-09-03 09:00:00 2009-09-03 10:30:00 Thursday, 3 September 09:00 - 10:30 Same Sex Families Building II, Auditório B1.03

What is the use of marriage for lesbians? The challenges of same sex marriage for lesbians in Spain

Spain has captured international attention with the approval of the legislation allowing same-sex couples to marry (Law 13/2005), which has caused large controversy along with positive recognition. Law 13/2005 has been portrayed as the symbol of equality for gay and lesbians, but has also shown that designing neutral legislation has negative impact on lesbians. No concrete remarks were included for lesbian women which have resulted in discriminatory implementation. Some of the most negative side effects were legally corrected later on. At the same time, a new law on divorce (15/2005) popularly called of "divorce express" was approved, so making easier the decision to marry. In addition, it is still necessary for a lesbian couple to marry if both of them want to be mothers of the same baby, and same sex marriage seem to have legitimised the option to be a mother. In spite of all these factors, lesbians marry less than gays, so a gender gap is present. Some critical questions call for the analysis: What is the use of marriage for lesbians? How can we explain the low rates on same sex marriage, especially those concerning women? Are there economical, social and psychological arguments that could be called upon? These are some of the questions that this paper will try to discuss, bringing a complex analysis to the debates, data and impact of same sex marriage in Spain.