Same-sex marriage frequencies in Europe

Maks Banens, Université de Lyon II

Same-sex marriage and registered partnership created new, unexpected inequalities between European countries: British or Swiss frequency rates are ten times higher than Swedish or German rates, hundred times Slovenian rates. Unlike other inequalities, these are not considered as socially problematic per se. Yet, they have to be explained and the explanation might detect effects of social inclusion or exclusion. Previous studies invalidated the hypothesis that these inequalities might be explained by unequal levels of legal and financial advantages coming with the registration (Festy, 2006). This one tries to formulate new hypotheses. The study is based on two types of material. First, it relies on socio-demographic indicators of same-sex union registration, marriage values, homophobia and gender inequality. Second, it relies on interviews with same-sex couples, registered or not, in most western and central European countries, aiming at a better understanding of motivation for same-sex couples to register or not in the concrete circumstances of their social environment. Preliminary results show a major influence of social attitudes towards homosexuality. But these attitudes should be understood as social management of homosexuality more than as simple homophobia.

Presented in Session 30: Same-sex and Living Apart Together relationships