Weissman Center for Leadership
and the Liberal Arts

Spring 2007





Civil Rites: Marriage, Partnerships,
and Same-Sex Unions

Civil Rites: Marriage, Partnerships and Same-Sex Unions, the first event of the Family Matters series will set in historical, political, legal, and social context the ongoing events, activism, and debates relating to marriage and civil unions. This event will focus on key contemporary and historic issues, such as scholarly, cultural, and political discussions of marriage, current legal proceedings, constitutional amendments, and the Defense of Marriage Acts. Guest speakers also will consider the ways in which families in and beyond the United States are impacted by current debates and historic legal precedents about marriage, civil unions, and family rites.

Photo: Family Diversity Project

To date, there are five states in America that recognize civil unions, legally recognized partnerships between same-sex couples that provide a range of civil protections and benefits. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts is the only state in the nation that allows same-sex marriages. The U.S. federal government, which implemented in 1993 the “Don't Ask, Don't Tell” policy for dealing with gays and lesbians in the military, does not recognize same-sex relationships. In addition to the U. S., many other nations do not have legal protections for lesbians and gays. Denmark, in 1989, became the first nation to equalize all marriage relationships. Many other nations do not have legal protections for lesbians and gays. Ongoing debates in nations such as the United States and South Africa, continue to illuminate the highly cultural, religious, and political issues that shape contemporary understanding of marriage, civil unions, and gay rights.

Join us for an engaging and substantive roundtable discussion with leading scholars and activists whose work highlights the issues and histories at the center of contemporary conversations about civil rites, marriage, and same-sex unions. Guestpanelists include Mary Hunt of the Women's Alliance for Theology, Ethics, and Ritual (W.A.T.E.R), Katherine Arnup, Professor of History Department at Ottawa's Carleton University, and author of Lesbian Parenting: Living with Pride and Prejudice, Pedro Julio Serrano of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and respected leader in the Latino LGBT movement, and Nancy Whittier, professor of Sociology at Smith College .

Photo: Gretje Ferguson

Event Detail

Date: Thursday, February 15

Time: 7:30 PM

Speakers: Katherine Arnup, Mary Hunt, Pedro Julio Serrano, and Nancy Whittier

Place: Gamble Auditorium, Art Building, Mount Holyoke College

Admission: Free and open to the public.


To Gamble Auditorium

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