Paper Title

Linking the Issue: The Relative Success of Same-Sex Marriage Campaigns

Location

Room 212, West Center

Start Date

April 2016

End Date

April 2016

Keywords

same-sex marriage; Ireland; United Kingdom; campaign; strategy; British Isles; popular vote; campaign success

Abstract

I analyze two contextual and one strategic factor affecting the success of recent same-sex marriage campaigns in Ireland, with reference to those in England and Northern Ireland. The movement in Ireland used the electoral pathway, of constitutional referendum, rather than the more common legislative or judicial pathways. These three regions are focused on because of their similarity as British Isle polities, and in timing of marriage equality discourse, but differences in legal status of same-sex marriage and pathways pursued. Ireland is the first nation to legalize same-sex marriage by popular vote. The first contextual factor contributing to the referendum’s success was high voter turnout of portions of the population traditionally less likely to vote, such as rural, native Irish speakers and young adults. Second is the declining moral authority of the Catholic Church, especially on this issue. The strategic factor was the same-sex marriage movement’s campaign’s focus on linking same-sex marriage to other salient issues in Ireland, through framing the question as empathetic and intersectional. I argue that the different pathways affect the nature of the movements’ campaigns and results. Drawing on my field work in Ireland, England, and Northern Ireland, I also argue that the process and outcome of the electoral pathway entrenches social change because of my observation that less conflict is present after implementation of a contentious social policy if through electoral means, as there is the feeling that citizens were linked to the decision, implying further social changes could be successful if following similar campaign styles.

This document is currently not available here.

Share

COinS
 
Apr 2nd, 2:00 PM Apr 2nd, 3:15 PM

Linking the Issue: The Relative Success of Same-Sex Marriage Campaigns

Room 212, West Center

I analyze two contextual and one strategic factor affecting the success of recent same-sex marriage campaigns in Ireland, with reference to those in England and Northern Ireland. The movement in Ireland used the electoral pathway, of constitutional referendum, rather than the more common legislative or judicial pathways. These three regions are focused on because of their similarity as British Isle polities, and in timing of marriage equality discourse, but differences in legal status of same-sex marriage and pathways pursued. Ireland is the first nation to legalize same-sex marriage by popular vote. The first contextual factor contributing to the referendum’s success was high voter turnout of portions of the population traditionally less likely to vote, such as rural, native Irish speakers and young adults. Second is the declining moral authority of the Catholic Church, especially on this issue. The strategic factor was the same-sex marriage movement’s campaign’s focus on linking same-sex marriage to other salient issues in Ireland, through framing the question as empathetic and intersectional. I argue that the different pathways affect the nature of the movements’ campaigns and results. Drawing on my field work in Ireland, England, and Northern Ireland, I also argue that the process and outcome of the electoral pathway entrenches social change because of my observation that less conflict is present after implementation of a contentious social policy if through electoral means, as there is the feeling that citizens were linked to the decision, implying further social changes could be successful if following similar campaign styles.