Rethinking the Secular in Feminist Marriage Debates

Studies in Social Justice 4 (1):47-66 (2010)
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The religious right often aligns its patriarchal opposition to same-sex marriage with the defence of religious freedom. In this article, I identify resources for confronting such prejudicial religiosity by surveying two predominant feminist approaches to same-sex marriage that are often assumed to be at odds: discourse ethics and queer critical theory. This comparative analysis opens up to view commitments that may not be fully recognizable from within either feminist framework: commitments to ideals of selfhood, to specific conceptions of justice, and to particular definitions of secularism. I conclude by examining the "postsecular" turn in feminism, suggesting that we can see the same-sex marriage debate not in terms of an impasse between differing feminist approaches, but in terms of shared existential and ethical affinities.

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Ada S. Jaarsma
Mount Royal University


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