Journal Article

Sexuality and citizenship in contemporary constitutional argument

Nicholas Bamforth

in International Journal of Constitutional Law

Published on behalf of The New York University School of Law

Volume 10, issue 2, pages 477-492
Published in print March 2012 | ISSN: 1474-2640
Published online March 2012 | e-ISSN: 1474-2659 | DOI:
Sexuality and citizenship in contemporary constitutional argument

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  • Constitutional and Administrative Law
  • UK Politics


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Recent debate about the legal regulation of minority sexual orientations (including in relation to same-sex marriage) has come to assume a distinctly constitutional focus. The association of ideas of citizenship with aspects of this debate, not least through litigation, provides a basis for reconsidering the definition of citizenship generally, together with the extent to which there are continuities between citizenship and sexual citizenship. This article suggests that while citizenship may focus, at an abstract level, on equal membership of and inclusion within society, the specific rights one associates with it are likely to vary according to one's political philosophy. Arguments about sexual citizenship seem to highlight tensions within citizenship theory between the public and private spheres and about the extent to which it is necessary for citizenship to be tied to membership of a state. As such, debate about sexual citizenship has much to tell us about ideas of citizenship.

Journal Article.  7912 words. 

Subjects: Constitutional and Administrative Law ; UK Politics

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