Kelly Kollman
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Same-sex unions
The globalisation of an idea
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This chapter examines same-sex unions (SSU) policy developments in western democracies. It focuses on the question of convergent policy change. After describing the wave of SSU policy adoptions, the chapter traces the development of a soft law norm for same-sex relationship recognition in the European polity. It demonstrates the ways in which this norm has shaped, influenced and ultimately catalysed these national SSU policy adoptions. The chapter illustrates how the partial incorporation of sexual orientation into the European human rights regime coupled with the early adoption of SSU policies by Nordic countries helped to create a European soft law norm for same-sex relationship recognition. It also examines the linkages between the international promotion of the SSU norm and domestic policy change. The chapter argues that culture, rather than the institutional factors highlighted by many lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) politics and constructivist scholars, largely explain late and non-SSU adoption.

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The same-sex unions revolution in western democracies

International norms and domestic policy change


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