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Scott Gunther

This article examines the political style and rhetoric of the Manif pour tous (MPT), the main organization opposing same-sex marriage in France, from summer 2013 to the present. It exposes how the MPT’s style and rhetoric differ from those of their American counterparts, and what this tells us about the different strategies of political movements in France and the United States generally. It is based on an analysis of the language used by activists whom I interviewed in 2014 and 2015 and on a discourse analysis of the MPT’s website, Facebook page, Twitter feed, and press releases since 2013. This analysis of the distinctive features of the MPT brings to light underlying concerns about French identity in the face of globalization. In other words, for the MPT and its members, what is at stake is not just same-sex marriage but the very definition of Frenchness.

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Giuseppe Marcocci

In 1578, a same-sex community that gathered in a church, performing marriages between men, was discovered in Rome. Documentary evidence now verifies this story, reported by many sources, including a passage of Michel de Montaigne's Travel Journal, but which was for a long time denied by scholars. While briefly reconstructing this affair, this article explores the complex emotional regime surrounding the episode. In particular, it argues that those who participated in the ceremonies did so not only as an expression of affection for their partners, but also in an attempt to legitimize their relationships in a rite that imitated the Counter-Reformation sacrament of marriage. This approach challenges the predominant historiography on the birth of homosexuality and helps us to better understand the sentiments of those who were part of a same-sex community in Renaissance Rome.

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Louise K. Davidson-Schmich

This article examines the 2017 German national election through the lens of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) interests. It depicts the ways in which sexual minorities articulated their policy preferences, the degree to which these positions were taken up in party platforms and electoral discourse, and the extent to which the resulting coalition agreement pledged to address queer citizens’ concerns. I argue that, as a result of what Sarah Childs and Mona Lena Krook call a critical actor, this election provided sexual minorities with a high degree of responsiveness on one core issue: marriage equality. Other issues of interest to LGBTI voters, however, remained largely invisible. The conclusions here are based on analysis of primary documents including interest group statements, party platforms, and coalition agreements, as well as on German-language news coverage of the election campaign.

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Giulia Maria Cavaletto

In May 2016, the Italian Parliament passed Law No. 76/2016 titled “Regulations of Civil Unions between Persons of the Same Sex and Discipline of Cohabitation.” The law provides for same-sex marriages and also introduces rights and protections to unmarried cohabitants. It followed on from a decision of the European Court of Human Rights, which in July 2015 condemned Italy for its legislative gap with respect to homosexual unions. Civil unions have since become a new public institution that regulates the rights and obligations of all couples living together without marriage, whether homosexual or any other type of couple. The legislation contains some gray areas: it excludes the possibility of stepchild adoption by homosexual couples and does not allow the adoption of children by unmarried heterosexual couples. Nonetheless, the civil union represents a key step toward the achievement of equality by recognizing new ways of being a family.