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Same-Sex Marriage in France & the United States
The U.S. Supreme Court heard two cases in March that could lead to landmark decisions redefining marriage and extending federal rights to those already engaged in same-sex marriages as the nation awaits a decision this summer. In France, the National Assembly has approved legislation to legalize same-sex marriage, as President François Hollande follows through on campaign promises leading up to a landslide victory for the Socialist Party. The law now awaits debate and a vote before the Socialist-led Senate.
In both nations, the issue is surrounded by heated debate, protests, and fierce opposition. This discussion will look at the movement toward “marriage equality” in both nations and the movements to keep marriage in its traditional definition. The debate highlights French and American perceptions of religious tradition, the conception of the family, equality, and civil liberties. How would same-sex marriage change these two nations, and more tellingly, what do the debates surrounding this controversial topic say about these two societies?
For an insider’s look at the debate on the Internet and social media, read our recently published Storify article.
About the panelists
Jeff Chu is an articles editor at Fast Company, where he edits stories on topics ranging from the Chinese marketplace to urban affairs to philanthropy. He also writes; his recent stories include a profile of Admiral Mike Mullen, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and an investigation into legal and ethical problems at the furniture retailer Design Within Reach, for which he won the 2010 Deadline Club Award for best business feature.
Jeff was part of the launch team at the now-defunct Condé Nast Portfolio and before that spent seven years at Time. As a staff writer, he wrote about the business of James Bond; the plight of Zimbabwean dissidents; the tribulations of Tony Blair; and covered religion, culture, and society.
A graduate of Princeton and the London School of Economics, Jeff was a 2004 Phillips Foundation fellow (his project examined complaint in American history). His first book, Does Jesus Really Love Me?: A Gay Christian's Pilgrimage in Search of God in America, is be published by Harper Collins in March 2013.
Bruno Perreau is an Assistant Professor of French Studies at MIT. He received his MA in European Studies from Loughborough University and PhD in Political Science from Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne University. He was awarded fellowships in gender studies from the European University Institute (Florence), the European Commission and Paris VIII Saint Denis University (VEIL research program).
Perreau was a member in the School of Social Sciences at the Institute for Advanced Study (Princeton) in 2007-2008. He is currently a Newton Fellow in sociology at Cambridge University, where he is also a Research Associate at Jesus College. Perreau is Faculty Affiliate at the Center for European Studies, Harvard.
Prior to joining MIT, Perreau taught constitutional law at Paris XII Val de Marne University and political science as well as gender and queer studies at Sciences Po Paris, where he was also an academic advisor for international students. He is a member of the scientific board of Sciences Po’s gender studies program (PRESAGE) and also serves on the editorial board of the academic journal Genre, sexualité et société.
Perreau’s main research focuses are gender, sexuality and the production of citizenship in Twentieth century France as well as family policies, the institutions of the Fifth republic and, more recently, literature and postcolonial textuality. His new book Penser l’adoption (Presses universitaires de France, 2012) puts into question the institutional process for authorizing an adoption. It argues that institutions draw their authority from a heterosexual imaginary of the Nation, which is performed by means of a meticulous discursive control of the family.
Bret Stephens is the Editorial Page Deputy Editor for The Wall Street Journal and writes the Journal's "Global View" column on foreign affairs, which runs every Tuesday in the U.S. and is also published in the European and Asian editions of the paper. As deputy editorial page editor, he is responsible for the editorial pages of the Asian and European editions of the paper, the columnists on foreign affairs, and the Far Eastern Economic Review. He previously worked for the paper as an op-ed editor in New York and as an editorial writer in Brussels for The Wall Street Journal Europe.
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