Same-Sex Marriage: A Comparative Look at North Carolina and France

Duke and international faculty took a comparative look at the issue of same-sex marriage and family law Sept. 19 in the Nelson Music Room on East Campus.

Professors Ranjana Khanna, (pictured speaking), Helen Solterer and Anne Garréta brought together the panel to explore the legal, political and social stakes of the debate in North Carolina, where a constitutional amendment bans same-sex marriage ,and France, where same-sex marriage was legalized in 2013.

Panelists included Durham attorney Milan Pham; Maxine Eichner, of the UNC-Chapel Hill School of Law; Michael Warner of Yale University, Éric Fassin of the Université de Paris VIII; and Kate Costello, a PhD candidate in literature at Duke.

"It's the LGBT community who is showing us the way," said lawyer Milan Pham, discussing how the debate is changing even in North Carolina 

Fassin debated the French case where the "PACS" -- the civil solidarity pact and same-sex marriage continue to test new social and legal structures for intimate relations. Invention, he said, is a challenge for everyone involved: "It is a question of how to imagine critically the full and equal range of marital and parenting relations," he said.

"Kinship Trouble: The Equality/Difference Debates" was the first of two workshops to be sponsored by women's studies and the Center for French and Francophone Studies.