Jean Monnet Center of Excellence Faculty Research Workshop

Jean Monnet Center of Excellence Faculty Research Workshop: 
Marriage Equality in Advanced Industrialized Democracies
March 30-April 1, 2017

Students, faculty, and the public are welcome to attend the keynote address and the panels. View the Conference program for information about the panel topics, times and locations.

Marriage equality movements in many advanced industrialized democracies have been remarkably successful in achieving policy change in a short time frame.  From 2001 to 2016, marriage equality has been achieved in the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Canada, South Africa, Norway, Sweden, Portugal, Iceland, Argentina, Denmark, Brazil, France, Uruguay, New Zealand, the United Kingdom (England, Wales, and Scotland), Luxembourg, Finland, Ireland, the United States, and Colombia.  Since many of these policy victories occurred in advanced industrialized democracies in Europe, North America, and Oceania, it is timely to organize a conference in which scholars and participants can explore how marriage equality is impacting the future of LGBTQ rights. 

The pathways to marriage equality have been incredibly varied, including a mix of legislation, litigation, as well as ballot initiatives and referendums.  Moreover, marriage equality has been achieved across a broad range of institutional climates, from parliamentary to presidential systems and from federal to unitary states.  The networks of activists working to advance marriage equality as well as their tactics, framing, and resource mobilization may have become increasingly linked transnationally and thus have contributed to the diffusion of marriage equality across borders.  Despite the extension of marriage equality, the LGBTQ community continues to experience discrimination and harassment, and in some states, legal protections regarding non-discrimination, parenting, or gender recognition are inadequate post-marriage equality.

The faculty research workshop on marriage equality in advanced industrialized democracies will be held from March 30th to April 1st, 2017, at the University of Pittsburgh.  This international conference is organized by Professor Helma de Vries-Jordan, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Pittsburgh’s Graduate School of Public and International Affairs, the Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences, and the School of Law, under the leadership of the European Studies Center & Jean Monnet European Union Centre of Excellence.  The workshop integrates social movements scholarship concerning marriage equality, other LGBT rights, and gender equality, placing them in comparative and international perspective.  The conference will bring together some of the leading scholars in this field, presenting papers and engaging in dialogue about future directions for scholarship, with the goal of promoting collaborations amongst conference participants as well as interactions between participants which will include faculty, students, and community members.

The conference will examine the factors that have influenced marriage equality movements and relevant LGBTQ rights policy-making, both in states with marriage equality as well as in states in which campaigns are ongoing.  Causal factors that may be explored include dynamics in the political opportunity structure, identity-based versus strategic framing of issues, the transnational diffusion of norms regarding LGBT rights, transnational networking of activists, and resource mobilization.  We will also explore a number of central debates regarding the impact of marriage equality on the future of LGBTQ rights and regarding the transnational advocacy movements working to advance gender and sexual equality.  Questions will include:  How has marriage equality impacted or been influenced by progress on other LGBTQ rights issues, or has marriage equality contributed to backlash or delays in achieving other LGBTQ rights?  How have marriage equality movements’ level of inclusiveness regarding sexual and gender minorities and other intersectional identities impacted their advocacy and post-marriage equality policy outcomes?  Finally, how portable are the strategies, frames, resources, and networks of activists across borders, and how has cooperation or conflict between activists across borders influenced marriage equality movements? 

LOCATION:  Pittsburgh Athletic Association, 4215 Fifth Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15213
(view map)

ACCOMMODATIONS:  Wyndham Pittsburgh University Center, 100 Lytton Ave, Pittsburgh PA 15213 (view map).  Rooms have been secured for participants of the workshop.  Others from out of town who wish to attend the conference may inquire about additional rooms at the Wyndham, which is across the street from the conference venue.  Other nearby hotels include:

For more information on these conferences, contact Helma de Vries-Jordan,