Scholars to examine acceptance of gay marriage

Brandeis professors to be joined by guests from US, Canada, Europe

Professors joining Brandeis faculty for the conference include (from left) Nancy Cott of Harvard, Jennifer Evans of Carleton University in Canada, Axel Hochrein of the Federal Association of Gays and Lesbians in Germany, David Patternotte of Universite Libre of Belgium, Bruno Perreau of MIT and Florence Tamagne from the University of Lille in France.

Social activists and scholars from the United States, Canada, France, Belgium and Germany will examine the growing acceptance of gay marriage on both sides of the Atlantic at a one-day conference on April 9.

“Transatlantic Perspectives on Gay Marriage” is sponsored by the Center for German and European Studies (CGES) in cooperation with the Goethe Institut, the Federal Republic of Germany’s cultural institution in the United States, among many others. The main colloquium will be held 2:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. in Alumni Lounge, Usdan Student Center.

The discussion will feature professors Nancy Cott from Harvard University, Jennifer Evans from Carleton University in Canada, Bruno Perreau from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Florence Tamagne from the University of Lille in France, David Patternotte from Universite Libre of Belgium, Axel Hochrein, chair member of the Federal Association of Gays and Lesbians in Germany, according to Professor Sabine von Mering, director of CGES.

Students are also invited to attend a 7 p.m. panel discussion hosted at the Goethe Institut Boston at 170 Beacon Street, followed by a reception courtesy of the Consulate General of the Federal Republic of Germany.

The conference “aims to shed light on the past and present struggle for human rights and against discrimination that has become synonymous with the term gay marriage,” according to the CGES newsletter, which cites examples of gay marriage legalization in Germany, the United Kingdom, Spain, Denmark, the Netherlands and nine states in the United States.

Conference participants will address remaining obstacles to gay marriage and will discuss the pending U.S. Supreme Court review of the Defense of Marriage Act and other timely questions.

Co-sponsors of the event in addition to CGES and the Goethe Institut are the Women’s and Gender Studies Program, the Interdepartmental Program in Sexuality and Queer Studies, the Women’s Studies Research Center, the Legal Studies Program, the International Center for Ethics, Justice, and Public Life, Triskelion and the Intercultural Center, as well as the German Consul General and the French Consulate in Boston.

“I think this shows how many people here view this as a really important issue of social justice in our time,” said CGES director von Mering . “It’s exciting to see all the positive developments in recent months, but that doesn’t blind us to the steep hill there is yet to climb until there is full equality.”

RSVPs for the noon to 2 pm luncheon with panelists in the Faculty Club Lounge should be to Students and faculty interested in an afternoon colloquium at 2:30 p.m. should contact Professor von Mering at for more information.

Categories: Humanities and Social Sciences, International Affairs

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