European institutions, transnational networks and national same-sex union policy: when soft law hits harder.

Kollman, K. (2009) European institutions, transnational networks and national same-sex union policy: when soft law hits harder. Contemporary Politics, 15(1), pp. 37-53. (doi:10.1080/13569770802674204)

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Abstract

In a period of just under 20 years, 15 Western European countries have adopted national same-sex union (SSU) laws that legally recognize the gay and lesbian couples who chose to enter them. This rather startling case of convergent policy change has largely slipped under the radar screens of political scientists. This article argues that the European Union (EU), the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR), and a transnational network of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender activists have played a crucial role in this policy change by creating a soft law norm for relationship recognition and disseminating this norm to policymakers in Western European states. More recently, both the EU and the ECtHR have begun mandating some minimal recognition of same-sex couples. Using Austria and Germany as comparative cases, the article posits further that Europe has had a far greater impact on national policy outcomes when its influence has been felt through the informal processes of norm diffusion and elite socialization than when it has tried to impose formal mandates through court decisions and EU directives.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Kollman, Dr Kelly
Authors: Kollman, K.
Subjects:J Political Science > JN Political institutions (Europe)
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences > Politics
Journal Name:Contemporary Politics
Publisher:Routledge (part of Taylor and Francis)
ISSN:1356-9775
ISSN (Online):1469-3631
Published Online:09 March 2009

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