Dr Alexander Maine

Consummation, Adultery and Same-Sex marriage


Consummation and adultery were omitted from the Marriage (Same-Sex Couples) Act 2013. This paper explores the issue of consummation (in particular) and offers empirical evidence in support of reform. Assessing the functioning and role of relationship recognition to LGBTQ people, this article will assess the implications of the exclusion of consummation from same-sex marriage. It draws on semi-structured, in-depth interviews conducted with a group of 29 LGBTQ people following the 2013 legislation to argue that the current law contributes to a sexual hierarchy that maintains and privileges heteronormativity, and that this system should be reformed by either abolishing the consummation requirement or redefining it to include same-sex consummation, accommodating a wide range of sexual expression. Reforming same-sex marriage to disestablish consummation’s current role would contribute both to the current transformation of marriage instigated by no-fault divorce and to the queering of marriage by deconstructing heteronormativity.


Alexander Maine joined Leicester Law School in November 2019 and I am a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy; before which I was an Associate Lecturer and PhD Candidate at Northumbria University. My socio-legal research focuses on Family Law and Gender, Sexuality and Law, in particular relationship recognition, same-sex marriage, civil partnerships, and the effect of law on the lived experiences of LGBTQ people. My PhD is entitled Same-Sex Marriage and the Sexual Hierarchy: Constructing the Homonormative and Homoradical Legal Identities and I am co-editor the Edward Elgar Research Handbook on Gender, Sexuality, and the Law.