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The Monogamous Temporalities of Marriage Law: Explaining Bisexual Erasure in Australian Same-Sex Marriage Debates


Dylan Stanford

In December 2017 Australia legalised same-sex marriage. Although bisexuals were ostensibly included in the debates around same-sex marriage, substantive discussion of bisexuals and bisexuality was absent. This article asks why bisexuality was missing from the debates, despite being a key constituency that stood to benefit from its introduction. It focuses on two moments in the quest to legalise same-sex marriage in Australia: the parliamentary debates relating to the Marriage Amendment (Definition and Religious Freedoms) Bill 2017 (Cth) and two parliamentary inquiries into same-sex marriage. This article finds that moments of bisexual erasure coincided with expressions of the monogamous and temporal investments of marriage law, including the belief that marriage should be a lifelong and exclusive union. This article argues that the monogamous temporalities of marriage are at least partly responsible for the erasure of bisexuality from same-sex marriage discourses, and that this is harmful for bisexual people.

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2022 45(4) UNSWLJ 1325: