take chair

Celia Kitzinger and Sue Wilkinson

Celia Kitzinger and Sue Wilkinson are a British lesbian couple who are lobbying to have their relationship recognised as a marriage in England.

Celia Kitzinger

Kitzinger is Professor of Conversation Analysis, Gender and Sexuality in the Department of Sociology at the University of York, UK.

She has long had a career in academia, having published nine books and contributed over one hundred articles relating to language, feminism and homosexual issues. Kitzinger earned a M.A. degree from the University of Oxford and a Ph.D. from the University of Reading. After having served from 1999–2000 as Visiting Professor at the University of California at Los Angeles, she accepted her current post at York.

Kitzinger is also qualified as being a chartered psychologist within the British Psychological Society, of which she was elected fellow in 1997. Furthermore, the American Psychological Association has also honoured her by accepting her as fellow in 2000.

Currently Professor Kitzinger is using conversation analysis to explore the ordinary mundane reproduction of heterosexism in everyday talk-in-interaction, and aside from her work at the University of York she also serves as associate editor of Feminism & Psychology.

Sue Wilkinson

Wilkinson is Professor of Feminist and Health Studies in the Department of Social Sciences at the Loughborough University, UK.

Professor Wilkinson also has had a successful academic career. She completed her undergraduate studies at the University of Leicester, graduating with a B.Sc. degree in psychology. From there, she proceeded to earn a Ph.D. specialising in gender issues, particularly regarding the role of women in psychology.

Wilkinson's first academic post was as a lecturer at the University of Liverpool, following this she took position as Head of the Psychology department at Coventry University. After Coventry Wilkinson accepted a research post at the University of Hull, however left this post to accept a Visiting Professorship at the University of Waikato. After this position in 1999 Wilkinson was granted a full professorship at Loughborough, having been associated with the university since 1994. Despite this, Professor Wilkinson decided to accept a sabatical between 2001 and 2002, she spent this year firstly working at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and then serving as a visiting scholar at the University of California, Los Angeles. The following year she took special leave so as to take chair as the Ruth Wynn Woodward Endowed Professor of Women’s Studies at Simon Fraser University, Canada. It was whilst in Canada that Professor Kitzinger and Professor Wilkinson decided to marry.

Wilkinson has also received great recognition as an accomplished academic, and has a strong involvement with the British Psychological Society, being instrumental in the foundation of its Psychology of Women section, for which she served as the first head, and also its Lesbian and Gay Psychology section.

Currently Professor Wilkinson is researching the expression of emotions in talk-in-interaction, as part of her role at Loughborough.

Throughout her career Wilkinson has co-authored four books with Kitzinger, and serves as the editor of the academic journal; Feminism & Psychology.

Marriage status

The couple married in Yaletown in the city of Vancouver, British Columbia, in August 2003, a few weeks after same-sex marriage became legal in BC, where Wilkinson had been working as a Visiting Professor at Simon Fraser University.

On their return to the UK, the couple discovered that their relationship had no legal status at all. Two years later, with the implementation of the Civil Partnership Act, the relationship was automatically converted to a civil partnership.

Supported by the human rights organisation, Liberty, and by OutRage!, the couple have launched a test case in the British courts to have their same-sex marriage legally recognised.

In July 2006 the High Court rejected the couple's bid. Sir Mark Porter argued that marriage was an "age-old institution" which, he suggested, was by "longstanding definition and acceptance" a relationship between a man and a woman. He described this as an "insurmountable hurdle" to the couple's case.

See also


  • The Social Construction of Lesbianism (Sage 1987), ISBN 0-8039-8116-3
  • Heterosexuality: A Feminism & Psychology Reader (Sage 1993), ISBN 0-8039-8822-2 (ed. with Sue Wilkinson)
  • Changing Our Minds: Lesbian Feminism and Psychology (Onlywomen Press 1993), ISBN 0-906500-49-4 (with Rachel Perkins)
  • Women and Health: Feminist Perspectives (Taylor & Francis 1994), ISBN 0-7484-0148-2 (ed. with Sue Wilkinson)
  • Feminism and Discourse: Psychological Perspectives (Sage 1995), ISBN 0-8039-7801-4 (ed. with Sue Wilkinson)
  • Representing the Other: A Feminism & Psychology Reader (Sage 1996), ISBN 0-7619-5228-4 (ed. with Sue Wilkinson)
  • Lesbian & Gay Psychology: New Perspectives (Blackwell 2002), ISBN 1-4272-219-7 (ed. with Adrian Coyle)

External links

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