“Defenders of perversion”: Professing Same-Sex Marriage Rights in the Local Press


  • Geraint Osborne University of Alberta, Augustana Campus
  • Shauna Wilton University of Alberta, Augustana Campus




community engagement, same-sex marriage,, frame analysis,, media,, democracy


This case study provides an important socio-historical snapshot of the same-sex marriage debate in a small city in central Alberta between December 2004 and August 2005. We explore the relationship between professors and small-town newspapers in fostering democratic dialogues on key social issues through an analysis of faculty columns and the responding Letters to the Editor in a local paper. In so doing, this research focuses on two social groups located in a particular social environment, each representing a particular frame: the professors working in the local university who maintained an op-ed column in the local paper and supported a equality frame; and the general public living in Camrose and the surrounding rural area who supported a morality frame. This article contributes to our understanding of scholarly engagement in the town-gown context, the democratic role of the press, and how a particularly contentious social and political issue—same-sex marriage—was experienced and framed by concerned citizens in a small conservative rural city that is also the home to a liberal arts and sciences university campus. 

Author Biographies

Geraint Osborne, University of Alberta, Augustana Campus

is a sociologist who teaches in the Law, Crime, and Justice program at the Augustana Campus of the University of Alberta. His research areas are cannabis normalization and stigma, hockey violence, and the community role of public scholars. 

Shauna Wilton, University of Alberta, Augustana Campus

is a political scientist in the Law, Crime and Justice Studies program at the Augustana Campus of the University of Alberta. Her research focuses on the intersections of ethnicity, gender, policy, and culture. 


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How to Cite

Osborne, G., & Wilton, S. . (2022). “Defenders of perversion”: Professing Same-Sex Marriage Rights in the Local Press. Engaged Scholar Journal: Community-Engaged Research, Teaching, and Learning, 8(3), 32–51. https://doi.org/10.15402/esj.v8i3.70358

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