Marriage Equality in the US: A case of successful transformations systems development

You are invited to join us for a talk with Steve Waddell on deep and systemic transformations. Starting out from the example of changing approaches to marriage equality in the US, the aim of the seminar is to advance the development of the concept of “transformations systems” and to initiate a discussion about possible collaborative actions in this inter-disciplinary, action-oriented research work.

Marriage equality – same sex marriage – is a recent example of transformation in societal values, beliefs and practices.  In the US, it represents a shift in the role of marriage away from three particular foundations:  (1) a religious act; (2) an act for the purpose of child-rearing, and (3) an arrangement between a man and woman.  The rise of marriage equality as an accepted norm represents a deep shift in identities, laws, policies, and the bedrock societal institution: the family.


How this occurred is presented through four development stages from the late 1960s through 50 years, each dependent on the preceding stage.  The process is described as one of developing a powerful transformations system that addressed key societal pillars by bringing together in coherent power seven particular activities identified as critical for developing powerful transformations systems.  In this way, the lessons of the marriage equality transformation are investigated to give support to those working for other transformations.


Steve Waddell

Responding to the 21st century’s enormous global challenges and realizing its unsurpassed opportunities require transformation in ways of acting and organizing. For the past 35 years Steve has been supporting this through consultations, education, research, and personal leadership. He is currently Lead Staff of the SDG Transformation Forum, growing systems of people, organizations, locales, who are developing transformations systems as key infrastructure to accelerate deep change. 


Dozens of publications include the books Societal Learning and Change: Innovation with Multi-Stakeholder Strategies (2005); Global Action Networks: Creating our future together (2011); Change for the Audacious: a doers’ guide to large systems change for a flourishing future (2016). Steve has a Ph.D. in sociology and an MBA, and is a Canadian-American living in Boston with his husband.

Published Feb. 26, 2019 3:23 PM - Last modified Sep. 21, 2020 2:06 PM