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Marriage, Sexuality, and Gender

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Overview

Marriage, Sexuality, and Gender examines contemporary debates about the meaning and value of civil marriage. The book analyzes arguments for traditional marriage, including those of neonaturalists, utilitarians, and communitarians or virtue theorists. The volume also considers a range of feminist, welfarist, and liberationist arguments for ending the institution altogether. It evaluates two major reform movements: one focused on expanding marriage to include same-sex couples and the other focused on the use of law to render marriage more internally just. The book concludes with a plea to activists to redirect “marriage equality” movements toward the creation of an entirely secular “civil union law” that would respect a broader range of private life-long commitments, including but not limited to same- and opposite-sex couples, without threatening the role of religious marriage in the lives of those who embrace it and without penalizing nonparticipants.

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Product Details

Meet the Author

Robin West is Professor of Law at Georgetown University Law Center. She teaches and writes in the fields of constitutional law and theory, jurisprudence, law and humanities, and feminist and gender studies. Her most recent book is Re-Imagining Justice (Ashgate Press 2003).

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Table of Contents


Introduction     1
A Look in the Rearview Mirror     24
Patriarchal Marriage of 1850 and Traditional Marriage of 1950: A Contrast     27
Patriarchal and Traditional Marriage: Continuities     36
Traditional Marriage and Contractual Marriage: A Contrast     44
From Contract to Politics     53
In Defense of Marriage ("When I'm Sixty-Four")     57
The Neonatural Law Defense of Traditional Marriage     58
Non-Neonatural Law Arguments Defending Traditional Marriage     69
The Utilitarian Defense of Civil Marriage     70
Communitarian Defenses of Marriage: Marriage as Commitment     89
Marriage and Its Critics ("Let's Call the Whole Thing Off")     104
The Dubious Constitutionality of Civil Marriage     106
Should We Call the Whole Thing Off? Utilitarian Arguments against Marriage     131
Some Reservations...Perhaps We Shouldn't Call the Whole Thing Off     137
Just Marriage ("We Can Work It Out")     141
Same-Sex Marriage     142
Formal Equality     149
Communitarian Values     156
Social Utilitarian Arguments     164
Social Conservative Arguments against Gay Marriage     166
Progressive Arguments against Same-SexMarriage     171
The Egalitarian Marriage Movement     179
Critics of Just Marriage     188
Conclusion: A Modest Proposal     196
Defending Marriage     199
Ending Marriage     201
The Justice of Civil Union Law     205
Civil Union and Marriage Equality: Some Contrasts     211
On Civic Modesty     215
Notes     219
Bibliography     266
Index     279
About the Author     289
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