Beyond (Straight and Gay) Marriage: Valuing All Families Under the Law

Beyond (Straight and Gay) Marriage: Valuing All Families Under the Law

by Nancy D. Polikoff


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Beyond (Straight and Gay) Marriage: Valuing All Families Under the Law by Nancy D. Polikoff

Beyond (Straight and Gay) Marriage reframes the family-rights debate by arguing that marriage shouldn't bestow special legal privileges upon couples because people, both heterosexual and LGBT, live in a variety of relationships-including unmarried couples of any sexual orientation, single-parent households, extended biological family units, and myriad other familial configurations. Nancy D. Polikoff shows how the law can value all families, and why it must.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780807044322
Publisher: Beacon
Publication date: 02/06/2008
Pages: 256
Product dimensions: 5.68(w) x 8.83(h) x 0.81(d)

About the Author

Nancy Polikoff is a Professor of Law at American University Washington College of Law, where she teaches Sexuality and the Law and has taught Family Law for more than 20 years. Previously, she supervised the family law programs of the Women's Legal Defense Fund, and before that she practiced law as part of a feminist law collective, where she specialized in family law. For more than 30 years, she has been writing about, speaking about, and litigating cases involving lesbian and gay families. Professor Polikoff's articles have appeared in many law journals, including those at University of Chicago, Georgetown, Harvard, Hastings, and Hofstra. Her history of the development of the law affecting lesbian and gay parenting appears as a chapter in the 2000 book, Creating Change: Sexuality, Public Policy, and Civil Rights, edited by John D'Emilio, William Turner, and Urvashi Vaid. Professor Polikoff was successful appellate counsel in the case that the established the right of lesbian and gay couples to jointly adopt children in the District of Columbia, and in a Maryland case overturning a visitation order prohibiting any contact between a gay noncustodial father's children and his life partner. Visit her website at

Michael Bronski
 is professor of practice in media and activism in the Women, Gender, and Sexuality Program at Harvard University. He has written extensively on LGBT issues for four decades, in both mainstream and queer publications, and is the author of three other books and editor of several anthologies. 

Table of Contents

A Note from the Series Editor ix

Introduction 1

1 The Changing Meaning of Marriage 11

2 Gay Rights and the Conservative Backlash 34

3 Redefining Family 46

4 The Right and the Marriage Movement 63

5 LGBT Families and the Marriage-Equality Movement 83

6 Countries Where Marriage Matters Less 110

7 Valuing All Families 123

8 Domestic Partner Benefits for All Families 146

9 Coping with Illness: Medical Care and Family and Medical Leave 159

10 When a Relationship Ends through Dissolution or Death: Distributing Assets and Providing for Children 174

11 Losing an Economic Provider: Wrongful Death, Workers' Compensation, and Social Security 193

Conclusion 208

Acknowledgments 215

Notes 217

Index 243

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