Chapter

Defining Marriage

Elizabeth Brake

in Minimizing Marriage

Published in print March 2012 | ISBN: 9780199774142
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199933228 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199774142.003.0007

Series: Studies in Feminist Philosophy

Defining Marriage

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Chapter 6 continues the argument for marriage reform by reviewing liberal debates over same-sex marriage to show what they have missed. Liberal defenses of same-sex marriage have not followed the implications of their own reasoning far enough. Attempts to produce a rationale for restricting legal marriage to different-sex partners have failed; but so have attempts to produce a rationale for restricting it to monogamous or amatonormative relationships. While child welfare is sometimes given as a reason for restricting marriage, the empirical evidence needed to sustain heterosexual privilege is lacking, and many children are reared outside marriages. I argue for separating legal marriage and parenting frameworks. This may seem to cede the point to marriage contractualists by depriving marriage of any rationale. In the absence of such a rationale, considerations of fairness and efficiency seem to support the abolition of legal marriage.

Keywords: political liberalism; same-sex marriage; defining marriage; public reason; parenting; law; children; contractualism; neutrality; abolition

Chapter.  10572 words. 

Subjects: Feminist Philosophy

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