The Changing Institution of Marriage and the Exclusion of Same-Sex Couples

in Equality for Same-Sex Couples

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print July 2002 | ISBN: 9780226520315
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226520339 | DOI:
The Changing Institution of Marriage and the Exclusion of Same-Sex Couples

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There have been radical changes in the concept of marriage, the way marriages are arranged (who has the power to make decisions about marriage), the motives behind marriage, and the degree of equality between the spouses. Current justifications for marriage and the perceived goals of the institution are based primarily on the assumption of mutual love between two people who come together on equal terms. Most discussions regarding same-sex marriage fail to take into account that, throughout most of history, the affinity between love and marriage was not viewed in causal terms; it is only relatively recently that love has become the commonly assumed basis for marriage and its primary justification. Thus, a discussion of the connections and tensions between love and marriage and a historical overview of the nature of heterosexual marriage, however brief, are imperative for an understanding of the current debate over same-sex marriage.

Keywords: same-sex couples; same-sex marriage; mutual love; spouses; institution of marriage; social change

Chapter.  26112 words. 

Subjects: Family Law

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