Alternatives to Marriage and the Doctrine of “Separate but Equal”

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:
Alternatives to Marriage and the Doctrine of “Separate but Equal”

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This chapter addresses an issue that is currently at the heart of the debate over the rights of same-sex couples: the question of whether the status of same-sex couples should be recognized outside and separately from the institution of marriage or as part of it. Models alternative to marriage for the recognition of same-sex partnerships—registered partnership and domestic partnership—are, to varying degrees, unequal to marriage and thus constitute discrimination against same-sex couples. Until such schemes accord same-sex couples all the rights, benefits, obligations, and protections associated with opposite-sex marriage, as has been done in the Netherlands, they will remain unsatisfactory. Indeed, some of the distinctions between registered partnership and marriage are already beginning to fade as the northern European countries amend their acts to equate the status of same-sex couples with that of opposite-sex married couples—for example, the Danish second-parent adoption amendment and the relaxation of requirements in the field of citizenship and residency.

Keywords: same-sex couples; institution of marriage; same-sex partnerships; Netherlands; registered partnerships; opposite-sex couples; citizenship

Chapter.  13794 words. 

Subjects: Family Law

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