Marriage Proposals: Questioning a Legal Status
Book format: An electronic version of a printed book that can be read on a computer or handheld device designed specifically for this purpose.
Publisher: Date:1/1/2006 - NYU Press
By: Anita Bernstein
"Enjoyable and provocative. . . . This collection nicely reveals and sorts through a host of exciting and complex questions about marriage." — ?Martha McCluskey, co-editor of Feminism, Media, and the Law"One of the curious features of the early twenty-first century has been the noisy presence of 'marriage' in the public culture. The result has been a public dialogue that often marries bad social science and homophobia, with understandable public anxieties about how children grow up in our world. We deserve better and Marriage Proposals provides it. Anita Bernstein's collection draws on the best work by some of the smartest and most thoughtful participants in the recent marriage wars. The authors ask the reader to think hard about how marriage can be justified today. And the result is a book that confronts some of the hardest and deepest questions that face us as a society."?Hendrik Hartog, author of Man and Wife in America: A History"Bringing together insights from law, anthropology, and political theory, the rigorous essays in Marriage Proposals strip away easy assumptions about marriage. Readers will emerge from the volume inspired to bring the national conversation on these issues to a deeper and more interesting level."?Suzanne B. Goldberg, author of Strangers to the Law: Gay People on Trial"Marriage Proposals brings new insights to the marriage debates by discussing the provocative idea of getting the government out of the business of marriage recognition altogether. Anyone seeking to think clearly about the nature and function of marriage in our society should read this collection."?Brian Bix, Frederick W. Thomas Professor of Law and Philosophy, University of Minnesota Law SchoolThe essays in Marriage Proposals envision a variety of scenarios in which adults would continue to join themselves together seeking permanent companionship and sustenance, linking sexual intimacy to a long commitment, usually caring for each other, and building new families. What would disappear are the legal consequences associated with marriage. No joint income tax return: no immigration privileges like the "fiancée visa" or the right to bring in a husband or wife: no special statuses for prison visits or hospital decisions: no prerogative to remain silent in court by claiming "confidential marital communications": no pension entitlements: no marital benefits and detriments regarding criminal or civil liability.The anthology makes a unique contribution amid the two marriage furors of the day: same-sex marriage and the Bush Administration's "marriage movement" (that marrying is good and more marriages would be better for society). Abolishing the legal category of marriage is the only policy suggestion in current American discourse that speaks to both causes. Activists on both sides of the same-sex marriage fight, along with marriage movement partisans, all seek improvement through law reform. Marriage Proposals gives them a viable reform?abolition of marriage as a legal status?for fighting battles in the courtroom and the streets.Contributors include Anita Bernstein, Peggy Cooper Davis, Martha Albertson Fineman, Linda C. McClain, Marshall Miller, Lawrence Rosen, Mary Lyndon Shanley, and Dorian Solot.