Marriage and Same-Sex Unions: A Debate

Marriage and Same-Sex Unions: A Debate

Marriage and Same-Sex Unions: A Debate

Marriage and Same-Sex Unions: A Debate

Synopsis

This book exemplifies the high quality of thoughtful discussion and debate that is possible on the issue of same-sex marriage. Authors are paired to address and respond to a particular topic, one in favor of state recognition of same-sex relationships, and one in favor of limiting state recognition to those relationships that have been traditionally recognized as marriages.

Excerpt

Future historians studying American legal, social, and political developments at the turn of the millennium will likely identify the debate over proposals to legalize same-sex marriage or same-sex domestic partnership as one of the defining domestic policy issues of the era. Marriage implicates extremely important state and individual interests and has an exalted status, both because of what it symbolizes and because of the important benefits to which individuals having that status are entitled. The centrality of the institution of marriage for social organization has been recognized at least since the time of Aristotle, who advised that the first responsibility of wise lawmakers is to establish the rules regulating marriage. Thus it is not surprising that the proposal to legalize same-sex marriage or marriage-equivalent domestic partnerships or civil unions is and will continue to be the subject of widespread and heated public discussion.

While a great deal has been written about the legal policy issues in the escalating debate over the legal recognition of same-sex unions in the United States, there has unfortunately been very little dialogue and exchange between participants. This book is a modest attempt to open that dialogue and to exemplify the high quality of thoughtful discussion and debate that is possible.

The structure of this anthology involves a pairing of authors addressing a particular topic, one from a perspective in favor of state recognition of same-sex relationships and one from a perspective in favor of limiting state recognition to those relationships that have been traditionally recognized as marriages. Each chapter includes two main essays (one by each of the paired authors) and a response to each essay by the paired author. (In one chapter, the responding essays are by other authors.) This structure helps bring clarity

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