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Just MarriedSame-Sex Couples, Monogamy, and the Future of Marriage$
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Stephen Macedo

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780691166483

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691166483.001.0001

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The Special Status of Marriage

The Special Status of Marriage

(p.79) Chapter 4 The Special Status of Marriage
Just Married

Stephen Macedo

Princeton University Press

This chapter considers the symbolic dimension of marriage, noting that the symbolism of marriage has been most central to the very public political debates over same-sex marriage. It first examines the arguments against preserving marriage as a status relation in law and asks whether marriage as a civil institution deserves its special status in law. It then discusses the uses of marriage as a status relationship defined by law, the law and public meaning of marriage, and the idea of marital commitment. It also makes the case for marriage from the standpoint of our deepest commitments to equality and freedom and argues that retaining “marriage” as a distinctive status in law serves both justice and the public good.

Keywords:   marriage, special status, status relation, symbolism, public meaning, marital commitment, equality, freedom, justice, same-sex marriage

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