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University of Michigan Law School

Michigan Journal of Gender & Law

2012

Civil marriage

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Civil Marriage: Threat To Democracy, Jessica Knouse Jan 2012

Civil Marriage: Threat To Democracy, Jessica Knouse

Michigan Journal of Gender & Law

This Article argues that civil marriage and democracy are inherently incompatible, whether assessed from a transcultural perspective that reduces them to their most universal aspects or a culturally situated perspective that accounts for their uniquely American elaborations. Across virtually all cultures, civil marriage privileges sexual partners by offering them exclusive access to highly desirable government benefits, while democracy presupposes liberty and equality. When governments privilege sexual partners, they effectively deprive their citizens of liberty by encouraging them to enter sexual partnerships rather than selfdetermining based on their own preferences; they effectively deprive their citizens of equality by establishing insidious status ...