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University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Equal protection

Sexuality and the Law

2017

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Full-Text Articles in Law

Intersectionality And The Constitution Of Family Status, Serena Mayeri Jan 2017

Intersectionality And The Constitution Of Family Status, Serena Mayeri

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Marital supremacy—the legal privileging of marriage—is, and always has been, deeply intertwined with inequalities of race, class, gender, and region. Many if not most of the plaintiffs who challenged legal discrimination based on family status in the 1960s and 1970s were impoverished women, men, and children of color who made constitutional equality claims. Yet the constitutional law of the family is largely silent about the status-based impact of laws that prefer marriage and disadvantage non-marital families. While some lower courts engaged with race-, sex-, and wealth-based discrimination arguments in family status cases, the Supreme Court largely avoided recognizing ...