The government’s defining “marriage”
November 5, 2012
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Laurie Shrage (Florida International University) writes.
Those advocating for privatizing and deregulating marriage are operating with too narrow a vision of the state’s (and society’s) interest in recognizing families. I agree with marriage privatizers that the state should not promote marriage among adults as a way to establish parent responsibility or to avoid poverty. The state can pursue these aims less intrusively — by formalizing agreements of child support and custody between both unmarried and married parents, that is, independently of marriage. Indeed the terms of marriage are not comprehensive enough to cover this, though they traditionally assigned the bulk of childcare to wives. But not promoting marriage is different from deregulating or privatizing it. In countries or states where women have achieved formally equal rights, such as the United States, there is no need to support heterosexual marriage as a way to insure the well-being and security of women.