The Meaning of Marriage: Family, State, Market and Morals

With Jean Bethke Elshtain, eds. Spence Publishing, 2006.

Description from Publisher:

The movement for same-sex marriage has triggered an unprecedented crisis in the social norms and laws governing marriage. All great civilizations have sought to unite, in the institution of marriage, the goods of sexual intimacy, childbearing and childrearing, and life-long love between adults. But the last five decades have witnessed the erosion of marriage as a public institution in the developed world. The separation of the goods previously united in marriage has led thoughtful people to question why marriage should be denied to homosexuals.

This volume brings together the best of contemporary scholarship on marriage from a variety of disciplines—history, ethics, economics, law and public policy, philosophy, sociology, psychiatry, political science—to inform, and reform, public debate. Rigorous yet accessible, these studies aim to rethink and re-present the case for marriage as a positive institution and ideal that is in the public interest and serves the common good.

The essays in this volume were presented to an audience of scholars, journalists, public policy experts, and other professionals, at a conference sponsored by the Witherspoon Institute. The authors are among the most eminent authorities on marriage and public policy in the English-speaking world.

Table of Contents:

Sacrilege and Sacrament by Roger Scruton
What About the Children? Liberal Cautions on Same-Sex Marriage by Don Browning and Elizabeth Marquardt
Changing Dynamics of the Family in Recent European History by Harold James
Why Unilateral Divorce Has No Place in a Free Society by Jennifer Roback Morse
The Framers’ Idea of Marriage and Family by David F. Forte
Family and the Laws by Hadley Arkes
What’s Sex Got to Do with It? Marriage, Morality, and Rationality by Robert P. George
Soft Despotism and Same-sex Marriage by Seana Sugrue
(How) Does Marriage Protect Child Well-being? by Maggie Gallagher
Current Crisis in Marriage Law, its Origins, and its Impact by Katherine Shaw Spaht
Suffer the Little Children: Marriage, the Poor and the Commonweal by W. Bradford Wilcox

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