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Against MarriageAn Egalitarian Defense of the Marriage-Free State$
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Clare Chambers

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198744009

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198744009.001.0001

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Marriage as a Violation of Equality

Marriage as a Violation of Equality

Chapter:
(p.11) 1 Marriage as a Violation of Equality
Source:
Against Marriage
Author(s):

Clare Chambers

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780198744009.003.0001

This chapter makes the foundational egalitarian case against marriage. It starts with a historical overview of feminist objections to marriage. Marriage undermines women’s equality both practically and symbolically. Feminists criticize marriage for being both sexist and heterosexist. This two-pronged attack looks puzzling. How can it be both bad for women to be married and bad for lesbians and gays to be unmarried? The discussion continues with an analysis of whether same-sex marriage is egalitarian. It concludes that, in a marriage regime, same-sex marriage is both required by and insufficient for equality. Finally, the chapter argues that reformed versions of marriage such as civil union still enact inequality between those who have and those who lack the relevant status. It follows that the abolition of state-recognized marriage best meets the myriad egalitarian objections to the institution.

Keywords:   Marriage, equality, feminism, civil union, same-sex marriage, sex discrimination, lesbian and gay rights, sexism, civil union, egalitarian

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