"What If? The Legal Consequences of Marriage and the Legal Needs of Lesbian and Gay Male Couples"

Michigan Law Authors
Areas of Interest
Publish Date
Michigan Law Review
Publication Type
Journal Article

Laws that treat married persons in a different manner than they treat single persons permeate nearly every field of social regulation in this country - taxation, torts, evidence, social welfare, inheritance, adoption, and on and on. In this article I inquire into the patterns these laws form and the central benefits and obligations that marriage entails, a task few scholars have undertaken in recent years. I have done so because same-sex couples, a large group not previously eligible to marry under the laws of any American jurisdiction, may be on the brink of securing the opportunity to do so in Hawaii.' I wanted to know the benefits and burdens that legal marriage might extend to this group and ask whether the consequences would be sensible and appropriate for same-sex couples. How, in other words, would this institution, molded over time for persons of different sexes, apply to those with different differences?

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