Liberal Neutrality and Civil Marriage

In Elizabeth Brake (ed.), After Marriage: Rethinking Marital Relationships. New York, NY, USA: pp. 9-28 (2016)
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A powerful objection to civil marriage claims that it violates the principle of liberal neutrality because the institution implies state endorsement of matrimony as an ideal type of personal relationship. The chapter argues that this neutrality objection is cogent only if certain empirical conditions fail to be met. These conditions concern both the nature and the effects of the social norms that stipulate the intentions and beliefs necessary for good faith entrance into marriage. In certain circumstances, the presumptively permanent nature of marital relationships supports a cogent justification of civil marriage without any implication of state endorsement of the matrimonial ideal.



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Simon Căbulea May
Florida State University

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