The institution of marriage stands at a critical juncture. As gay marriage equality gains acceptance in law and public opinion, questions abound regarding marriage's future. Will same-sex marriage lead to more radical marriage reform? Should it? Antonin Scalia and many others on the right warn of a slippery slope from same-sex marriage toward polygamy, adult incest, and the dissolution of marriage as we know it. Equally, many academics, activists, and intellectuals on the left contend that there is no place for monogamous marriage as a special status defined by law. Just Married demonstrates that both sides are wrong: the same principles of democratic justice that demand marriage equality for same-sex couples also lend support to monogamous marriage.
Stephen Macedo displays the groundlessness of arguments against same-sex marriage and defends marriage as a public institution against those who would eliminate its special status or supplant it with private arrangements. Arguing that monogamy reflects and cultivates our most basic democratic values, Macedo opposes the legal recognition of polygamy, but agrees with progressives that public policies should do more to support nontraditional caring and caregiving relationships. Throughout, Macedo explores the meaning of contemporary marriage and the reasons for its fragility and its enduring significance. His defense of reformed marriage against slippery slope alarmists on the right, and radical critics of marriage on the left, vindicates the justice and common sense of the emerging consensus.
Casting new light on today's debates over the future of marriage, Just Married lays the groundwork for a stronger institution.
Stephen Macedo is the Laurance S. Rockefeller Professor of Politics and the former director of the University Center for Human Values at Princeton University. His many books include Liberal Virtues and Diversity and Distrust. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
"[C]losely reasoned, powerful, and persuasive."--Huffington Post
"Highly intelligent."--Tyler Cowen, Marginal Revolution
"The book is timely and engaging."--Choice
"Just Married provides a deep understanding of what it is I'm signing off on when I scribble my name on those county-issued marriage licenses."--Katherine Willis Pershey, Christian Century
"This well-argued book will serve a wide audience. Anyone interested in getting into the marriage debates would do well to start with Just Married and can expect to gain a full understanding of the landscape. Macedo makes a strong argument for inclusion of same-sex marriages into the legal institution of marriage, and a strong case for retaining the legal institution."--Lori Watson, Review of Politics
"Macedo offers a well-researched, wide-ranging argument for the special role of marriage in democratic society and the ability of same-sex: marriage to fit within this accepted role. . . . Just Married . . . deserves praise for challenging us to deliberate more diligently the promises and pitfalls of civil marriage."--Scott Barclay, Perspectives on Politics
"There is much here I endorse heartily and much I disagree with--vehemently. As a work of public political philosophy, it is sure to engage almost any reader to the same extent, with its wide-ranging, opinionated discussion. This is simply the best book I know articulating the case for the state recognizing same-sex marriage—and stopping reform there."--Elizabeth Brake, Ethical Theory and Moral Practice
Table of Contents:
Preface and Acknowledgments ix
Introduction: Why Marriage Matters 1
PART I. WHY SAME-SEX MARRIAGE?
Chapter 1. Gay Rights and the Constitution of Reasons 19
Chapter 2. Traditional Marriage and Public Law 38
Chapter 3. Marriage, Gender Justice, and Children’s Well-Being 60
PART II. WHY MARRIAGE?
Chapter 4. The Special Status of Marriage 79
Chapter 5. Marriage: Obligations, Benefits, and Access 99
Chapter 6. Reform Proposals and Alternatives to Marriage 119
PART III. WHY TWO? MONOGAMY, POLYGAMY, AND DEMOCRACY
Chapter 7. The Challenge of Polygamy 145
Chapter 8. Polygamy, Monogamy, and Marriage Justice 161
Chapter 9. Polygamy Unbound? The Kody Brown Family and the Future of Plural Marriage 179
Conclusion: Happily Ever After 204
Other Princeton books authored or coauthored by Stephen Macedo: