Publication Date



Law and Inequality


In the context of recent accomplishments in the quest for full marriage equality for same-sex couples, this article considers three proposals for reform to the law of adult domestic relations: (i) the abolition of the legal institution of marriage; (ii) the development of a broad “menu” of alternative forms of relationship recognition in addition to marriage; and (iii) the embracing of a functionalist approach to relationship recognition whereby relationships that share significant functional attributes with marriages are, in certain ways, given the same legal treatment as marriages. The article contends that advocates and theoreticians should strive for more than just equal access to marriage for same-sex couples. While the abolition of marriage is neither practical nor appropriate given the structure of family law in the United States and the role that marriage plays in it, the article instead advocates for the development and implementation of alternative forms of relationship recognition as well as the embracing of a nuanced form of functionalism.



First Page



University of Minnesota Law School


same-sex, same-sex marriage, LGBTQ, family law



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