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Marriage and Domestic Partnership: Rationality and Inequality

17 Pages Posted: 10 Nov 2009  

Date Written: Spring , 1998


The efforts of gay and lesbian communities to regularize their relations resulted in competing claims for same-sex marriage and domestic partnerships. This essay argues that the debate between these two forms of organization is tainted by a reliance on analyses provided by neoclassical economic theory. If the decision about which of these institutions presents the best way to structure the relationships of lesbians and gays is dominated by the notion of economic rationality then marriage seems clearly preferable. However, when the focus is changed from the economic interests of the individual to the health and well being of queer communities domestic partnership emerges as the preferable way of organizing gay and lesbian relationships. Thus, the paper argues that queer communities should invest their resources in the development of domestic partnership as a societal institution. Adopting marriage is more likely to support the male privilege and heterosexism inherent in marriage, and will erode the processes of queer culture.

Keywords: gay, lesbian, same-sex marriage, domestic partnership, economics, queer community

Suggested Citation

Pouncy, Charles R. P., Marriage and Domestic Partnership: Rationality and Inequality (Spring , 1998). Temple Political & Civil Rights Law Review, Vol. 7, No. 2, 1998; Florida International University Legal Studies Research Paper No. 08-22. Available at SSRN:

Charles Pouncy (Contact Author)


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