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The Boundaries of Belonging: Allegiance, Purpose and the Definition of Marriage

Brigham Young Journal of Public Law, Vol. 25, No. 2, p. 287, 2011

28 Pages Posted: 20 Nov 2011  

Lynn D. Wardle

Brigham Young University - J. Reuben Clark Law School

Date Written: January 19, 2011

Abstract

This article addresses an important concept theme in family law scholarship: that of belonging. This paper will address the boundaries of belonging, the need to preserve boundaries to preserve communities, particularly the community of marriage, and to protect and maintain the opportunity and value of belonging to such communities. One of the paradoxes of belonging is that the need to belong also creates a need to exclude; in order for belonging to occur, there must be boundaries, standards defining the relationship, and criteria separating members of the group from nonmembers. The boundaries of marriage must reflect the key purposes of the community. This article explains why allowing same-sex couples to marry would seriously undermine the basic legal and social institution of marriage. This article seeks to establish five basic points about the boundaries of marriage. First, boundaries and exclusion are necessary for all communities, including the community of marriage. Second, boundaries must reflect, protect, and reinforce the core principles of the community. Third, gender integration is a critical, core purpose of marriage. Fourth, legalizing same-sex denies and undermines the core gender-integrative purposes of marriage. Finally, in setting the boundaries of basic social institutions such as marriage, it is especially important to follow the legitimate process of democratic self-government, and not abuse or circumvent, evade or cut off those important political processes which help society learn, grow, unite and heal.

Suggested Citation

Wardle, Lynn D., The Boundaries of Belonging: Allegiance, Purpose and the Definition of Marriage (January 19, 2011). Brigham Young Journal of Public Law, Vol. 25, No. 2, p. 287, 2011. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1962109

Lynn D. Wardle (Contact Author)

Brigham Young University - J. Reuben Clark Law School ( email )

518 JRCB
Provo, UT 84602
United States
801-422-2617 (Phone)
801-422-0391 (Fax)

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