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Enron, Doma, and Spousal Privileges: Rethinking the Marriage Plot

81 Fordham L. Rev. __ 2012, Forthcoming

Brooklyn Law School, Legal Studies Paper No. 297

19 Pages Posted: 4 Oct 2012  

I. Bennett Capers

Brooklyn Law School

Date Written: October 3, 2012


The story of the collapse of Enron, at one time the world’s seventh largest company, is familiar to many. What is less well known is the issue Enron almost raised about DOMA and spousal privileges. This “almost raised” issue is the subject this Essay, which recounts the story of the first executive to be arrested as part of the Enron debacle, Michael Kopper, who happens to be gay. On the surface, the story of Kopper and his partner William Dodson may seem insignificant — unlikely to repeat itself, inconsequential, and illustrative of just one of the hundreds of disadvantages facing same-sex couples under DOMA. After all, how important is an “almost raised” story about the interplay of evidentiary rules and DOMA? But dig deeper, and the Kopper and Dodson story raises questions that go well beyond Enron, DOMA, and spousal privileges. Indeed, it raises issues that go beyond the solution advocated by many mainstream LGBT advocacy group: the solution of marriage equality. In short, the Kopper and Dodson story ultimately raises questions about the prioritization of marriage equality as a goal by LGBT groups, and about the belief, shared by many, that marriage equality will be the catalyst remedying other inequalities.

Keywords: DOMA, spousal privileges, testimonial privileges, Enron, marriage equality, same-sex marriage

Suggested Citation

Capers, I. Bennett, Enron, Doma, and Spousal Privileges: Rethinking the Marriage Plot (October 3, 2012). 81 Fordham L. Rev. __ 2012, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN:

I. Bennett Capers (Contact Author)

Brooklyn Law School ( email )

250 Joralemon Street
Brooklyn, NY 11201
United States


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