'You Can't Get There from Here,' a Reply to Proposals to Disestablish Marriage as the Path to Care

The Jurisprudence of Marriage and Other Intimate Relationships, Scott FitzGibbon, Lynn D. Wardle, & A. Scott Loveless, eds., (William S. Hein & Co., Inc., 67-104, 2010)

George Mason Legal Studies Research Paper No. LS 16-21

39 Pages Posted: 3 Jul 2016

See all articles by Helen M. Alvare

Helen M. Alvare

George Mason University - Antonin Scalia Law School, Faculty

Date Written: May 12, 2016

Abstract

Several prominent family law scholars have proposed that cohabitation, or the deinstitutionalization of marriage could, with significant governmental support, reliably produce stable care for children and adults in family settings. Their claim is based in large part on the premise that the institution of marriage is inextricably tied to patriarchy, excessively privatized dependency, and a lack of respect for women’s care work. They propose that, were cohabitation provided additional state support, or marriage abolished in favor of voluntary contracts between mothers and fathers respecting children, the problems associated with marriage would fall away. This chapter suggests, however, that such schemes depend upon a deeply flawed anthropology of the human person in the context of intimate relationships. It teases out the anthropology underlying the proposals to dethrone marriage by one or another means, argues its deficiencies, and proposes for consideration an anthropology that appears to offer a more intuitively true, and a more empirically sound basis for explaining human beings' choices and preferences in the area of intimate, heterosexual relationships. This anthropology was explicated over the course of 130 presentations over four years by the philosopher of human sexuality Pope John Paul II. It is entitled the “Theology of the Body.”

Keywords: family law, marriage, cohabitation, anthropology, theology, Pope John Paul II, domestic partnerships, civil unions, parent-child relationships, caretaker-dependent relationships

JEL Classification: K3, K10, K36

Suggested Citation

Alvare, Helen M., 'You Can't Get There from Here,' a Reply to Proposals to Disestablish Marriage as the Path to Care (May 12, 2016). The Jurisprudence of Marriage and Other Intimate Relationships, Scott FitzGibbon, Lynn D. Wardle, & A. Scott Loveless, eds., (William S. Hein & Co., Inc., 67-104, 2010) , George Mason Legal Studies Research Paper No. LS 16-21 , Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2779248

Helen M. Alvare (Contact Author)

George Mason University - Antonin Scalia Law School, Faculty ( email )

3301 Fairfax Drive
Arlington, VA 22201
United States

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