Valuing All Families

Law, Culture and the Humanities 5:2 (2009): 288-316

36 Pages Posted: 5 Jul 2017

Date Written: May 31, 2007


Anti-gay marriage amendments proliferate, and current welfare legislation includes coercive marriage promotion programs. This article argues that government sponsorship and promotion of the traditional institution of heterosexual marriage-based family are antithetical to the liberal democratic values that most Americans would claim are foundational principles of their society: liberty and individuality.

I suggest that, in order to make the social and legal institution of family consistent with professed public values, it should be transformed from the traditional structure into a new structure that is:

(1) flexible and customizable, and

(2) eligible for direct public support for its role in social reproduction.

Keywords: Family, Family Structure, Welfare Reform, Same-sex Marriage, Marriage Promotion, Caretakers, Homemakers, Unpaid Work, Unpaid Labor, Child Care

JEL Classification: D13, D63, H30, H31, H40, H41, H53, I31, I38, J12, J13, J16, J18, J24, K36, P36

Suggested Citation

Bell, Melina, Valuing All Families (May 31, 2007). Law, Culture and the Humanities 5:2 (2009): 288-316, Available at SSRN:

Melina Bell (Contact Author)

W&L University ( email )

204 W. Washington St.
Lexington, VA 24450
United States

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