At the Intersection of North American Free Trade and Same-Sex Marriage

77 Pages Posted: 16 Aug 2006

See all articles by Laura Spitz

Laura Spitz

University of New Mexico - School of Law


Using same-sex marriage as a presently salient site of cultural struggle, this article asks whether the U.S. can expect economic integration with Canada - on the scale envisioned by the North American Free Trade Agreement - without feeling the influence of Canadian culture. The author comes at this question from the United States side because, while much has been written from a Canadian point of view as to whether it is possible to protect and maintain national differences in the face of economic integration with the United States, very little has been written about whether economic globalization in North America could mean that Canadian cultural norms will make their way, in some version or another, to U.S. soil. The author argues that recent legal, economic, social, and technological developments make it nearly impossible for the United States not to recognize same-sex marriage so long as it is lawful in Canada. The article concludes that the U.S. cannot maintain its historic stance of political and cultural isolationism - at least vis-à-vis Canada - in the face of economic globalization. In these circumstances, the article sketches some challenges to international and comparative legal methods and suggests that transnational economic integration may require a "transnationalization" of method.

Suggested Citation

Spitz, Laura, At the Intersection of North American Free Trade and Same-Sex Marriage. UCLA Journal of International Law and Foreign Affairs, Vol. 9, p. 163, 2004; U of Colorado Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 06-28. Available at SSRN:

Laura Spitz (Contact Author)

University of New Mexico - School of Law ( email )

1117 Stanford, N.E.
Albuquerque, NM 87131
United States

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