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Beyond (Straight and Gay) Marriage: Valuing All Families Under the Lawby Nancy D. Polikoff
Synopses & Reviews
Part of the Queer Ideas series, edited by Michael Bronski
A persuasive argument for why married couples, gay or straight, should not receive special rights denied to other families
Nancy Polikoff asserts that, in American law, marriage is the dividing line between those relationships that matter and those that dont. A woman married to a man for nine months receives Social Security benefits when he dies; a woman living for nineteen years with a man or woman to whom she isnt married receives no government support.
Beyond (Straight and Gay) Marriage reframes the family-rights debate by arguing that marriage should not bestow special legal privileges upon couples because people, both heterosexual and LGBT, live in a variety of relationships—including unmarried couples of any sexual orientation, single-parent households, extended biological family units, and myriad other familial configurations. These relationships, like marriage, are about building and sustaining economic and emotional interdependence and nurturing the next generation. Polikoff shows how the law can value all families, and why it must.
Polikoff wades through legislation and legalese with style and substance, plus a touch of flair. Impeccably researched, Beyond (Straight and Gay) Marriage offers an evocative read that takes in the full breadth of the issues affecting marriage and avoids pedantry while remaining persuasive.” —Publishers Weekly
Polikoffs argument is provocative, illuminating, and original.” —John DEmilio, author of Lost Prophet: The Life and Times of Bayard Rustin
Beyond (Straight and Gay) Marriage reframes the family-rights debate by arguing that marriage shouldn't bestow special legal privileges upon couples because people, both heterosexual and LGBT, live in a variety of relationships-including unmarried couples of any sexual orientation, single-parent households, extended biological family units, and myriad other familial configurations. Nancy D. Polikoff shows how the law can value all families, and why it must.
About the Author
Nancy Polikoff is a Professor of Law at American University Washington College of Law, where she teaches Sexuality and the Law and has taught Family Law for more than 20 years. Previously, she supervised the family law programs of the Women's Legal Defense Fund, and before that she practiced law as part of a feminist law collective, where she specialized in family law. For more than 30 years, she has been writing about, speaking about, and litigating cases involving lesbian and gay families.
Professor Polikoff's articles have appeared in many law journals, including those at University of Chicago, Georgetown, Harvard, Hastings, and Hofstra. Her history of the development of the law affecting lesbian and gay parenting appears as a chapter in the 2000 book, Creating Change: Sexuality, Public Policy, and Civil Rights, edited by John D'Emilio, William Turner, and Urvashi Vaid. Professor Polikoff was successful appellate counsel in the case that the established the right of lesbian and gay couples to jointly adopt children in the District of Columbia, and in a Maryland case overturning a visitation order prohibiting any contact between a gay noncustodial father's children and his life partner.
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