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Unformatted text preview: WHAT IS A FAMILY? 1. What is a family? How open should we be? Formal to informal Related by blood Parent child Other bonds (time together, shared experiences) People who love each other, caring Living together People who get along (a group of people) People with a commitment to each other or to the future Shared financial bond 2. How do we know what a family is? What are the sources of this definition? Religion Legal definition statutes and case law - precedent Political Self defining Nature (natural law-what is, what should be) morality Science / biological Culture (changes) Life experience 3. What flows from this definition? What turns on that? Qs of socioeconomic utility of a family societal chaos Rights and privileges Family autonomy Infrastructure Value judgments (how do our defs of fam reflect our views and wishes) Obligations (legal and moral) Exclusion and inclusion legal and social rules Sense of identity Administrative rules for gov (who gets death benefits? 4. What is the State interest in defining a family? Administrative convenience Preserving social order a way to organize society Financial stability of the family / supports / independence Custody (at what point does the state get involved with family) Relig autonomy (what issues are family, like burial, and what are state issues) Power state derives power from definition (and political power for those who define fam in popular ways) Views of Family Formalist look at the statute who counts as a family by statutes? o H/W o not captured here are same-sex couples Functionalist does this grouping of people ACT like a family? o Shared financial resources o Love / commitment Think about how hard it is to fit definitions into these two categories. o Nucular family only 50% of households o 1/3 households are single w/o children, co-habitants, roommates Should the law reflect all the ways families form themselves today? Bush admin promoting trad view of fam unit (tax credits for 2 parent homes, $ for marrige counseling) Older Women Team Up to Face Future Together , Jane Gross, T HE N EW Y ORK T IMES (Feb. 27, 2004) Hx of Fam Law form Eng had to go to Church for divorce Churches decided families, the cts were st courts this is why family law is largely a st law issue (10th Amend-source of pwr for sts) US 50 different family law theories and systems Consensus for more standardized laws (ex. No polygamy) 1 There is an increasing standardization among states Increasing constitutionalization of fam law Defining Family: DeWitt Gregory Article Redefining the Family: Undermining the Family the law already tells us what a family is, supreme ct precedence, other groups of people should not ask for protection by the law Class Exercise: same sex relationships and domestic relations protection shows defin of fam can change in context...
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