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Lecture 23 - Soc0%Marriage%and%theúmily...

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11/29/11 1 Soc 120: Marriage and the Family Lecture 23: Gay Marriage Prof. Elwert I thank Prof. C. McDonald for permission to adapt some of her slides Preview Gay Marriage Rights conferred by marriage Legal landscape Public opinion The Future? Who knows… NormaPve posiPons HRC vs FRC Legal vs funcPonal definiPons of the family Allison D. v Virginia M.
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11/29/11 2 What’s At Stake? Gay marriage debate is complex & acrimonious No consensus among parPcipants about what ± s at stake Material concerns? Moral concerns? Symbolic concerns? We ± ll start with material concerns and revisit others later. Rights & Benefits Conferred by Marriage Marital status factors into >1000 federal statutes (GAO) Several hundred benefits (exact number in dispute) accrue to married individuals, including: Spousal Medicare and Social Security Benefits Tax benefits Access to employer health insurance AnP^discriminaPon statutes Housing ImmigraPon privileges Inheritance VisitaPon, decision^making, and custody for the infirm VisitaPon, decision^making, and custody for children
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11/29/11 3 Legal ObligaPons Entailed in Marriage Legal responsibiliPes of family members, especially to dependents Care and Nurture Financial Support Decision^making in health care, educaPon, upbringing Physical housing, clothing, and feeding Is Marriage Necessary For Rights? Marriage is a fast way to acquire rights Confers all marital rights and obligaPons at once Difficult for gay and lesbian couples Few states allow gay marriage Other states need not recognize these marriages Federal Defense of Marriage Act 1996 permits states to not recognize gay marriages formed in other states; defines marriage as legal union between man and woman on federal level But many of these rights could be acquired by other means Marriage vs civil unions vs piecemeal conferral
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11/29/11 4 Legal Landscape (in flux!) Current as of Dec 15 2009 12 additional states prohibit gay marriage by law (not constitution) (as of summer 2011)
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11/29/11 5 Other Countries Graph shows results from various polls, including the General Social Survey Source: Nate Silver @ NYTimes, April 20, 2011
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11/29/11 8 What’s Next? PredicPng the future is difficult Public opinion: Clear long term trend toward greater approval of gay marriage; clear cohort replacement scenario Comparable pace to acceptance of interracial marriage (which was legalized by Supreme Court when majority of country was sPll against it) LegislaPon: Strong trend toward potent legal barriers (29
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