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Public Practice, Private Law
An Essay on Love, Marriage, and the State

$122.00 (C)

  • Date Published: April 2016
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781107140608

$ 122.00 (C)

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About the Authors
  • Marriage is ordinarily a public practice, supported by, as well as supportive of, society. But it need not fall within the purview of the state. Public Practice, Private Law articulates a conception of marriage as a morally rich and important institution that ought to be subject to private rather than legislative or judicial ordering. It elaborates a robust understanding of marriage that captures what both different-sex and same-sex couples might see as valuable about their relationships. It explains why sexual ethics won't yield a normative model of marriage, and why the kind of marital love worth wanting, can. It goes on to show how an understanding of marriage as rooted in demanding commitments can allow for divorce before arguing that the state should cease to sponsor marriages. It concludes by suggesting that both state and non-state institutions should acknowledge the marriages of same-sex couples.

    • Explains why a seemingly conservative view of marriage is compatible with the endorsement of same-sex marriage
    • Advances a vigorous defense of marital disestablishment
    • Challenges approaches to marital ethics rooted directly in sexual ethics
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    Reviews & endorsements

    "There is among us today no universally shared understanding of what marriage is. Gary Chartier presents a discerning, attractive account of marriage - more precisely, of what we should understand marriage to be. Moreover, Chartier explains why, if we accept his account of marriage, we should support admitting same-sex couples to civil marriage. He also explains, persuasively in my view, why we should reject a prominent competing account of marriage, one according to which same-sex couples cannot be truly married. Everyone interested in the contemporary controversy about the meaning of marriage should read Chartier’s important, stimulating new book."
    Michael J. Perry, Emory University, Atlanta

    "We tend to think we know which views on marriage "go together". In this thoughtful and wide-ranging book, Chartier challenges our assumptions by showing how fairly "traditionalist" positions on fidelity, unconditional love, and lifelong commitment can reasonably be wedded to very un-traditionalist views on non-marital and non-procreative sex, same-sex marriage, and government recognition and regulation of marriage."
    Roderick T. Long, Auburn University, Alabama

    "The social meaning of marriage is topical and hotly debated. Chartier's book makes a welcome and timely contribution to this discussion. It provides a rich account of love and marriage that explains what is distinctive and valuable about committed, monogamous relationships without overemphasising the role of sex or procreation. Chartier reminds us that marriage is a union of two loving people, rather than merely a legal artifact."
    Jonathan Crowe, Bond University, Queensland

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    Product details

    • Date Published: April 2016
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781107140608
    • length: 264 pages
    • dimensions: 235 x 157 x 22 mm
    • weight: 0.5kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Marriage and the dynamics of love
    2. Love's obligations
    3. An alternative to marital obligation?
    4. Gender and the intimate contract
    5. The limits of marital obligation
    6. Delinking marriage and the state
    7. Same-sex marriage, with or without the state.

  • Author

    Gary Chartier, La Sierra University, California
    Gary Chartier is Professor of Law and Business Ethics and Associate Dean of the Tom and Vi Zapara School of Business at La Sierra University, California.

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