San Diego Law Review


Richard Arneson

Library of Congress Authority File


Document Type



The Prioritarian Consequentialist approaches state regulation of marriage from a standpoint opposed to the Lockean Libertarian natural rights tradition. The prioritarian approach favors state regulation of marriage that induces people to make positive cost-benefit arrangements, whereas the lockean avers any coercive restriction of people's liberty. Taking a prioritarian consequentialist perspective, this article discusses the appropriate state policy regarding private relationships involving love, sex, and childrearing, and assesses the meaning of marriage and possible alterations to marriage that would lead to consequences on the quality of human life. The prioritarian consequentialist supports state policies that produce the best outcome for people's welfare by considering the promotion of good childrearing and committed sexual friendships. Although it is not clear what form of marital practice will best suit society, the author concludes that any marriage regulatory system must balance the conflicting interests that affect the quality of human life.

Included in

Law Commons