San Diego Law Review


Brian H. Bix

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Lawyers and legal academics routinely offer their views on social and political issues. This article considers whether legal academics add any special expertise to the current marriage debates, or whether legal academics should defer to others better suited to answer the questions raised in the marriage debates. The marriage debates involve questions concerning the regulation and definition of marriage, the legal requirements for marriage, and the presence of children. Because of their familiarity with legal analysis, family law doctrine and practice, legal academics and lawyers offer answers and views not available in the rhetoric of the political and media debates on marriage. Even given this special insight into legal analysis, the author concludes that the analysis of areas such as states' interests and governmental objectives in regulating marriage, short-term and long-term effects of social practices and legal regulation, the history of marriage, and society's inconsistent position on same-sex marriage and civil unions, are better suited for political theorists, sociologists, economists, historians, and psychologists.

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