Joseph J. Fischel on “Just Married: Same-Sex Couples, Monogamy and the Future of Marriage”

perspectives_on-politicsA Discussion of Stephen Macedo’s Just Married: Same-Sex Couples, Monogamy and the Future of Marriage

by Scott Barclay, Joseph J. Fischel, and Jyl J. Josephson

On June 26, 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled, in Obergefell v. Hodges, that the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution forbids legal discrimination against same-sex marriage. The decision sent shock waves throughout the country, with both supporters and opponents regarding it as signal of dramatic shifts in public opinion and a revolutionary development on the road to sex-gender equality. Just two days earlier, on June 24, 2015, Stephen Macedo’s Just Married: Same-Sex Couples, Monogamy, and the Future of Marriage was published. Macedo has always worked at the intersection of legal theory, normative theory, and public policy, and Just Married offers a nuanced liberal democratic defense of marriage equality with striking resonance in light of Obergefell. We have thus invited a range of scholars on LGBT rights, and LGBT politics more generally, to comment on his book.

Joseph J. Fischel, Yale University
Who will pay the price for gay acceptance? This is not the question that manifestly motivates Stephen Macedo’s Just Married: Same-Sex Couples, Monogamy & the Future of Marriage, but I wish it had been. Instead, Macedo asks, why does justice require the legal recognition of same-sex marriage; why should the state be in the marrying business; and why should marriage be limited to monogamy (pp. 12–13). This last question might turn out to be the table manners version of the gay acceptance question, the point on which I will conclude. Macedo’s three questions correspond to three parts of the book; his answers are well-researched and well-argued, if ultimately unsatisfying.

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Perspectives on Politics / Volume 14, Issue 3  / September 2016