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Volume 23 • Number 2

April 2009



Marriage Unhitched from the State: A Defense

by Jeremy R. Garrett

In 1970, President Richard Nixon expressed his unambiguous support for interracial marriage; as for same-sex marriage, he exclaimed, "I can't go that far—that's the year 2000" (Wallenstein 2002, p. 240). Nixon's prescient remark, made shortly after the Supreme Court's 1967 decision in Loving v. Virginia to overturn anti-miscegenation laws, expresses at once hesitancy for, yet resigned acceptance of, the inevitable expansion of civil marriage to include more and more kinds of loving partnerships. Nearly forty years later, Nixon's uncanny prediction appears close to being realized. At the very least, many have gone where he claimed to be unable to go, adding their voices to a growing movement seeking state recognition of same-sex unions as a matter of equality, rights, and justice. And, indeed, a strong case might be made on such grounds, were the state justified in sponsoring an institution of civil marriage in the first place.

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ISSN: 2152-0542