Legal Sex *
Legal Sex *
This chapter examines the meaning of the terms ‘man’ and ‘woman’ as they figure in the kind of provisions by which, in different systems, ‘same-sex’ marriage is proscribed. It is occupied with a matter of legal interpretation and no particular allusion is made to the materials of any given legal system. The discussion is instead held at a higher level of generality, so as to range over any jurisdiction whose laws on marriage include provisions stipulating that: no woman may marry another woman; a woman may only marry a man; no man may marry another man; a man may only marry a woman; and which accordingly determine; that a couple is allowed to marry only if it is a couple of a woman and a man. In any particular case the application of these provisions requires that we be able to ascertain a person's membership of one of the two classes — that we have a criterion by which to determine when an individual counts as a woman or a man. The chapter addresses this question.
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