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After MarriageRethinking Marital Relationships$
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Elizabeth Brake

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780190205072

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190205072.001.0001

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Liberal Neutrality and Civil Marriage

Liberal Neutrality and Civil Marriage

Chapter:
(p.9) 1 Liberal Neutrality and Civil Marriage
Source:
After Marriage
Author(s):

Simon Căbulea May

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190205072.003.0002

A powerful objection to civil marriage claims that it violates the principle of liberal neutrality because the institution implies state endorsement of matrimony as an ideal type of personal relationship. The chapter argues that this neutrality objection is cogent only if certain empirical conditions fail to be met. These conditions concern both the nature and the effects of the social norms that stipulate the intentions and beliefs necessary for good faith entrance into marriage. In certain circumstances, the presumptively permanent nature of marital relationships supports a cogent justification of civil marriage without any implication of state endorsement of the matrimonial ideal.

Keywords:   civil marriage, liberal neutrality, conceptions of the good life, state secularism, religious endorsement

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