VII—The Marriage-Free State



This paper sets out the case for abolishing state-recognized marriage and replacing it with piecemeal regulation of personal relationships. It starts by analysing feminist objections to traditional marriage, and argues that the various feminist critiques can best be reconciled and answered by the abolition of state-recognized marriage. The paper then considers the ideal form of state regulation of personal relationships. Contra other recent proposals, equality and liberty are not best served by the creation of a new holistic status, such as civil union, nor by leaving regulation to private contracts. Instead, the state should develop piecemeal regulations that apply universally.