More on Marriage

I have published one edited collection on marriage and have a second co-edited collection forthcoming on children’s and family law.  I have also written many articles on topics such as polyamory and friendship and the history of philosophy of marriage.  Some of these are linked below.

After Marriage

amShould marriage reform stop at same-sex marriage?

Should marriage be abolished?

Or made temporary – with 5-year renewable contracts?

Should it be opened to polygamists and polyamorists on an equal footing?

Does marriage help or harm children – and romantic love?

In this book, 10 philosophers with various perspectives address these questions, and more.

Overview of After Marriage, edited by Elizabeth Brake (OUP 2016)

This collection of essays by liberal and feminist philosophers addresses the question of whether marriage reform ought to stop with same-sex marriage. Some philosophers have recently argued that marriage is illiberal and should be abolished or radically reformed to include groups and non-romantic friendships. In response, Simon May argues that marriage law can be justified without an illiberal appeal to an ideal relationship type, and Ralph Wedgwood argues that the liberal values which justify same-sex marriage do not justify further extension. Other authors argue for new legal forms for intimate relationships. Marriage abolitionist Clare Chambers argues that piecemeal directives rather than relationship contracts should replace marriage, and Samantha Brennan and Bill Cameron argue for separating marriage and parenting, with parenting rather than marriage becoming, legally and socially, the foundation of the family. Elizabeth Brake argues for a non-hierarchical friendship model for marriage. Peter de Marneffe argues that polygamy should be decriminalized, but that the liberal state need not recognize it, while Laurie Shrage argues that polygamy could be legally structured to protect privacy and equality.  Dan Nolan argues for temporary marriage as a legal option, while Anca Gheaus argues that marital commitments are problematic instruments for securing the good of romantic and sexual love.  Taken together, these essays challenge contemporary understandings of marriage and the state’s role in it.

Link to OUP page on After Marriage: Rethinking Marital Relationships, ed. Elizabeth Brake (New York: Oxford Univerity Press, 2016)


James Ryerson, The New York Times

Raja Halwani, Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews

Mara Marin, Hypatia

9780198786429Philosophical Foundations of Children’s and Family Law

edited by Elizabeth Brake and Lucinda Ferguson (OUP, forthcoming)

This volume brings together new essays in law and philosophy on a broad range of topics in children’s and family law. It is the first volume to bring together essays by legal scholars and philosophers for an integrated, critical analysis of key issues in this area, marking the ‘coming of age’ of a comparatively new field of family law.

A wide range of perspectives is represented on topics such as same-sex marriage, polygamy and polyamory, alimony, unmarried cohabitation, gestational surrogacy and assisted reproductive technologies, child support, parental rights and responsibilities, children’s rights, family immigration, religious freedom, and the rights of paid caregivers. There is also philosophical discussion of concepts such as care, intimacy, and the nature of family and family law itself.


More writing on marriage, polyamory, and care

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy entry on Marriage and Domestic Partnership, by Elizabeth Brake

“Philosophers on the Supreme Court’s Gay Marriage Ruling,” Daily Nous, June 29, 2015.

  • This brief response to Obergefell warns against amatonormativity as we celebrate same-sex marriage rights.

Very short overview of my views: “Why can’t we be (legally recognized) friends?,” theForum (LSE), September 2015.

On friendship, polyamory, and nomenclature: “Recognizing Care: The Case for Friendship and Polyamory,” Syracuse Law and Civic Engagement 1:1 (2014).

On the elderly and the index problem: “Fair Care: Eldercare and Distributive Justice,” Politics, Philosophy, and Economics, OnlineFirst 8/31/15: 1-20. 

A short post: “Just Care: What Society Owes the Elderly,” Philosop-her, January 16, 2015.