What is Marriage For?

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Beacon Press, 2004 - Social Science - 303 pages
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In the wake of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court’s historic Goodridge decision, a reissue of the bible of the same-sex marriage movement

Will same-sex couples destroy "traditional" marriage, soon to be followed by the collapse of all civilization? That charge has been leveled throughout history whenever the marriage rules change. But marriage, as E. J. Graff shows in this lively, fascinating tour through the history of marriage in the West, has always been a social battleground, its rules constantly shifting to fit each era and economy. The marriage debates have been especially tumultuous for the past hundred and fifty years—in ways that lead directly to today's debate over whether marriage could mean not just Boy + Girl = Babies, but also Girl + Girl = Love.

“Read this book if you want to understand the movement for same-sex marriage—and to counter those who argue against it.” —Mary Bonauto, lead counsel in Goodridge v. Mass. Dept. of Public Health

“E. J. Graff’s What Is Marriage For? is the place to start reading for anyone thinking about the words ‘lesbian,’ ‘gay,’ and ‘marriage’ in the same sentence. It’s engaging, it’s fun, and it puts the lie to those prophets of gloom and doom who think every push for greater equality—whether it be women’s suffrage, reproductive rights, or interracial marriage—signals the end of civilization.”—Evan Wolfson, Freedom to Marry

“An enlightening romp through the history of marriage in western Europe and the U.S.” —Cassandra West, Chicago Tribune
 

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What is marriage for?

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From her vantage point as a lesbian "married" to her partner for more than a dozen years, journalist Graff writes a semihistory of marriage organized around six main reasons for (Western) marriage ... Read full review

Contents

Introduction
xvii
Money
1
Exchanging It The Marriage Market
4
Making It The Working Marriage
11
Being It or Being Without It Slaves and Paupers
16
Keeping It Aint Nobodys Business If I Say I Do
21
Keeping It Whats His Is His and Whats Hers Is Whose?
26
Ignoring It Cant Buy Me Love
34
Will the Real Parent Please Stand Up Mother Father Other?
105
Why Have Kids?
113
Should Lesbians and Gay Men Be Parents?
117
Kin
145
Marrying Out Barricading the Tribe
148
Marrying In Protecting the Family
160
Marrying Early and Marrying Often Polygamy
168
Marrying Everyone Utopians
177

Sharing It So Who Needs Marriage?
36
Sex
53
Refraining 1 Christians Reject Marriage
55
Reproducing Is It a Marriage Or Is It a Brothel?
59
Refraining 2 The Protestants Rebel Against Celibacy
64
Refreshing 1 Heart and Soul v Womb and Sperm
69
Refreshing 2 Intimate to the Degree of Being Sacred
82
Babies
88
What Makes a Family?
92
What Do We Do about Those Little Bastards?
99
Order
191
Inside Out or Outside In Who Says Youre Married?
193
Living Together Is It Marriage Yet?
209
Remember the Ladies Who Runs the Marriage?
215
Heart
227
Dissent Untying the Knot or When Can You Say I Dont?
229
Consent Tying the Knot or Who Can Say I Do?
241
Conclusion
249
Copyright

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About the author (2004)

E. J. Graff is a journalist and independent scholar whose work has appeared in the New York Times, the Boston Globe, The Nation, The Village Voice, Out, and elsewhere. She is currently a visiting scholar at the Brandeis Women's Studies Research Center.

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