Copyright (c) 2007 Yeshiva University
Cardozo Law Review
ARTICLE: LOVE, MARRIAGE, AND THE BABY CARRIAGE: REVISITING THE CHANNELLING FUNCTION OF FAMILY LAW
28 Cardozo L. Rev. 2133
Linda C. McClain *
I. Altering the Sequence of Love, Marriage, and the Baby Carriage
The childhood rhyme about love followed by marriage and the baby carriage might be said to reflect a conventional understanding of the proper sequence that men and women should follow in organizing their intimate lives. To put it in Schneider's terms, marriage and parenthood are social institutions into which men and women are - or should be - steered, with the help of family law. However, everyday life offers many examples of departures from this sequence; people skip steps or scramble the sequence (or bypass it entirely). For gay men and lesbians, excluded in all states but Massachusetts from access to marriage, the sequence is simply not available and in their intimate lives, by necessity, they construct a different sequence. In this Part, I offer several concrete examples of challenges to the conventional sequence. I take many of these examples from reports in the media, but the underlying behavioral patterns can be borne out by social science. 17
A. Marriage as Competing with Other Lifestyles: The Changing Place of Marriage in the Life Cycle
In October 2006, a news headline in the New York Times declared: "It's Official: To Be Married Means to be Outnumbered." 18 The article, summarizing the Census Bureau's American Community Survey, reported that, in 2005, "married couples, whose numbers have been declining for decades as a proportion of American households, have finally slipped into a ...
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