SYMPOSIUM *: ETHICS, PUBLIC POLICY, AND THE FUTURE OF THE FAMILY: MORALITY, PUBLIC POLICY AND THE FAMILY: THE ROLE OF MARRIAGE AND THE PUBLIC/PRIVATE DIVIDE Skip over navigation
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Copyright (c) 1996 School of Law, Santa Clara University
Santa Clara Law Review

SYMPOSIUM *: ETHICS, PUBLIC POLICY, AND THE FUTURE OF THE FAMILY: MORALITY, PUBLIC POLICY AND THE FAMILY: THE ROLE OF MARRIAGE AND
THE PUBLIC/PRIVATE DIVIDE



* These papers are taken from the symposium "Ethics, Public Policy, and the Future of the Family" that took place in April, 1995 at Santa Clara University. Cosponsers were Santa Clara University School of Law and the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics. As symposium papers, not law review articles, the authors accept sole responsibility for the substantive accuracy of their papers. Any unsubstantiated statements made are the author's alone. The views expressed by the symposium contributors do not necessarily reflect the views of the Santa Clara Law Review, its editors, or the School of Law.

1996

36 Santa Clara L. Rev. 265

Author

June Carbone *

Excerpt

8065*267



I. An Overview
 


In thinking about our images of the family, I find that the source of at least some of our apparent disagreement about family values, ethics, and public policy stems from the location of these issues in the classically liberal divide between public and private. 1 At the same time that the demarcation between public and private has been used to mark the limits of state power, American family policy has depended on consensus in the realm clearly designated as private. To the extent that the United States can ever be said to have had a national family policy, it is one that insists on marriage as the sole legitimate locus for childrearing. Yet, as Martha Fineman observes, marriage, as the defining element of the family and the primary means of providing for children, has not so much been legislated as assumed. 2 It has been assumed as a central and permanent feature of society synonymous with civilization itself. 3 The moral justification for marriage as the sole appropriate forum for the expression of sexuality and the children who result has also been assumed as much as legislated largely on the basis of deeply held beliefs, often religious in origin, that are rarely examined directly in public debate. At least in the modern era, the mechanisms that have made marriage nearly universal have been a set of less visible, and essentially private mechanisms that, 8065*268 until recently, made childrearing outside of marriage untenable while ...
 
 
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