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HomePolicy Articles Article Summary

How the Marriage Challenge Developed

Short Paper by Iain Benson

In his paper Iain T. Benson explores changes in law and in society that have paved the way for the current debate about marriage. For example, according to Benson, changes in the accepted notion of marriage were brought about by other changes, namely, the changes in divorce law that made divorce more accessible and the legalization of contraception that increased the separation between human sexuality and procreation. According to Benson, common-law relationships came to be akin to marriage; not having children in a marriage was considered a choice rather than a deficiency.

More recently, the notion of same-sex marriage has taken the concept of marriage beyond that of being between “male and female.” As a consequence, it threw out the connection between procreation and marriage altogether. Benson argues that the logic of moving beyond “couple-ness” will eventually stretch marriage beyond two. Marriage, the author points out, is now deconstructed, at least from the perspective of state definitions. Moreover, he suggests the Supreme Court will somehow “find a right to ‘same-sex marriage’ in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.”

Benson concludes by saying that it remains unclear to what extent religious communities will be able to refuse to marry same-sex people. However, he contends the courts are just part of a larger process of making human reproduction irrelevant to human bonding.

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Policy Publication Details

Author(s): Iain Benson;
Publisher: Centre for Cultural Renewal [ Visit Website ]
Year Published: 2004; Publisher Type: Research Institute
Publicly Available: Yes Research Focus: National;
Registration Required: No Language: English
Payment Required: No Publication Format: Adobe PDF, Hard Copy

Subjects / Categories:

Policy Articles / Children & Family / Marriage
Policy Articles / Crime & Justice / Legislation
Policy Articles / Crime & Justice / Human Rights
Policy Articles / Children & Family / Marriage / 2004
Policy Articles / Crime & Justice / Human Rights / 2004
Policy Articles / Crime & Justice / Legislation / 2004
Policy Articles / Children & Family
Policy Articles / Crime & Justice


Keywords / Tags:

marriage debate; notion of marriage; changes in divorce laws; legalization of contraception; common-law relationships; human sexuality; procreation; heterosexual marriage; couple-ness; Supreme Court; Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms;