Emory Law Journal

Volume 64Issue 6
Paper Symposium: Polygamous Unions? Charting the Contours of Marriage Law's Frontier


Emory Law Journal | 64 Emory L.J. 1669 (2015)

In just a few weeks, when the Court hands down what will no doubt be a long anticipated and highly contentious decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, the Court will answer whether the Fourteenth Amendment requires states to license marriages for same-sex couples. While many believe the Court is poised to answer that question affirmatively, assuming it will, it is far less clear how expansive or limited the decision’s holding will be or what implications will flow from its rationale. At oral argument, Justice Alito pressed the petitioners as to the logical implications of a holding in favor of same-sex marriage, asking, “Suppose we rule in your favor in this case and then, after that, a group consisting of two men and two women apply for a marriage license. Would there be any ground for denying them?” Whether a right to polygamous marriage should be recognized as a matter of constitutional or statutory law is a question that we editors of the Emory Law Journal are disinclined to answer ourselves. But we do believe this important question is one worth asking, and Obergefell certainly gives new energy to that conversation. And while questions surrounding polygamy are not new to the academic legal literature, there remains plenty of room for further inquiry and dialogue. Accordingly, in this paper symposium, we have collected a number of articles and essays by leading and emerging scholars to tackle the question of polygamy and its many attendant issues.

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