Emory Law News Center

Emory Law Journal focuses on polygamy in last issue of year
By Emory University School of Law | Emory Law | June 8, 2015

As the Emory Law Journal closes out the academic year, the Journal’s latest issue assesses the future of marriage law in the specific context of whether polygamy is constitutionally protected. Whether polygamy is the next great family law issue courts in the United States will be asked to confront was recently debated before the U.S. Supreme Court during the oral arguments in Obergefell v. Hodges, and the Journal’s latest issue seeks to contextualize and further this dialog.

Among other authors, Emory faculty contributed extensively to this issue. Martha Fineman, Robert W. Woodruff Professor of Law, submitted a piece, as did Stu Marvel, postdoctoral fellow with the Feminism and Legal Theory Project and the Vulnerability and the Human Condition Initiative, and John Witte, Jr., Robert W. Woodruff Professor of Law and McDonald Distinguished Professor. 

Marvel, in The Evolution of Plural Parentage: Applying Vulnerability Theory to Polygamy and Same-Sex Marriage, argues that recognition of plural marriage precipitates the recognition of same-sex marriage. To follow up on that work, Fineman penned Vulnerability and the Institution of Marriage, which puts Marvel’s piece into the larger context of vulnerability scholarship. Offering an alternate view, Witte differentiates between polygamy and same-sex marriage, delving into why rejecting one does not preclude an acceptance of the other. His article, Why Two in One Flesh? The Western Case for Monogamy over Polygamy, explores the polygamy historically and comparatively, and previews the arguments he makes in his recently published monograph The Western Case for Monogamy over Polygamy.

In the foreword, the Journal’s editors write: “The future of state involvement in familial relationships and intimate settings is a topic of conversation that will continue to evolve as our society confronts issues that were once taboo but are now increasingly a part of our reality.”

If you would like to read more and become a part of that conversation, access Volume 64, Issue 6, of the Emory Law Journal online »