Obergefell v. Hodges: Marriage Equality’s Insistence on Family Values

Chapter

Abstract

In this chapter, I critically analyze the legal reasoning that undergirds the US Supreme Court’s majority opinion in Obergefell v. Hodges (2015), a judgment that made marriage equality the law of the land in all 50 states. In so doing, I draw upon some insights from queer theorists, who point out the dangers of “normifying” any particular way of life because it marginalizes those who will not, or cannot, assimilate into the dominant culture. Here, I analyze the assimilationist tropes of amatonormativity and repronormativity that appear in the opinion in order to point out that these rhetorical tropes alienate everybody except the most conformist of gays and lesbians. The Court’s reasoning is invested in LGBT+ normalization and endorses one particular conception of the good intimate life. Instead of this, the decision, I suggest, should have followed an approach steeped in what Cass Sunstein has called “decisional minimalism.” Following such an approach would have enhanced, rather than constricted, the range of family formations endorsed by the state in Obergefell.

Keywords

Amatonormativity Decisional minimalism Homonormativity Marriage equality Obergefell v. Hodges Repronormativity 

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Wagner CollegeStaten IslandUSA

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