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Same-sex marriage, Equal protection, Perry v. Schwarzenegger, Right to marry


Civil Rights and Discrimination | Constitutional Law | Family Law | Sexuality and the Law


Professors Tebbe and Widiss revisit the arguments they made in "Equal Access and the Right to Marry" and emphasize their belief that distinguishing between different-sex marriage and same-sex marriage is inappropriate. They lament the sustained emphasis on the equal-protection and substantive-due-process challenges in the Perry litigation and suggest that an equal-access approach is more likely to be successful on appeal.

Professor Shannon Gilreath questions some of the fundamental premises for same-sex marriage. He challenges proponents to truly reflect on "what there is to commend marriage to Gay people," and points to his own reversal on the question as evidence. Though he stands fully in opposition to critics of same-sex marriage who use the stance to veil attacks on equality generally, Gilreath argues that marriage can be seen as a further institutionalization of gays and lesbians that risks "assimilationist erasure of Gay identity." Gilreath concludes by noting that to the extent that marriage is assumed to be normatively good, the Tebbe-Widiss equal access approach to same-sex marriage recognition may be the most successful; still, he invites those on all sides of the debate to vigorously challenge that assumption.


This article predates Nelson Tebbe's affiliation with Cornell Law School.