Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date




Right now, marriage and monogamy feature prominently on the public stage. Efforts to lift state and federal prohibitions on same-sex marriage have inspired people across the political spectrum to speak about the virtues of monogamy’s core institution and to express views on who should be included within it. In this brief comment, I want to talk about something else. Like an “unmannerly wedding guest,” I want to invite the reader to pause amidst the whirlwind of marriage talk, to think about alternatives to monogamy. In particular, I want to talk about multiparty relationships, or “polyamory,” as these relationships are called by some of their participants. Before doing so, I should acknowledge that I do not think that same-sex marriage will lead ineluctably to multiparty marriage. Our cultural commitment to the pair, the couple, the idea of total mutual love between two individuals, runs deep. Moreover, to design multiparty marriage would be a complicated legal endeavor, and the state may arguably have an interest in maintaining the efficiency of a relationship in which each person names just one other as a partner for all legal purposes.


Family Law | Law

Included in

Family Law Commons