5 Stan. J. C.R. & C.L. 269 (2009)
Breaking Vows: Marriage Promotion, the New Patriarchy, and the Retreat from Egalitarianism

handle is hein.journals/stjcrcl5 and id is 273 raw text is: ARTICLE
BREAKING VOWS:
MARRIAGE PROMOTION, THE NEW
PATRIARCHY, AND THE RETREAT FROM
EGALITARIANISM
Kaaryn Gustafsont
During the 1970s, the women's movement sought gender equality in the
workplace, gender equality in the home, and equality among iimilies-whether
male-headed or not. In recent years, however, marriage and iitherhood have
become condensation symbols Ibr a number of collective social and economic
anxieties in the United States. These anxieties express concerns about changes in
gender roles, distributions oflabor and allocations ofeconomic risk the meaning
and place of marriage, and the role ofreligion in society This Article eamines
three marriage promotion movements in the United States. the religiously based
soi patriarchy movement, the federally funded Healthy Marriage and
Fatherhood Initiatives; and the movement for government recognition of same-
sex marriage. These movements ha ve different constituencies, different tactics,
and different goals bu4 as this Article shows, each is a response to the egalitarian
gains of the women 's movement during the late twentieth century. Moreover, all
three movements may have simlar effcts: not advancing the well-being of
lhmilies, as they all claip, but rather distracting from issues of material and
gender inequality, maintaining hierarchies among families, and reinforcing
unequal divisions oflabor within -i~milies Despite patriarchal retrenchment and
the public preoccupation with marriage, Limily forms continue to be fluid and
diverse. This Article suggests that the time is ripe to dismantle policies that
presume and promote hierarchy and rename our policy debates with renewed
attention to egalitarianism.
t Associate Professor, University of Connecticut School of Law. Linda Burnham, Aimee
Durfee, and Jean Hardisty have greatly influenced the content of this Article. Thanks to
Tovah Ross and Leslie Shanley for their research assistance and to Jill Anderson, Mario
Barnes, Jill Davies, and Melissa Murray for their thoughts and suggestions.

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