Against Marriage at Bigg Books

I’ll be talking on Against Marriage in the Bigg Books speaker series in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne on 20 November 2018. You can find more details here.

Clare Chambers is Reader in Political Philosophy at University of Cambridge. She is a political philosopher specializing in feminist philosophy, contemporary liberalism, theories of social justice, and social construction. She will argue for the abolition of state-recognised marriage on the grounds that it violates both equality and liberty, even when expanded to include same-sex couples. Instead she will defend the idea of a the marriage-free state: an egalitarian state in which religious or secular marriages are permitted but have no legal status.

Clare Chambers’s award-winning book Against Marriage: An Egalitarian Defense of the Marriage-Free State was published last year by Oxford University Press (https://global.oup.com/academic/product/against-marriage-9780198744009)

Venue: Lit and Phil, 23 Westgate Road, Newcastle-upon-Tyne

Against Marriage at Festival of Ideas

I’ll be talking about Against Marriage at the Cambridge Festival of Ideas on Monday 15th October 2018, in the Frankopan Hall of Jesus College, Cambridge. Tickets are available here.

 

Many states have recently expanded their definition of marriage to allow marriage between same-sex couples: a welcome move towards equality, but does this go far enough? Philosopher Clare Chambers argues for a more extreme position: that the state should not recognise marriage at all. State recognition of marriage, she will argue, is a violation of both equality and liberty – no matter how marriage is redefined.

Tickets were sold out and so the talk was live-streamed. You can watch it on youtube here:

David Easton Award presented at APSA 2018


The 2018 David Eason Award was presented to me for Against Marriage: An Egalitarian Defence of the Marriage-Free State at the APSA Annual Meeting in Boston.

The Award is given “for a book that broadens the horizons of contemporary political science by engaging issues of philosophical significance in political life through any of a variety of approaches in the social sciences and humanities.” You can see previous winners of the Award here.

Sweet Reason on BBC Radio 4

You can hear me debate offence with Jordan Peterson, Shaista Aziz, and Evan Davis on BBC Radio 4’s “Sweet Reason”.  Are people offended too easily? Are there some topics that should not be debated?The broadcast is on Thursday 2nd August 2018 at 9am and 9.30pm, and you can hear the programme online here.

 

 

OUP Women in Philosophy reading list

 

Against Marriage features in the Oxford University Press Women in Philosophy reading list.

“This March, in recognition of Women’s History Month, the OUP Philosophy team will be celebrating Women in Philosophy. The philosophy discipline has long been perceived as male-dominated, so we want to recognize some of the incredible female philosophers from the past including Simone de Beauvoir, Mary Wollstonecraft, and Hannah Arendt, plus female philosophers doing great things in 2018 like Martha Nussbaum, Clare Chambers, and Kate Manne.”

You can see the whole reading list here.

Routledge Companion to Feminist Philosophy reviewed in Hypatia Reviews Online

I have a chapter on feminism and liberalism in The Routledge Companion to Feminist Philosophy, edited by Ann Garry, Serene J. Khader, and Alison Stone (Routledge, 2017). The volume has been reviewed by Amy Marvin in Hypatia Reviews Online. You can read the full review here.

The Routledge Companion to Feminist Philosophy presents an exciting, comprehensive, and original pluralist presentation of feminist philosophy that is a much-needed update to existing feminist philosophy companions. Students, scholars, independent researchers, and departments interested in feminism and philosophy would do well to make sure they have access to this volume, and it should be a relevant resource for years to come.”

Quoted on marriage in The Guardian

Rose Hackman quotes me in a long-form piece on marriage in The Guardian. You can read the whole article here.

” “Married men gained rights over women’s bodies, property and children,” confirms Clare Chambers, a lecturer in philosophy at the University of Cambridge who wrote a book arguing for an end to state-recognized marriage. “Traditionally [marriage] has maintained legal gender inequality, and it has done so to the benefit of men.”

“Chambers concedes that many formal inequalities tied to marriage have been denounced and revoked. Marital rape was outlawed in the UK in 1991 and in the US in 1993 – hard to believe there was ever an exemption – and same-sex marriage was legalized in 2014 and 2015 respectively.”

 

 

Against Marriage wins APSA’s David Easton Award

I am delighted and honoured to learn that Against Marriage: An Egalitarian Defence of the Marriage-Free State has won the 2018 David Easton Award of the American Political Science Association (APSA). APSA say: “The David Easton Award is given for a book that broadens the horizons of contemporary political science by engaging issues of philosophical significance in political life through any of a variety of approaches in the social sciences and humanities.”

The citation for the Award is as follows:

“Clare Chambers’ Against Marriage: An Egalitarian Defence of the Marriage-Free State and Barbara Arneil’s Domestic Colonies: The Turn Inward to Colony won recognition from our committee because these two books exhibit logical rigor, clarity of structure, lucidity of thought, and crisp prose. Just as important, they tackle politically significant problems: in the first case, the liberal democratic state’s sanctification of one form of intimate social relations at the expense of others, and in the second case, the challenges that Western domestic colonies in the modern past pose for understandings of colonialism in the present. The two books deftly situate themselves against the backdrop of larger literatures on, respectively, marriage and colonialism, and they carve out provocative positions that draw on those literatures while moving beyond their existing limits of thought and action. As all true provocations should do, they are sure to stimulate new analyses and arguments in response to the ideas they lay out.

“Clare Chambers breathes new life into radical feminist critiques of marriage and classical liberal critiques of states that give their imprimatur to specific notions of the good life in order to argue that state-recognized marriage is fundamentally unjust. This may seem a surprising claim in an era in which social and legal acceptance of same-sex marriage is increasing. However, Chambers’ acute analysis, which she intends, as she puts it at the start, “for everyone, regardless of marital status,” shows how even struggles for the state’s recognition of gay marriage elide injustices internal to heterosexual marriage and external injustices of marriage for those who cannot or choose not to be married, even once those struggles have been won. Chambers argues that the practical and symbolic effects of state-endorsed marriage inevitably privilege some people and some ways of life over others, violating both feminist and liberal principles. While not opposed to marriage as a social relationship, she powerfully demonstrates the ways that state-endorsed marriage undercuts equality and freedom, and the insufficiency of even the most progressive defenses of marriage as a politically credentialed institution. Equally impressive is the constructive aspect of her book. Chambers is a critic of state sanctifications of oppressive and/or exclusionary forms of intimate life, but she is an advocate of state power that supports individuals equally in their day-to-day endeavors and relationships. Her theory, which is practical yet visionary, delineates how practices that marriage bundles together (child-rearing, co-habitation, caring for elderly parents, joint property ownership, etc.) might be unbundled and justly regulated by the state to protect those engaged in or affected by them without privileging married couples. Her book demonstrates how the strengths of analytical political philosophy can be powerfully mobilized as a resource for motivating political change.

“Barbara Arneil presents an analysis that contributes conceptual innovation to current debates on colonialism and imperialism, innovations that are at once suggested and bolstered by her careful archival and secondary research into “domestic colonies.” The cases of domestic colonialism that Arneil highlights are agrarian labour colonies, farm colonies, and anti-capitalist or otherwise radical utopian communities that were created in North America and Europe, putatively to empower the idle poor, the disabled, and religiously, politically, and/or racially marginalized minority groups. In her investigations into such colonies, which in North America were implicated in settler colonial practices but are not reducible to those practices, she offers an exemplary model of how detailed historical work can drive conceptual rethinking in political theory. In analyzing the domestic colony as a technique of power underwritten by a logic of (often but not always coerced) improvement rather than a logic of exploitative domination, her work controversially disentangles imperialism and colonialism as a prelude to complicating our understanding of colonization, decolonization, and the postcolonial. While explicitly acknowledging the grave injustices of settler colonialism and imperialism in comparison with domestic colonialism, Arneil reveals the benefits of situating imperialism, settler colonialism, and domestic colonialism as sometimes intersecting and sometimes contrasting nodes of a complex “transnational colonial network.”  In this way, her work deepens both our grasp of the colonial past and re-problematizes our relation to colonialism’s long aftermath and continuing presence.”

Danny Reviews Against Marriage

You can read the review here.

“I found Chambers persuasive: Against Marriage compelled me to rethink some of my ideas on the subject and brought much greater precision to others. And even those who disagree with much more of it will have to engage with it, as an integrated and reasonably comprehensive analysis of how the state should approach marriage.”

Reasonable Disagreement and the Neutralist Dilemma

Chambers, Clare, “Reasonable Disagreement and the Neutralist Dilemma: Abortion and circumcision in Matthew Kramer’s Liberalism with Excellence” in The American Journal of Jurisprudence (May 2018).

You can read the paper here.

Abstract: This paper starts by investigating the idea of reasonable disagreement. It then considers Matthew Kramer’s argument that there is no neutral solution available to the disagreement over abortion. The paper argues that Kramer’s account has wider application, and identifies a neutralist dilemma. The neutralist dilemma applies when, of two policy options available to the state, one is unreasonable. It follows that the state should enact only the reasonable policy. However, in a neutralist dilemma the fact of reasonable disagreement due to the burdens of judgment means that it is not possible for the state to act at all, whether legislating or not, without deviating from neutrality. The paper develops the concept of the neutralist dilemma and then applies it to another case discussed by Kramer: infant circumcision. The paper argues that the debate over infant circumcision can be framed as a neutralist dilemma, but that the most plausible resolution of the dilemma results in an argument in favor of the legal prohibition of the practice. This is a surprising result, since most liberal states do not restrict circumcision and since prohibition of circumcision might initially appear to be non-neutral or even illiberal; however it is consistent with the tenets of neutralist liberalism.

Fabian Society on Against Marriage

Andrew Harrop, General Secretary of the Fabian Society, reviewed Against Marriage in Fabian Review, May 2018. You can read the full review here.

“Marriage makes me uncomfortable, whether the reason is political, historical, cultural or aesthetic. No matter how many married couples I see living modern equal relationships, for me, the whole concept is tainted by its patriarchal past. But I say ‘for me’ with good reason, as I have dozens of friends and comrades who disagree. This is a fault-line issue that divides socialists and feminists amongst themselves. In Against Marriage, Clare Chambers makes the case for why egalitarians and liberals should reject marriage. It is political philosophy at its most practical and readable.”

Against Marriage reviewed in Political Theory

Against Marriage is reviewed by Tamara Metz, author of Untying the Knot, in Political Theory. You can read the full review here. An excerpt follows.

“This is a distinct and important contribution to an increasingly crowded field of liberal political philosophy on marriage and the state and, perhaps most interestingly, to our understanding of the liberal project broadly. … Where other liberals seek more vigorously to balance competing demands of freedom and equality, or emphasize freedom, Chambers hews rigorously to an egalitarian position. You won’t find another book that does this so effectively or by way of such productive engagement with existing scholarship. Laying out the egalitarian case in such clear and compelling terms, Chambers highlights the challenges it presents to the liberal side of her liberal feminist equation. In so doing, Against Marriage leaves us wondering just how tenable the liberal feminist project is.”

“Chambers leads us to these questions by bringing us to the edge of the liberal feminist frontier. This alone would make Against Marriage a distinct and important contribution. But, of course, Chambers does more. She offers a compelling vision of why and how to move beyond marriage and points us in the direction of work that needs to be done. All with the grace and graciousness of an analytical philosopher running at full throttle.”

Books

I have written three books: Against Marriage: An Egalitarian Defence of the Marriage-Free State (Oxford University Press, 2017); Sex, Culture, and Justice: The Limits of Choice (Penn State University Press, 2008) and, with Phil Parvin, Teach Yourself Political Philosophy: A Complete Introduction (Hodder, 2013). For more information about each book, including contents and reviews, click the links in the menu above.


The Reading Lists

Want to know what books I like? You can read an interview with me by Phil Treagus of The Reading Lists blog here. His questions were fascinating to think about and very hard to answer!

Full list of publications

This page gives a simple list of publications. For more information about each work, including abstracts and clickable links, view publications by theme from the drop-down menu above.

* = peer-reviewed

Books

* Chambers, Clare, Against Marriage: An Egalitarian Defence of the Marriage-Free State (Oxford University Press, 2017). 226 pages.
Winner of the 2018 David Easton Award of the American Political Science Association (APSA).
Reviewed in:
Political Theory
Fabian Review (May 2018)
Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews
Featured in:
–The American Conservative (April 2018)
–Times of India (April 2018)
–Association for Political Theory (USA) new books (April 2018)
Journal for the History of Ideas Blog (April 2018)
–Danny Reviews (March 2018)
–HEPPAS books (25th September 2017)

Chambers, Clare and Phil Parvin, Teach Yourself Political Philosophy: A Complete Introduction (Hodder, 2012). 324 pages.

*Chambers, Clare, Sex, Culture and Justice: The Limits of Choice (Penn State University Press, 2008). 294 pages.
Reviewed in:
–Times Higher Education Supplement (20th March 2008)
–Philosophy (Vol. 84 No. 1, 2009)
–Feminist Review (91, 2009)
–Res Publica (2009)
–Feminist Theory (Vol. 10, 2009)
–Perspectives on Politics (Vol. 8 No 1, 2010)

Policy reports

Nuffield Council on Bioethics Working Party on Cosmetic Procedures (Chambers a member), Cosmetic Procedures: Ethical Issues (Nuffield Council on Bioethics, June 2017), approx. 200 pages.

Articles and chapters

*Chambers, Clare, “Reasonable Disagreement and the Neutralist Dilemma: Abortion and circumcision in Matthew Kramer’s Liberalism with Excellence” in The American Journal of Jurisprudence (May 2018)

*Chambers, Clare, “Feminism and Liberalism” in Ann Garry, Serene J. Khader and Alison Stone (eds.), The Routledge Companion to Feminist Philosophy (Routledge, 2017) pp. 652-664, 13 pages.
–Book cited in The New York Times (2017)
Reviewed in Hypatia Reviews Online (2018). “The Routledge Companion to Feminist Philosophy presents an exciting, comprehensive, and original pluralist presentation of feminist philosophy that is a much-needed update to existing feminist philosophy companions. Students, scholars, independent researchers, and departments interested in feminism and philosophy would do well to make sure they have access to this volume, and it should be a relevant resource for years to come.”

*Chambers, Clare, “Judith Butler’s Gender Trouble” in Jacob T. Levy (ed.), Oxford Handbook of Classics in Contemporary Political Theory (Oxford University Press, online first 2017) no page numbers, 20 pages.

Chambers, Clare and Richard Marshall, “Sex, Culture, Justice” in Richard Marshall (ed.), Ethics at 3:AM: Questions and Answers on How to Live Well (Oxford University Press, 2017) pp. 296-303, 8 pages.

*Chambers, Clare, “Judging Women: Twenty-five Years Further Toward a Feminist Theory of the State” in Feminist Philosophy Quarterly 3 No. 2 (2017). Symposium on Catharine MacKinnon’s book Toward a Feminist Theory of the State, with response by MacKinnon pp. 1-21, 21 pages.

Chambers, Clare, “Ideology and Normativity” in Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 91 No. 1 (2017) pp. 175-195, 21 pages.

*Chambers, Clare, “The Limitations Of Contract: Regulating Personal Relationships In A Marriage-Free State” in Elizabeth Brake (ed.) After Marriage: Rethinking Marital Relationships (Oxford University Press, 2016) pp. 51-83, 33 pages.
–The book is “strenuously avant-garde”. The New York Times (5th April 2016).
–Chambers’ chapter is “sobering and refreshing”.  Notre Dame Philosophical
Reviews
(2nd May 2016).

–Chambers, “one of the best-known advocates” of the claim that marriage
should not  be recognised by the state, contributes a “nuanced and
lucid” chapter that is “among the most interesting contributions in the
volume.”  Hypatia (2017)

Chambers, Clare, “The Marriage-Free State” in Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society CXIII No. 2 (2013) pp. 123-143, 21 pages.
–Reviewed in Philosophical Dispositions blog (2015)

*Chambers, Clare, “ “The Family as a Basic Institution:” A Feminist Analysis of the Basic Structure as Subject” in Ruth Abbey (ed.), Feminist Interpretations of Rawls (Penn State University Press, 2013) pp. 75-95, 21 pages.
–“All these essays are lively feminist engagements with problems of social
justice.” Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews (22nd September 2014)
–“This is an extensive and very important collection that covers both the
feminist potential of Rawls’s theory and the major trends in liberal
feminism.” Catherine Audard, London School of Economics
–“This volume provides readers with a series of diverse, refreshingly open-
minded, and very insightful feminist perspectives on the works of John
Rawls. The essays are impressive on their own. Together they expand
the parameters of feminist philosophy.” Marion Smiley, Brandeis
University

*Chambers, Clare, “Feminism” in The Oxford Handbook of Political Ideologies, edited by Michael Freeden, Lyman Tower Sargent, and Marc Stears (Oxford University Press, 2013) pp. 562-582, 21 pages.
–The book is “innovative and much needed… I am not aware of a more accurate
reference book, at least in the English language, in Ideology Studies”
Political Studies Review (9th April 2015)
–“This is a landmark volume… By all accounts, the volume achieves its objective.” International Affairs 90 No. 1 (2014)

*Chambers, Clare and Phil Parvin, “What Kind Of Dialogue Do We Need? Gender, Deliberative Democracy And Comprehensive Values” in Jude Browne (ed.) Dialogue, Politics and Gender (Cambridge University Press, 2013) pp. 198-226, 29 pages.
–The book is an “important intervention into the ongoing conversation about gender and politics.” Perspectives in Politics Vol. 3 No. 3 (September 2015).
–“A model for edited collections, and enormously useful … There isn’t a single weak essay.” Contemporary Political Theory (2015).

*Chambers, Clare, “Each outcome is another opportunity” in Politics, Philosophy and Economics (PPE) Vol. 8 No. 4 (2009) pp. 1-27, 27 pages.

*Chambers, Clare and Phil Parvin, “Coercive redistribution and public agreement: re-evaluating the libertarian challenge of charity” in Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy (CRISPP) Vol. 12 No. 4 (2009) and Matt Matravers and Lukas Meyer (eds.), Democracy, Equality, and Justice (Routledge, 2009) pp. 93-114, 22 pages.

*Chambers, Clare, “Inclusivity and the constitution of the family” in Canadian Journal of Law and Jurisprudence (2009, 1) pp. 135-52, 17 pages.

*Chambers, Clare, “Gender” in Catriona McKinnon (ed.) Issues in Political Theory (Oxford University Press, 2008; 2nd 2011; 3rd ed. 2015; 4th ed. in production), pp. 265-288, 24 pages.

*Chambers, Clare, “Torture as an evil: Response to Claudia Card” in Criminal Law and Philosophy Vol. 2 No. 1 (January 2008) pp. 17-20, 4 pages.

*Chambers, Clare, “Masculine domination, radical feminism and change” in Feminist Theory 6 No. 3 (December 2005) pp. 325-346, 22 pages.

*Chambers, Clare, “Autonomy and equality in cultural perspective: Response to Sawitri Saharso” in Feminist Theory 5 No. 3 (December 2004) pp. 329-32, 3 pages.

*Chambers, Clare, “Are breast implants better than female genital mutilation? Autonomy, gender equality and Nussbaum’s political liberalism” in Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy (CRISPP) Vol. 7 No. 3 (Autumn 2004) pp. 1-33, 33 pages.
Chosen as part of the Taylor and Francis Women in Philosophy collection at http://explore.tandfonline.com/page/ah/women-in-philosophy#23948

*Chambers, Clare, “Nation-building, Neutrality and Ethnocultural Justice: Kymlicka’s ‘Liberal Pluralism’” in Ethnicities 3 No. 3 (September 2003) pp. 295-319, 25 pages.

*Chambers, Clare, “All must have prizes: the liberal case for intervention in cultural practices” in Paul Kelly (ed.) Multiculturalism Reconsidered: Culture and Equality and its Critics (Polity Press, 2002) pp. 151-73, 23 pages.

Shorter pieces for wider audiences

Chambers, Clare, “Against Marriage” in Aeon (2018).
https://aeon.co/essays/why-marriage-is-both-anachronistic-and-discriminatory

Chambers, Clare, “Time to abandon marriage?” in Times Literary Supplement (2017). Part of the TLS Ethical Angles Series.
http://www.the-tls.co.uk/articles/public/time-to-abandon-marriage/

Chambers, Clare, “Against Marriage: An Egalitarian Defence of the Marriage-Free State” in University of Cambridge Faculty of Philosophy Annual Newsletter (2017).

Chambers, Clare, contribution to “Philosophers on the Supreme Court’s Gay Marriage Ruling” in Daily Nous (2015).
http://dailynous.com/2015/06/29/philosophers-on-the-supreme-courts-gay-marriage-ruling/

Chambers, Clare “Liberal views” in The Philosophers’ Magazine Issue 61, 1st Quarter (2014). http://www.pdcnet.org/tpm/content/tpm_2014_0064_0080_0085

Chambers, Clare, “Cosmetic Surgery, Culture, and Choice” in UK Feminista Thinkpiece series (2012).
http://ukfeminista.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/Cosmetic_surgery_culture_and_choice.pdf

Review essays and book reviews

Chambers, Clare, Review of Angela Willey, Undoing Monogamy (Duke University Press, 2016) in International Feminist Journal of Politics 19 No. 2 (2017) pp. 407-409. 3 pages.

Chambers, Clare, Review of Shlomi Segall, “Equality and Opportunity” (Oxford University Press, 2013) in Ethics 126 No. 3 (April 2016) pp. 851-856. 6 pages.

Chambers, Clare, Review of Anne Phillips, Our Bodies, Whose Property? (Princeton University Press, 2012) in Political Theory 43 No. 1 (February 2015) pp. 111-118, 8 pages.

Chambers, Clare, Review of G. A. Cohen, Lectures in the History of Moral and Political Philosophy in Philosophical Quarterly 65 (258) (January 2015) pp. 106-108, 3 pages.

Chambers, Clare, Review of Nancy Hirschmann, Gender, Class, and Freedom in Modern Political Theory (Princeton University Press, 2008) in Journal of Moral Philosophy 7 No. 1 (2010) pp. 145-147, 3 pages.

*Chambers, Clare, “Assessing Equality”: review of Chris Armstrong, Rethinking Equality: The Challenge of Equal Citizenship (Manchester University Press, 2006) and Stuart White, Equality (Polity Press, 2007) in Res Publica (2008) pp. 141-4, 4 pages.

Chambers, Clare, Review of Anne Phillips, Multiculturalism without Culture (Princeton University Press, 2007) in British Journal of Sociology (2008) pp. 380-382, 3 pages.

Chambers, Clare, Review of Catharine MacKinnon, Are Women Human? And other international dialogues (Harvard University Press, 2006) in Ethics and International Affairs 21 No. 2 (Summer 2007) pp. 261-263, 3 pages.

Chambers, Clare, Review of Seyla Benhabib, The Claims of Culture: Equality and Diversity in the Global Era (Princeton University Press, 2002) in Political Studies Review 2 No. 1 (January 2004) p. 51, 1 page.

Chambers, Clare, Review of Nancy J. Hirschmann, The Subject of Liberty: Toward a Feminist Theory of Freedom (Princeton University Press, 2003) in Political Studies Review 1 No. 3 (September 2003) p. 373, 1 page.

Chambers, Clare, Review of Will Kymlicka and Magda Opalski, Can Liberal Pluralism be Exported? Western political theory and ethnic relations in Eastern Europe (Oxford University Press, 2001) in Political Studies 50 No. 5 (December 2002) p. 988, 1 page.

Cosmetic procedures: ethical issues

Nuffield Council on Bioethics, 2017

This report was written by the Working Party on Cosmetic Procedures, of which I am a member.

There has been increasing demand for invasive cosmetic procedures in the UK, prompting questions about potential risks to users and the lack of regulation and professional standards in this area. This report explores ethical issues in cosmetic procedures with a particular focus on the role and responsibilities of health and scientific professionals and others in responding to demand for invasive non-reconstructive procedures that aim to enhance or normalise appearance. It engages in detailed ethical analysis and makes recommendations affecting all parts of the sector.

You can read the report here.

 

Against Marriage on BMJ blog

Richard Smith writes in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) blog that he is persuaded by the arguments of Against Marriage. You can read the full article here.

“Chambers is against marriage on the grounds of equality and liberty. Women are not equal with men within marriage, and the state by attaching a bundle of rights and duties to marriage creates a hierarchy of relationships with marriage at the top, making unmarried couples and single people inferior. Much of the population, including my wife and I, thinks that “common law wives” have similar rights to married women, but in fact they have none. By bundling rights and duties together, marriage (and civil partnerships) restrict autonomy; if they weren’t bundled people might choose different combinations of rights and duties.

“There is a need, Chambers accepted, for the law to regulate relationships, particularly to protect the vulnerable, but neither marriage nor civil partnership, which all the speakers criticised as being “one size fits all,” need to be that mechanism. She pointed out that parenthood might be a better basis for regulation than marriage, not least because parent-child relationships are more durable than couple relationships. Tatchell advocates a model whereby people would select “any significant other” (perhaps a best friend, sibling, or lover) and then choose among a menu of rights and duties. Such an arrangement would lead to greater equality and autonomy. All three speakers agreed that something along those lines would be better than either marriage or civil partnerships.

“And at dinner afterwards, my wife and I, despite being married for 40 years, agreed.”