The Constitutional Status of Marriage, Kinship, and Sexual Privacy — Balancing the Individual and Social Interests

Today’s lopsided competition between the individual and social interests has made the law a party to the contemporary haze that clouds our vision of what a family is or should be. In that sense, recent legal developments have contributed to the crisis Stanley Hauerwas has identified regarding American family life today – our inability to define “what kind of family should exist” and our inability to articulate ”why we should think of [the family] as our most basic moral institution.”

In response to those two questions, this Article considers whether, as a constitutional matter, the courts should recognize claims by unrelated individuals or groups who seek the same legal protection as that given to formal relationships based on legal marriage or kinship.