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Social Philosophy Today

Volume 25, 2009

Gender, Diversity, and Difference

Loren Cannon
Pages 75-89

Trans-marriage and the Unacceptability of Same-sex Marriage Restrictions

This essay analyzes the coherency and reasonableness of legal restrictions against same-sex marriage. The population of focus is transgender individuals and their partners. Focusing on trans-marriage makes clear that the restriction of marriage to one man and one woman is misguided in that the law rests on the assumption that the categories of sex and gender comprise two disjoint, exhaustive, and unambiguous groupings. The primary argument here is not that the restrictions of same-sex marriage are harmful to certain transpersons who participate in legal marriage, although they certainly are, but rather that this legal restriction fails to meet the minimum requirements of any reasonable law. This analysis compares the current marriage restriction and its reliance on the above mentioned false belief with judgments of the Race Classification Appeal Board of Apartheid era South Africa. I employ two actual cases and the legal philosophy of Lon L. Fuller in my argument.

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