Marriage Compromise: A New Institution?


When I said that the marriage movement needed entrepreneurial thinking, this is what I was talking about: Charles Capps proposes to make space for a stable compromise on marriage by inventing a new social institution. It’s a bright idea. I comment on it over on First Thoughts this morning:

Capps argues that we should develop separate social institutions to handle two things which heretofore have both been handled by marriage: the social needs of the natural family, and the social needs of groups (whether in a sexual relationship or not) who cohabit and share assets. We seem to be entering a period of history where, in contrast to the previous period, significant numbers of people will cohabit and share assets without forming natural families. Mere justice, Capps argues, demands that we develop social institutions to serve the legitimate needs of these non-familial cohabiters (that’s my term, not Capps’; let’s call them NFCs for lack of something better).

I see three issues that will need to be tackled for this to become a viable way forward…

It’s not going to resolve the debate in the immediate future, but if the issues I address on FT are tackled, I think it’s a seed that could grow into a new approach that could offer a long-term compromise and something like social/political equilibrium.

In other words, moral consensus.

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