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Contemporary family law and marriage law in the United States have been criticized by communitarian scholars and others as being too focused on individuals and individual fulfillment. These critiques make some valid points. it is also important, however; to emphasize that contemporary marriage law, for the first time, presents a model of equality and of reciprocal obligations. The Article articulates a broad framework of the functions of family and marriage law. It applies both this framework and the communitarian critique of family law to the issue of same-gender marriage.This analysis leads to the conclusion that same-gender marriage should be recognized. Arguments against same-gender marriage, discussed in the Article, contribute to the atomistic" focus of contemporary family law.

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