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In June 2015, in Obergefell v. Hodges, the Supreme Court established that same-sex couples have a fundamental right to marry. The decision articulated a sweeping defense of marriage, specifically the dignity that the institution provides to its participants and the society as a whole. Many liberal critics have assailed this decision, citing concerns that the reification of marriage---and the tangible benefits of marriage---comes at the cost of disadvantaging non-marital families, a population equal to the number of those who marry. This essay is a counterintuitive attempt to realize that marriage can offer protections for vulnerable populations. Specifically, in the immigration context, when a citizen marries a non-citizen, marriage has the unique means to extend protections otherwise not available under immigration law alone. In this respect, Obergefell is not simply a marriage case but a potential to understand that State intervention may be a welcomed protection for many.


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8 Sep 2022
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  • Subject
    • Civil Rights and Discrimination

    • Domestic Law

    • Sexuality and Sexual Orientation

  • Journal title
    • The Contested Place of Religion in Family Law, Cambridge University Press

  • Date submitted

    8 September 2022