Family, Marriage and the Law

Brooklyn Law School Library’s most recent New Book List has the 2d edition of The Geography of Love: Same-Sex Marriage & Relationship Recognition in America (The Story in Maps) by Peter Nicolas and Mike Strong (Call #KF539 .N52 2011a). This 40 page volume depicts the history and current state of marriage and relationship recognition rights for same-sex couples in the United States in charts and in maps with endnotes citing to relevant cases and statutes. Not included in this list is the recent Order by a Livingston County Supreme Court allowing a suit challenging New York’s landmark marriage equality law to proceed based on claims of violations of NY’s open meeting law. Beginning with a detailed history of efforts to achieve marriage rights and other forms of relationship recognition (such as domestic partnerships and civil unions) for gay and lesbian Americans, from the first lawsuit filed in 1970 in Minnesota to the Illinois civil union law that goes into effect in June 2011, it goes on to provide detailed information on relationship recognition in the United States, including which states permit same-sex couples to marry or to enter into other types of legal unions; the rules for entering into or terminating such relationships; a comparison of the rights that each state provides to same-sex couples; the extent to which same-sex relationships entered into in one state are recognized by other states; and which cities and counties have domestic partnership registries and equal benefits ordinances. It also looks at efforts to ban same-sex marriage at the ballot box, including selected vote details by state and county; a closer look at where support for such efforts was weakest and strongest; and a comparison of the processes for amending state constitutions across the US.

The BLS Library also recently added to its collection Inside the Castle: Law and the Family in 20th Century America by Joanna L. Grossman and Lawrence M. Friedman (Call #KF505 .G765 2011). This comprehensive social history of twentieth-century family law in the United States tells the story of the institution of family, exploring the ways in which law tried to penetrate and control this realm of personal life. Chapters include: Tying the knot: marriage and promises to marry — Marriage and the state — Marriage, law, and society: a tangled web — Common-law marriage — The end of heart balm — Anything goes: love and romance in a permissive age — The rise of sexual freedom — Cohabitation — Same-sex relationships — When the music stops: dissolving a marriage and the aftermath — Untying the knot: divorce and annulment — Dollars and sense: the economic consequences of divorce — Collateral damage: the children of divorce — The old and the new generation — The extended family: elder law and the law of inheritance.