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Conjugal Union
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Book description

This book defends the conjugal view of marriage. Patrick Lee and Robert P. George argue that marriage is a distinctive type of community: the union of a man and a woman who have committed to sharing their lives on every level of their beings (bodily, emotionally, and spiritually) in the kind of union that would be fulfilled by conceiving and rearing children together. The comprehensive nature of this union, and its intrinsic orientation to procreation as its natural fulfillment, distinguishes marriage from other types of community and provides the basis for the norms of marital exclusivity and permanence. Lee and George detail how the basic moral norms regarding sexual acts follow from the ethical requirement to respect the good of marriage and explain how the law should treat marriage, given its conjugal nature, examining both the same-sex-marriage issue and civil divorce.


'This book explains, defends, and promotes a traditional (‘conjugal’) idea of marriage with philosophical, non-faith-based arguments that also indicate why same-sex marriage is not marriage and why no-fault divorce law is incompatible with the institution of marriage. The authors give a clear and significant philosophical exposition of what’s wrong with the ideas of marriage that have been developed in the literature (including court judgments) favoring same-sex marriage.'

John Finnis - University of Oxford

'Patrick Lee and Robert George add a profound historical and philosophical dimension to the sociological data on the importance of marriage as a social institution. Their careful analysis, dealing fairly and sympathetically with the best arguments from a point of view different from theirs, makes this book highly relevant to current debates. It should be welcomed by thoughtful persons who are in no way prejudiced against individuals with same-sex orientation, but who find something wrong with the argument for same-sex marriage based on equal access to the institution of marriage.'

Mary Ann Glendon - Learned Hand Professor of Law, Harvard University, Massachusetts

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