By H. Brook
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Additional resources for Conjugality: Marriage and Marriage-like Relationships before the Law
She contends that gendered and sexed identities are constituted in the repetitive performance of social norms—norms that police and construct “compulsory heterosexuality” (after Rich 1980; see also Robson 2009). Like Gatens, and again, after Foucault, she posits a subject that does not precede its social construction in any essential way: “There is no ‘sex’ to which a supervening law attends; in attending to sex, in monitoring sex, the law constructs sex, producing it as that which calls to be monitored and is inherently regulatable” (Butler 1996, 64).
In some jurisdictions, opt-in regulations allow unmarried couples to register their relationships for certain purposes. In any case, many couples not lawfully married are interpolated (by the state, family and friends, or others) as married. It is clear, then, that although marriage organizes social relationships in various fundamental ways, it is neither regulated nor experienced in any necessarily uniform fashion, and its boundaries are not always clear and fixed. This suggests that we need to reexamine what marriage is and does.
That is, marriage has historically naturalized, produced, and protected the logic of the man– woman binary and its social corollaries, including heteronormative monogamy. The chief aim of this chapter, then, is to examine how marriage is made in places like the United Kingdom, the United States, and Australia. Two main elements of marriage making correspond to the two major sections of this chapter: weddings and consummation. Weddings Even very small children know that to make a marriage, there has to be a wedding.