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DISCUSSION SET #8
Name and discuss at least five conditions or requirements for marriage currently in place
in most states. Cite relevant cases as appropriate.
Marriage is a contract that has necessary conditions and requirements in most states in order to
fully agree to this status. The marriage requirements include consent, solemnization,
consanguinity, age, monogamy, and mental capacity. The first requirement in order to be able to
enter into the contract of marriage is to have consent from both spouses. The spouses must want
to marry and cannot be forced into marrying the other person. The participating parties must be
competent to give their consent. The second requirement of marriage is the solemnization of the
marriage. This means a state marriage license must be issues, any waiting time before getting
period must be required, and usually a formal ceremony of some kind, but does not have to be
religious. Some states even allow proxy marriages, which are marriages when the groom cannot
be physically present due service or incarceration, so someone else stands in for him. The third
requirement for marriage is consanguinity, meaning the spouses are eligible to marry due to
enough degrees of separation between kin. This requirement does not allow people to marry that
are blood related, because of the threat of powerlessness, incest, and the greater chance of
producing mentally defected offspring. The fourth requirement for marriage is the age of each
spouse. Each spouse must be of legal age to marry or have the consent of parents and guardians
if they are of younger ages. Some states do not allow children of a certain age to marry at all,
even with parental consent. The spouses must be old enough to competently enter into a
contract. In Louisiana, at age 18 you can marry without parental consent, at age 16 you can
marry parental consent, and below 16 you cannot get married at all. If you are pregnant and too
young to marry without parental consent, but you parents will not give it to you, then the court
can emancipate you from you parents, and let you marry without consent. Another condition for
marriage is the requirement of monogamy. A spouse cannot be married to someone else if they
want to be married again. They must be properly divorced if they were married in the past. The
last requirement to participate in the contract of marriage is having the mental capacity to give
consent and enter into a contract. The court allows some people with limited mental capacity to
enter into the contract of marriage, even though they lack full mental capacity. It is crucial to
have all these requirements before marrying, because marriage is a state contract.
The Courts have declined to define family but have given us several indicia of the boundaries or
characteristics of relationships likely to receive protected status. What are the characteristics of
Even though the Courts do not explicitly define what a family is, they define what relationships
they will protect. The criteria for relationships the Courts will protect indicate how they view
traditional families. Each separate criterion is not enough to define a protected relationship as a
family. It is the combination of these characteristics that helps the Court define what a family is.
The criteria for protected relationship according to the Courts includes biological relationship,
potential parent-child relationship, cohabitation, and psychological support and involvement.
The Court will protect a relationship that does not have a biological relationship present,
meaning the people are not already related by blood to each other. Also, the Court will protect
relationships in which there is a biological tie between the parent guardian and child, but this
criterion is not enough for either instance. Two people can be not biologically related and live
together, but not be a family. They could be just roommates. Also, a parent could have a
biological tie to a child, but not actually support, nurture, or care for the child. Parents of an
adopted child could also be a family, but they are not biologically tied to them, so this criterion
alone is not enough.
The next criteria of protected relationships of the Court, the potential parent-child relationship,
means families in which the grandparents were acting as the parents were protected. This
characteristic was used to eliminate homosexuals as a protected relationship, because they could
not bear children. However, now this is not enough, because the Court protects relationships in
which families do not or cannot have children.
The Court will also protect people are who cohabitating as protected relationships. However,
this piece of criteria is not enough on its own, because friends could cohabitate together, so the
evidence a shared home is not enough. The criterion of cohabitation includes all the following
ideas: a shared living arrangement, economic cooperation between the spouses, and sexual
relations between the spouses.
The Court protects relationships of permanence and formal commitment. A formal commitment
indicates permanence, which in turn, implies stability, psychological support, and security. The
Court does not protect relationships in which people marry just to prevent someone from being
deported. They want the people in the relationship to have the intent to stay together and make a
family. In order to show permanence and commitment, the couple must show a merge of bank
accounts, a newly established residence, or changing of last names.
The last criterion the Court looks for to protect a relationship is psychological support and
involvement. This criterion means the spouses are intimate, stable, and care for one another.
This criterion is the most open one of the five because it is not enough to protect foster family
relationships. Each one of these characteristics alone do not define what a family is or what if
the Court would protect the relationship. It is the combination of all these criteria that helps the
Court to see the protected relationship as a family.
Moore v. City of East Cleveland (1977)
East Cleveland's housing ordinance limited occupancy of a dwelling unit to members of a
single family. Part of the ordinance was a strict definition of "family" which excluded Mrs. Inez
Moore who lived with her son and two grandsons. Did the housing ordinance violate the Due
Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment? The four justices in the plurality held that the
ordinance violated Moore's rights as it constituted "intrusive regulation of the family" without
accruing some tangible state interest. Justice Stevens joined in the judgment and argued that the