Deirdre McGowan, “Governed by marriage law: An Irish genealogy” (2016) 25 Social and Legal Studies 311.
Marriage law links the private and the political, connecting the aspirations of individuals to the regulatory ambitions of the state. Marriage has significant social and cultural importance, but the assumptions of stability and care it entails are also useful to government. As a result, marriage law has, both historically and in the present, been offered as the solution to a range of social problems. Using Ireland as a case study example, this essay focuses on the problems that marriage law reform has attempted to address and the political frameworks within which reform took place. It suggests that marriage law is a technique of government that aims to encourage marriage performance in the interests of economic and social stability.