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I’m just back from the annual conference of the Council on Contemporary Families  and I’m wondering why I was the only law professor there!   This is the group most dedicated to fighting the simplistic message of the right-wing marriage movement — not to mention the current administration with its “marriage promotion” and abstinence-only sex education policies — that the decline of life-long heterosexual marriage is responsible for all our social problems.   It’s mostly social science and mental health academics and some clinicians.   I’ve written more about the event at my own blog. In fact, as I travel around speaking about my book, Beyond (Straight and Gay) Marriage,  on college campuses, I am reminded how infrequently law students and undergrad/grad students (and their faculty!) interact.   At University of Chicago, I spoke to law students at 12:30 and then walked ten minutes “across the midway” to speak at the Center for Gender Studies at 2:00…this because I was told law students wouldn’t make that walk across the midway!   But feminist family law profs should know people like Barbara Risman  and Stephanie Coontz, and I think we’ve got a contribution to make to their work as well.   I found the audience very interested in my talk on the difference between how the law treats the dissolution of marriages and how it treats the dissolution of non-marital couples.

Nancy Polikoff

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