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date: 24 June 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Both the free love tradition and philosophers appalled by the “love revolution” in marriage saw an antagonism between love and legal obligation. Marriage abolitionists and queer theorists have more recently argued against state legitimation of love relationships. This chapter briefly outlines the history of the concept of romantic love and its unlawfulness. It describes how law in modern liberal states has treated love, both in marriage law and in legal regulation of sex. It then turns to normative questions: Are love and legal institutions incompatible? What laws should there be regarding love or sex? The chapter considers arguments that legal institutions designed to protect love relationships wrongly burden the choice to remain in relationships, that they threaten spontaneous emotional response, that they are inherently unstable, that they are oppressive, and that love is a political virtue. I conclude that we are still witnessing the love revolution unfold.

Keywords: marriage, family, erotic love, free love, polyamory, gay and lesbian philosophy, feminist philosophy, political philosophy, care ethics

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