Abstract and Keywords
Canon law, the law of the church, defined men and women as distinct and different. Nevertheless, particularly in marriage, canon law also endorsed several important equalities for spouses, irrespective of gender. This article seeks out the balance between gender equalities and inequalities in marriage as found in legal theory and in legal practice, in canon law and in canon law courts. The law itself called for a contradictory positioning of men and women as husbands and wives in a relationship that required both a hierarchical structure and at the same time equality. Ecclesiastical judges practiced a complex implementation of these rules. The article will examine the place of gender in canon law and legal practice concerning marriage in three stages: marriage formation, married life, and dissolution.
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