Now We Know Better: A New Legal Framework on Sex to Better Promote Autonomy, Equality, Diversity, and Care for the Poor
- Author(s): Helen Alvaré
- Date Posted: 2018
- Legal Studies #: LS 18-05
- Availability: Full text (most recent) on SSRN
Over especially the last 50 to 60 years, US laws and policies concerning the sexual relationships between men and women have more consciously articulated a need to pursue social justice according to the categories of autonomy, equality, diversity and care for the poor. These categories are admirable on their face and responsive to the times in which they emerged. They are particularly well-suited to the history of discrimination against women and African Americans in the US. They were strongly influenced, inter alia, by the development of contraceptive technology and an array of social welfare initiatives, the rise of feminism and civil rights, and a growing belief in the importance of sexual happiness. The laws and policies designed to achieve these goals, however, are currently insufficient. They relied on various presumptions about human preferences and behaviors, children’s needs, and the relationship marketplace — especially among the poor — which proved inadequate or false. Consequently while these categories remain relevant and important, US law and policy concerning sexual relationships need to be updated and rebalanced in order to achieve progress toward equality, autonomy, diversity and care for the poor.