Policy Sciences

, Volume 40, Issue 3, pp 241–259 | Cite as

Do government sponsored marriage promotion policies place undue pressure on individual rights?

  • Karen StrueningEmail author


The dominance of social science research in the debate over the Bush Administration’s Healthy Marriage Initiative may explain why questions regarding the proper role of government in regulating adult intimacy have received little attention. Social science research focuses on outcomes such as well-being and health. In contrast, rights-based legal theory considers whether state action undermines the rights of individuals. In this article, I intend to shift the debate over marriage promotion policy from questions of child well-being to questions of individual rights. I will ask the following questions: Do individuals have a liberty interest in making their own choices about intimate relationships, such as marriage? Do federally-financed (and frequently state-run) marriage programs compromise this liberty interest? Are there any constitutional grounds for objecting to marriage promotion policy?


Marriage promotion policy Healthy marriage initiative Freedom of intimate association Individual rights Constitutional law Privacy and sexual conduct jurisprudence 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Political ScienceCity College-CUNYNew YorkUSA

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