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Legal Sex and Marriage

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Abstract

Marriage is a highly complex institution, raising contested theological, social and legal issues. Modern understandings of marriage represent the accumulation of diverse sources of authority. Marriage is an agreement before God; an institution formalized by religious ritual; a civil contract; a sexual partnership; a social and legal framework for the raising of children; a means for the transmission of property between generations. No single non-contentious definition of marriage is available, neither anthropologically, nor in law. Case law in the modern era reveals confusion about the essential nature of the institution, and an absence of clear definition. On the eve of Corbett v Corbett the issue of transsexualism was very much in the air, with a small number of legal decisions decided on legal sex, identity registration, and marriage. However most cases of gender non-conformity were handled in the grey zone of medical practice and administrative accommodation.

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© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of EnglishThe University of Hong KongHong KongHong Kong

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