Marital status discrimination in the allocation of rights, obligations, and benefits: Legal paths to protect non-normative families

Palazzo, Nausica (2019) Marital status discrimination in the allocation of rights, obligations, and benefits: Legal paths to protect non-normative families. PhD thesis, University of Trento.

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Abstract

The present dissertation addresses the problem of the insufficient recognition of non-traditional families. “Non-traditional” or “new” family is a composite category which encompasses non-normative conjugal families, as polyamorous relationships, and non-conjugal families (made up of relatives or friends, which lack a sexual component.) The aim of the research is to present the non-recognition of these new networks of care as a problem, and thereafter to build legal arguments to confer private and public family law entitlements upon them in selected legal systems: Canada, the United States, and the two meta-national systems of the European Convention of Human Rights and on European Union in Europe. The research has been conducted through “fieldwork” in the mentioned systems. It demonstrates that too often the legal framework is not aligned with the current landscape of family patterns, marked by an increasing family pluralism. This misalignment is the by-product of a choice by the systems under review to still take the marital family as the relevant basis for allocating family law benefits, rights, and obligations. Thus, after having expounded the different models for recognizing new families, the analysis moves to build legal arguments to introduce legal protections in each of the selected jurisdictions. These arguments are: a constitutional and policy-based argument in the U.S., a constitutional and policy-based argument in Canada, and ultimately two arguments resting on the European Convention of Human Rights and on European Union law in Europe. One is to be alert to the fact that this field of research is still a work in progress, owing to the fact that case law is at an early stage of development and that only a handful of legal schemes open to new families have been enacted so far. This dissertation thus attempts to gather and systematize all the relevant legal material instrumental to building legal arguments, with an awareness that further legal developments are needed before these arguments can reach a high likelihood of success before courts or legislative bodies.

Item Type:Doctoral Thesis (PhD)
Doctoral School:Comparative and European Legal Studies
PhD Cycle:31
Subjects:Area 12 - Scienze giuridiche > IUS/21 DIRITTO PUBBLICO COMPARATO
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