Monday, April 21, 2008

Recent reading: cultural property and same-sex marriage

Marc R. Poirier, The Cultural Property Claim within the Same Sex Marriage Controversy—from the abstract:

This article argues that traditionalist opposition to same sex marriage can be understood as a cultural property claim - the sort of claim that is often made by Native American tribes and other indigenous or subordinated cultural groups of a right to control the uses of sacred or culturally central rituals, places and objects. Ultimately, the article disagrees with the traditionalist position, and suggests several arguments against allowing traditionalists to claim a property-like right to exclude same sex couples from marriage. Nevertheless, the stakes in the part of the marriage equality controversy that centers around name and status are not adequately understood, and this article offers an analytical advance by bringing the idea of a cultural property claim to bear.

In the end, I wish the piece had engaged more with the cultural property debates—Poirer cites Michael Brown’s Who Owns Native Culture? but only in a footnote—but it was still a persuasive analogy.

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