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CRS — Same-Sex Marriage: A Legal Background After United States v. Windsor (September 4, 2014)

September 15, 2014 Comments off

Same-Sex Marriage: A Legal Background After United States v. Windsor (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

The issue of same-sex marriage generates debate on both the federal and state levels. Either legislatively or judicially, same-sex marriage is legal in more than a dozen states. Conversely, many states have statutes and/or constitutional amendments limiting marriage to the union of one man and one woman. These state-level variations raise questions about the validity of such unions outside the contracted jurisdiction and have bearing on the distribution of state and/or federal benefits. As federal agencies grappled with the interplay of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and the distribution of federal marriage-based benefits, questions arose regarding DOMA’s constitutionality and the appropriate standard (strict, intermediate, or rational basis) of review to apply to the statute.

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Evolution of the Un-Wed Mother

September 10, 2014 Comments off

Evolution of the Un-Wed Mother
Source: Dominican University of California

According to the National Vital Statistics System, since the 1980’s, there has been a dramatic increase of unmarried pregnancies, close to an 80% increase. Drawing predominantly on historical information, and interviews with a multi-generational group of unmarried mothers, my research will show that although there are socio-economic factors which contribute to this phenomenon, the overwhelming factor is the increase in individualism, and that over the decades, unmarried women have evolved. With the release of societal pressures that once deemed them “fallen women” they no longer feel that they have to be married in order to provide a good life for their children.

Religion and Relationships in Muslim Families: A Qualitative Examination of Devout Married Muslim Couples

September 8, 2014 Comments off

Religion and Relationships in Muslim Families: A Qualitative Examination of Devout Married Muslim Couples
Source: Religions

Since 11 September 2001, Islam has been the center of many debates, discussions, parodies and publications. Many Muslims feel that their religion has been portrayed unfairly in Western media. The topics that seem to generate the most criticism relate to gender roles and the treatment of women, both inside the home and in society. The purpose of this paper is to examine the perceived role of Islam on marital and familial relationships from an insider’s perspective and to present participants’ reflections on sensitive issues, including gender roles, women’s rights and marital unity. Content analysis of in-depth interviews of twenty diverse Shia and Sunni Muslim couples living in the U.S. (n = 40) yielded three emergent themes: (1) Islam as a way of life; (2) Islam as a unifying force; and (3) gender roles and the treatment of women. These data suggest that, as perceived by our religiously involved “insider” participants, Islam influences marriage relationships, unites families and (when understood and lived properly) protects women from abuse and oppression.

Work-Family Conflict: The Effects of Religious Context on Married Women’s Participation in the Labor Force

August 27, 2014 Comments off

Work-Family Conflict: The Effects of Religious Context on Married Women’s Participation in the Labor Force
Source: Religions

Past work shows religion’s effect on women’s career decisions, particularly when these decisions involve work-family conflict. This study argues that the religious context of a geographic area also influences women’s solutions to work-family conflict through more or less pervasive normative expectations within the community regarding women’s roles and responsibilities to the family. We use the American Community Survey linked with community-level religious proportions to test the relationship between religious contexts and women’s participation in the labor force in the contiguous United States–2054 census geographic areas. Using spatial analysis, we find that community religious concentration is related to the proportion of women who choose not to work. Communities with a higher proportion of the population belonging to conservative religious traditions also have a greater proportion of married women choosing not to work outside the home.

CRS — Same-Sex Marriage: A Legal Background After United States v. Windsor (August 15, 2014)

August 25, 2014 Comments off

Same-Sex Marriage: A Legal Background After United States v. Windsor (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

The issue of same-sex marriage generates debate on both the federal and state levels. Either legislatively or judicially, same-sex marriage is legal in more than a dozen states. Conversely, many states have statutes and/or constitutional amendments limiting marriage to the union of one man and one woman. These state-level variations raise questions about the validity of such unions outside the contracted jurisdiction and have bearing on the distribution of state and/or federal benefits. As federal agencies grappled with the interplay of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and the distribution of federal marriage-based benefits, questions arose regarding DOMA’s constitutionality and the appropriate standard (strict, intermediate, or rational basis) of review to apply to the statute.

In United States v. Windsor, a closely divided U.S. Supreme Court held that Section 3 of DOMA, which prohibited federal recognition of same-sex marriage, violated due process and equal protection principles. As such, federal statutes that refer to a marriage and/or spouse for federal purposes should be interpreted as applying equally to legally married same-sex couples recognized by the state. However, the Court left unanswered questions such as (1) whether samesex couples have a fundamental right to marry and (2) whether state bans on same-sex marriage are constitutionally permissible.

Parental child abduction within the EU

August 20, 2014 Comments off

Parental child abduction within the EU
Source: European Parliamentary Research Service

The separation of parents is always a complicated and sensitive issue for the ex-partners and the child(ren). Citizens recurrently turn to the European Parliament asking for help in cases of alleged discrimination on grounds of nationality regarding parental authority or in cases of possible parental child abduction.

The number of bi-national marriages in the EU is constantly growing. When such a marriage breaks down the ex-partners often decide to return to their respective country of origin. If a couple has a child the situation can become very complicated. Frequently, once parents have separated, the parent who does not have custody of the child(ren) abducts them or refuses to send them back following an access visit. Another scenario is even more common: children are removed or retained by their primary carer, but without the permission of the other parent. This is in breach of the legal rights of the other parent and often leads to court proceedings.

CRS — Nonmarital Births: An Overview (July 30, 2014)

August 13, 2014 Comments off

Nonmarital Births: An Overview (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

Although nonmarital births (i.e., births to unmarried women) are not a new phenomenon, their impact on families has not diminished and there is much agreement that the complexity of modern family relationships and living arrangements may further complicate the well-being of children born to unwed mothers.

For the past six years (2008-2013), the percentage of all U.S. births that were nonmarital births remained unchanged at about 41% (1.6 million births per year), compared with 28% of all births in 1990 and about 11% of all births in 1970. Many of these children grow up in mother-only families. Although most children who grow up in mother-only families or step-parent families become well-adjusted, productive adults, the bulk of empirical research indicates that children who grow up with only one biological parent in the home are more likely to be financially worse off and have worse socioeconomic outcomes (even after income differences are taken into account) compared to children who grow up with both biological parents in the home.

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