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Thematic Issues
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VOLUME 6 (2004), ISSUE 11 (YEARLY)






Within the last decade, the issue of same-sex marriage has burst forth on the public agenda in the United States. In the most recent period, the media have been reporting, on a daily basis, deliberations and decisions by courts and state legislatures both for and against. The country appears to be in the throes of a battle of diverse ideologies that has been an issue for the 2004 presidential election.

This article is divided into three parts. Part one reports on the most recent developments regarding same-sex marriage in various states and on the political front. Part two locates the conflict in the social institutional context of the family. Part three discusses gays and lesbians as parents. Its purpose is to provide a deeper understanding of the issues in the debate by locating them in a larger sociological context.


Same-Sex Marriage - Family - Gays and Lesbians - Social Institutions - United States


Norman LINZER is currently the Samuel J. and Jean Sable Professor of Jewish Family Social Work at the Wurzweiler School of Social Work of Yeshiva University. He is a graduate of Yeshiva College and the Wurzweiler School of Social Work. He received rabbinic ordination from the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary, an affiliate of Yeshiva University , and a Ph.D. in sociology from the New School for Social Research. On the Wurzweiler faculty since 1966, he served as acting dean in 1989-90.

Dr LINZER has received the Bernard Revel Memorial Award from Yeshiva University, the Samuel and Rose Hurowitz award from the Federation of Jewish Philanthropies of New York, and is listed in Who’s Who in World Jewry. He was a post-doctoral fellow at the Shalom Hartman Institute for Advanced Judaic Studies in Jerusalem and taught at Bar lan University in Ramat Gan, Israel.

He has published five books, on Resolving Ethical Dilemmas in Social Work Practice (1999), Ethical Dilemmas in Jewish Communal Service (1996), The Jewish Family: Authority and Tradition in Modern Perspective (1984), The Nature of Man in Judaism and Social Work (1978), and The Jewish Family (1968).

Dr LINZER has lectured widely and published numerous articles on Jewish identity, the Jewish family and community, the aged, Jewish education, Soviet Jewish resettlement, and lately, professional ethics in social work. His most recent book applies models of values classification and ethical decision making and justification to cases in a variety of subjects including welfare reform, managed care, child welfare, domestic violence, assisted suicide, and confidentiality, among others. He teaches Jewish social philosophy, ideology, and values and ethics at the Wurzweiler School of Social Work.


This article is a revised version of a paper presented at The First International Conference of The Social Capital Foundation, held in Brussels, Belgium, on May 12-13, 2004. 


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