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Gay Rights, Same-Sex Marriage, Courtesy, Politeness, Legal Process


Law | Law and Society | Legal History, Theory and Process | Sexuality and the Law


In this paper, I argue that the expansion of LGBT rights requires engagement with the common practices of courtesy that confer and reinforce social standing. In order to understand what this engagement with good manners might look like, I outline the basic features of common courtesy and illustrate how courtesy depends on a mix of utility, habit, and pleasure. I argue that if the practice of courtesy is to be re-appropriated, then all three of the factors that underwrite courtesy must be addressed. I also consider the general possibilities for re-configuring courtesy. And, in this vein, I suggest that the law may provide an important means by which the re-appropriation of common courtesy can occur.


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