By H. Brook
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Extra info for Conjugality: Marriage and Marriage-like Relationships before the Law
Together, the brothers plot to kill the father and share his many wives. To ensure that the brothers are not in turn murdered by their own sons, monogamous marriage regulations are established. Pateman uses this story alongside social contract theory to argue that the “overthrow” of patriarchal politics for egalitarian democracy is a reconfiguration of masculine privilege. The “free and equal” subjects of social contract democracy are men whose fraternal power is established in the ostensibly private realm of the familial.
However, one might counter that this “mistake” did not pertain to the husband’s fortune, history, or character. The mistake, if we can call it that, was corporeal. In any case, if the principal ground had been the more appropriate question of whether or not the husband was a man, the result is likely to have been the same. Consenting Adults In most instances where mistake constitutes a legal impediment to marriage, the nature of the mistake pertains in one way or another to the issue of consent.
36 Conjugality At first glance, regulations concerning the validity of marriage when a bride or groom’s identity is in question seem to reflect this consistent interest in valid consent. If, for example, a groom believes he is marrying Selma but in fact weds her twin sister Patti, the groom’s consent to the union is obviously compromised. Mistakes of this kind are very rare indeed. Mistakes concerning the true personality, feelings, habits, or fortunes of one’s spouse are undoubtedly much more common (if not the norm) but do not, in general, offer grounds for annulment.