• Unit 6: Policies Regarding Families and Personal Relationships

    Marital, personal, and family relationships are an area where policy makers and officials often have to make controversial ethical and legal decisions. Should we allow consenting adults to engage in sexual or marital relationships with whomever they choose? What limits should the government place on these relationships? Whose interests are paramount in family relationships, those of the child or those of the parents and grandparents? What limits should the government place on procreation, contraception, and abortion?

    Completing this unit should take you approximately 2 hours.

    • 6.1: Marriage and Other Consensual Adult Relationships

      Over the past several decades the Supreme Court has worked to expand the definition of legal marriage in the United States. The following section provides resources that describe some of the cornerstone cases in this effort.

    • 6.2: Parent/Child Relationships

      Parent/child relationships are governed mostly by state policy and agencies. For example, rules about appropriate care, education, and well-being of children are decided at the state level, though there are some common standards across the states.

    • 6.3: Contraception and Abortion

      Abortion and contraception have been the subject of Supreme Court cases dating back nearly 100 years. In Griswold v. Connecticut the court established a "right to privacy" that they said provided a legal basis to contraception being allowed. Later cases would come to enshrine this right, along with abortion rights, into federal law.