English law, Brahmo marriage, and the problem of religious difference: civil marriage laws in Britain and India
Comparative Studies in Society and History
Cambridge University Press
On the face of it, civil marriage represents both the most typical and most anodyne aspect of modern law. One might say that by instituting civil marriage, a bureaucratic, enumerative, and secularized state permits its subjects absolute individual choice of marital partners, and concurrently, by refusing to take into account the religious affiliation of any party, grants total freedom of religious faith. As such, it may be seen as a quintessentially modern phenomenon, connected through the adjective “civil” with other distinctively modern concepts such as civil society, all of which point to a notion of individual liberty, predicated upon a modern state guaranteeing the autonomy of large arenas of social life.
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Vol. 52, Issue 3, pp. 524 - 552