Emory International Law Review


Until recent years, authorities in the United States gave little serious consideration to the marriage and family traditions of other religious groups. Courts today accommodate cultural and religious diversity more generously, but always within a larger framework of law requiring nondiscrimination, freedom of conscience, gender equality, and protections for dependent or vulnerable family members. In this context, although the unofficial family law of customary and religious authorities has important consequences for individuals and families, those authorities have not been able to enlist the coercive machinery of the state to enforce their orders. This type of pluralism, characteristic of the United States and Canada, poses significantly different questions than the pluralism of nations in which customary or religious law is backed by the authority of the state.