Red Families v. Blue Families: Legal Polarization and the Creation of Culture

Naomi Cahn, Author, June Carbone, Author . Oxford Univ. $29.95 (288p) ISBN 978-0-19-537217-5

Family law scholars Cahn (Test Tube Families ) and Carbone (From Partners to Parents ) defuse America’s bitter culture wars in this measured, statistics-based look at the societal pressures and changing economic realities that influence regional ideologies and voting patterns. The book focuses on the blue state/ red state division, acknowledging the demographic data suggesting that life patterns differ regionally, and that these differing family structures influence political allegiances: the bluest states have fewer teen mothers and lower divorce rates, and emphasize responsibility; red states have high teen birth and divorce rates and emphasize tradition. According to the authors, these core differences are the crucible from which the battles over abortion, same sex marriage, and contraception spring. Their suggestion? Return to a federalized approach that allows each region to address its constituents’ specific needs. The authors allow that a return to decentralization might not be feasible, but given the recent national debates over health care, the Stupak amendment, and same sex marriage laws, the book’s illuminating (if very technical) statistical data and dispassionate approach render it invaluable. (Apr.)

Reviewed on: 01/11/2010
Release date: 02/01/2010
Genre: Nonfiction
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