Obergefell v. Hodges: Kinship Formation, Interest Convergence, and the Future of LGBTQ Rights


This Comment seeks to reframe Obergefell v. Hodges as a product of kinship formation and interest convergence. Obergefell v. Hodges is not merely a case about LGBTQ and marriage equality, or the moral triumph of oppressed sexual minorities over the majority. It is through marriage that unrelated people come together and form a legal relationship that surpasses any other in terms of state-guaranteed benefits and rights. At its core, Obergefell represents societal affirmation of marriage as the dominant site of kinship formation. It is precisely because same-sex marriage strengthens the institution of marriage as the only site of legal kinship formation that marriage equality was such a successful political project. This Comment turns to interest-convergence theory to explain this success and to show how marriage equality institutionally, economically, and ideologically affirms marital supremacy and made Obergefell possible. In doing so, this Comment hopes to contribute to the political discourse of the next LGBTQ rights project.

About the Author

Co-Editor-in-Chief, UCLA Pacific Basin Law Journal, Volume 33; Chief Articles Editor, Dukeminier Awards Journal of Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Law, Volumes 13–14; J.D., UCLA School of Law 2016.

By uclalaw