Law inevitably is involved in the resolution of cultural conflicts. Nonintervention acts as powerfully as intervention; in either case, law is a powerful actor in its role as a part of cultural dialogue, as well as in its role as a coercive force. Law is never neutral in my view. If it “stays out” of a situation, then it is complicit in the status quo or in permitting the conflict to be resolved without legal intervention, which may weight the outcome in a particular direction. If law “comes in,” it similarly “sides” with a particular position because, in part, our adversarial, either/or, dichotomous orientation tends toward a winner and a loser, rather than a win-win situation.
Nancy E. Dowd, Law, Culture, and Family: The Transformative Power of Culture and the Limits of Law, 78 Chi.-Kent L. Rev. 785 (2003), available at http://scholarship.law.ufl.edu/facultypub/645