Just Marriage

Just Marriage

Just Marriage

Just Marriage

Synopsis

From the ground breaking legal decisions on gay marriage to the promotion of marriage for low-income families, the "sacred institution" of marriage has turned into a public battleground. Who should be allowed to marry and is marriage a public or private act? Should marriage be abandoned completely? Or should marriage be redefined as a civil institution that promotes sexual and racial equality?

As the fierce national debate over same-sex marriage and civil unions continues, Mary Lyndon Shanley argues that while the state should continue to play a role in regulating personal relations, the law must be fundamentally reformed if marriage is to become a more just institution. Fourteen prominent writers and thinkers respond, including Nancy F. Cott, William N. Eskridge, Jr., Amitai Etzioni, Martha Albertson Fineman, and Cass R. Sunstein.

Excerpt

American conservatives pride themselves on moral clarity. and that clarity is nowhere greater than on the topic of marriage and family. the essentials of marriage are, they say, well defined: it unites a man and a woman; it provides the foundation for a family that may include biological or adopted children; it assigns different roles to men and women; and it is a union for life, indissoluble except for the most grievous offenses. These essentials are, according to conservatives, not a product of the vagaries of social convention or contingent cultural choices but are instead given by nature, scripture, or tradition. Moreover, preserving them is intrinsically good for individuals and has great public benefits: marriage is the . . .

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