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.
"Coming from diverse perspectives, these provocative essays probe beneath the surface of the marriage debates to ask redical questions about marriage itelf-not only who should marry, but whay marriage should be priveleged above other relationships. Just Marriage will help those interested in reforming marriage think more deeply about the public's stake in marriage and marriage's place in society."-Dorothy Roberts, author of Shattered Bonds: The
Color of Child Welfare
"the book is closer to a real conversation than many other anthologies that make such a claim.... But I came to think that the extreme brevity might be useful if it generates further discussion. It is not a bad thing to go away hungry for more. Shanley rehearses sharply and concisely the view of marriage that came to the United States from British tradition....Meanwhile this small book offers to activists and nonactivists a fine introduction, and provocation,
to serious debate."--Perspectives on Politics
"It is difficult for disagreements about the public meaning of marriage to be reasonable today. Mary Shanley sets the tone with strong views reasonably stated, and her interlocutors follow her example. This is an articulate and timely conversation!"--Iris Marion Young, author of Inclusion and Democracy
"Shanley's argument strives for equity and the full grantof citizenship for gay and lesbian people seeking to enter a civil marriage commitment while doing justice to the qualms that many different kinds of people have about marriage. Whatever one thinks of its merits, the debate it sparks presents a fresh and supportive alternative to the public conversation on same-sex marriage."-Urvashi Vaid, former executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task
Mary Lyndon Shanley: Just Marriage: On the Public Importance of Private Unions
Nancy F. Cott: The Public Stake
Joan C. Tronto: Marriage: Love or Care?
Cass R. Sunstein: Of Federalism and Caste
Martha Albertson Fineman: Why Marriage?
David B. Cruz: Mystification, Neutrality, and Same-Sex Couples in Marriage
William N. Eskridge Jr.: The Relational Case for Same-Sex Marriage
Amitai Etzioni: A Communitarian Position for Civil Unions
Milton C. Reagan Jr.: Between Justice and Commitment
Elizabeth F. Emens: Just Monogamy?
Drucilla Cornell: The Public Supports of Love
Wendy Brown: After Marriage
Brenda Cossman: Beyond Marriage
Tamara Metz: Why We Should Disestablish Marriage
Mary Lyndon Shanley: Afterword