Marriage, Sexuality, and Gender examines contemporary debates about the meaning and value of marriage. The book analyzes arguments for traditional marriage, including those of neonaturalists, utilitarians, and communitarians or virtue theorists. The volume also considers a range of feminist, welfarist, and liberationist arguments for ending the institution altogether. It evaluates two major reform movements: one focused on expanding marriage to include same-sex couples and the other focused on the use of law to render marriage more internally just. The book concludes with a plea to activists to redirect "marriage equality" movements toward the creation of an entirely secular "civil union law" that would respect a broader range of private life-long commitments, including but not limited to same- and opposite-sex couples, without threatening the role of religious marriage in the lives of those who embrace it and without penalizing nonparticipants.
"West argues that same-sex marriage proponents should not rule morality out, as the courts have done, but take morality on. She convincingly articulates an affirmative moral case that the ‘good’ of marriage—fostering intimacy and care giving for dependents—applies equally to homosexual and heterosexual couples."
—New York Review of Books
Introduction Chapter 1: A Look in the Rearview Mirror Chapter 2: In Defense of Marraige ("When I'm Sixty-Four") Chapter 3: Marriage and Its Critics ("Let's Call the Whole Thing Off") Chapter 4: Just Marriage ("We Can Work It Out:) Conclusion: A Modest Proposal Notes Bibliography Index About the Author