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Hi Amy: 

Thanks for your continued great work.  

I have been engaging in a prolonged discussion with a friend about gay marriage and feminist stances on marriage.  I am wondering if you can point me to any articles or books which highlight the need to abolish marriage at large, and hope to create civil unions for all people, from a feminist perspective.  I am interested in authors who have approached the argument from the stance that marriage is a private institution which should not be governed by the state, while simultaneously arguing that the state should make provisions for civil unions or household registries across a spectrum of relationship and caretaking parameters.  That is to say, that the economic and social benefits afforded in "marriage" be widely available.  

Furthermore, I am interested in finding a perspective that argues that marriage, in and of itself, is an oppressive institution because of the economics of the heterosexual relationship it takes for granted (i.e. that a woman needs the support of a man's higher income and that in that he/they should be entitled to certain financial incentives because he shares his income with her and their children...loosely stated of course). I would argue that gay marriage, as it is here in Massachusetts, perpetuates this economic understanding of marriage which reinforces a heterosexual paradigm (even if it is extended to homosexual couples), which is at the root of gender based divide and oppression which feminism serves to dismantle.  

Notably, I am not interested in the third wave, radical rhetoric of the dissolution of hate nuclear family or abolition of monogamous relationships with men.

Can you help?!?!?!

One suggestion is Mab Sagrest. I remember something that she wrote a few years ago and she might be a good match for you. Also, there are certainly more historical feminist writers (Shulamith Firestone, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, etc...) who launch a pretty theoretical critique against marriage, but their arguments were cast mostly before the prospect of gay marriage became more likely.

My own personal feeling is that we should do away with marriage as it is. I think that the MA situation is progressing in that direction, recognizing every union but with language that is more honest about what it is. I actually think the real reason that so many people are threatened by gay marriage isn't solely because they don't want to see same sex couples get married, but because they don't what to have to actually define marriage for themselves. As is, they can hide behind the illusion that marriage is about love and tradition and religion, when in fact it's really a legal union, one sanctified by the state. Of course, there can be traditional and religious aspects to a marriage, but they are mostly in the form of the ceremony and aren't actually codified.

I think that "marriage" as in two people committing themselves to each other, is a beautiful thing, but I think that can happen without having legal rights conferred upon you. I hope that helps.

Good luck,

- Amy