Some of her points that especially resonated with me:
In fact, what seems to be a huge step forward for lesbian and gay people, will, when achieved, extend the reach of state control over relationships. It will privilege those who are coupled over those who are single or otherwise connected. It will shore up the nuclear family model despite the fact that people live in many other relational constellations. However, if same-sex marriage is prohibited, as the 11 state referenda lost in the last election year would have it, a significant percentage of the population will continue to lose out on the 1,138 federal rights that marriage conveys. This is a classic “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” situation.
Progressive people, and especially progressive religious people, must do better if relational justice for all—and not just more rights for a few—is to result. […] By my lights, [my partner, my daughter, and I] are simply three people who deserve all of the rights of citizenship, but no more than my single cousin, my widowed neighbor or my friends who belong to religious congregations. Connecting rights to marriage is, in my view, an outmoded approach to the common good.
It is simply ethically intuitive to extend such privileges to same-sex couples who, by marrying, take on the various responsibilities that heterosexual couples claim justify their privilege. But what remains to be explained is why being coupled, especially without children, should result in any economic advantage. Rather, it seems fair that everyone should be able to designate survivors for purposes of inheritance, or no one should; everyone ought to be able to choose with whom they will jointly file taxes, or no one should.
Hunt argues that there are three problems with marriage that show the obvious that “the laws are written to favor a certain two-by-two lifestyle that is simply a fiction” and make marriage an undesirable long-term justice goal:
- “[M]arriage is at best a temporary state of affairs.”
- Marriage perpetuates “the fiction that happiness and relational goodness only come in matched pairs,” a model that does not suit everybody.
- Marriage has created a strange alliance between religion and state where religious institutions officiate on state business.
Hunt stresses that she supports same-sex marriage – at one point, arguing that everybody should have the right to be wrong. However, she ends her article with a call to the current leaders of religious traditions “to put a wholesale reexamination of marriage on the agenda, leaving aside the same-sex distraction in order to think anew about how we envision a just society.”