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.