I think that the general original premise of marriage is outdated. We obviously no longer have to pay dowry or marry the ensure the survival of our children. Arranged marriages of the old days is something rarely practiced in the West. Marriage now is about love and not just financial security.
Between American policy and the secularization of many people, I feel as though marriage is an outdated institution. I believe we also placed too much importance on the "devastating" effects of divorce, when we consider that people are far more likely to have experienced divorce than not. Marriage simply produces a piece of paper for those that are not religious and I don't feel that really justifies the ritual given its origins.
Marriage represents a commitment and a bond that is, although not unbreakable, difficult to break.
This may not be appropriate for couples who wish to have a more casual relationship, however, it offers a more stable and official relationship, which is far preferable to a more transient relationship when it comes to raising a child.
No, marriage is not outdated, as evidence by the fact that so many gays and lesbians across the country have been fighting for the right to have their marriages legally recognized. Calling it an outdated institution implies that no one is interested in engaging in marriage anymore. The fanfare that accompanies announcements of states recognizing same-sex marriages proves the institution is as relevant and important today as it was decades ago.
Marriage is not outdated in this day and age. However, the laws regarding marriage can be a bit outdated. In my opinion, laws and the government should not be involved in marriage at all. Marriage began as a religious institution, and it should go back to being only a religious institution.
In this day and age, marriage is not an outdated institution, because there are people who still like the security of marriage. Some people do not want to get married, but that is no reason that people who do want that protection and security should not be able to enter into that agreement if they want to.