I’m so baffled by the people who oppose marriage equality because they say it will destroy the institution of marriage. Where is this traditional marriage-created utopia these people think they live in? Can we stop pretending that marriage has some great history? Tell me again…what is the current divorce rate? Doesn’t marriage actually have a pretty rocky background?
Marriage is like living at Disney World…
Marriage has been used historically to serve business and financial purposes (Hello, Downton Abbey) and so that men could be assured of paternity. Marriage has not typically been something that benefitted women. At various times and in various cultures women have been forced to marry much older men at very young ages, have been treated and traded like property, have been subject to rules that didn’t apply equally to men (death penalty for adultery), and have been denied the right to inherit their husband’s property and money. Women were expected to be virgins when wed, but society allowed men to do whatever they wanted.
We should ban Britney Spears and Kim Kardashian from getting married again if we want to protect marriage. Tiger Woods shouldn’t even be allowed to leave his house. David Petraeus, John Edwards, Bill Clinton…boy, did they respect the institution.
But the Bible says…
Marriages take place for a lot of reasons besides religious beliefs. The church doesn’t even have to be involved in a wedding. That’s optional. Two people can go to a justice of the peace and have a wedding that does not have one ounce of religion in it. Atheists can marry. People beyond the age of child-bearing, or simply medically unable to do so can marry, so there goes the procreation argument. Heck, for a while, in ancient times, the church preferred people not marry as it took their focus off God. Celibacy was ideal as it prevented distraction from God by family. But when the church realized that was a losing battle, they jumped on board the wedding train.
Who wrote the Bible? God, many will say. Well, okay, but through people, yes? People never have agendas do they?
If marriage is sacred and holy to you, great. But let’s not pretend that’s the only reason why it exists.
But what happens next?
Perverted old members of NAMBLA will demand the right to marry little boys because they were born that way! Ummm…actually, no. That is not a marriage of two consenting adults. That’s child sexual abuse and nowhere near the same thing. People will want to marry goats! Well, if the goat learns how to sign legal documents and can communicate that it is a consenting adult, to the open bar I will go.
Homosexuality is not a traditional, acceptable lifestyle, some say.
Then let’s bar them from being in “traditional” committed monogamous relationships. That’s the solution.
But kids have a right to a mother and father!
Another of my favorite arguments. Because ALL kids have a mother and father now. I forgot that our utopian little world doesn’t have any single parents. I forgot that a parent would NEVER walk away from their responsibility. I forgot that a parent could never die. I forgot that a straight person would never, ever raise a child in anything other than the traditional family unit. Better only one parent, than two of the same sex, though.
What about the children?
Of course, there is the obvious point that if gay couples marry and have children, these children will be all messed up from growing up in such an amoral household. That’s a hard one to argue. Oh, wait, actually it’s not because I spent seven years in a public school classroom. You think sexual orientation has bearing on the ability to parent? These are just a few of the sad things I’ve seen:
~a student told not to read by a parent because it was a waste of time
~homework blatantly completed by parents
~a parent demand I send home pencils for homework because they didn’t think they should have to buy any
~a student told by a parent that the reason he gets in trouble is because the entire staff is racist (but not because he’s disruptive, throws things, hits, or runs)
~countless parents that never show up to anything, whether it be conferences or events
~a student that wouldn’t attend a musical unless given a solo (via a note written by a parent)
~a female student not permitted to play any sport because she’s a girl
I could go on.
These all occurred in straight households of varying race and socioeconomic status. And they are not indicative of the “typical” families I worked with. But maybe being straight isn’t enough on the list of criteria.
For further examples, please see: Teen Mom, Dance Moms, and Toddlers and Tiaras. (Thanks Jon Stewart)
I’ve had a number of students over the years from same-sex households. Some of those parents volunteered in the room. And all were very involved with their kids. I’m not saying I always saw eye-to-eye with every one of those parents, but I can assure you, that if there was an issue, it was nothing that didn’t occur with a traditional straight family. Damaged children? I assure you not. I’ve taught damaged children. Trust me. One of my top students in my last year had two dads. She made straight As, read like a fiend, and made power points about pet care and animal adoption for fun. Quick! Somebody call DFCS!
The government wanted to get involved in marriage so now they can deal with that decision. There is no reason that two people who want to commit to each other shouldn’t have access to a loved one in the hospital with a medical condition, file a joint tax return, have a family medical plan, and all that other legal mumbo jumbo. Let’s stop putting marriage, as it has been, on a pedestal. Let’s stop reinventing a history where marriage has always equalled a world of Care Bears and Skittle rainbows. Some marriages are great. Some are awful. God forbid we give another group of people the opportunity to give it a shot.
To clarify, I’m not anti-marriage. My parents have been married forty years. I’m happily married. But in my opinion, while surely there have been great marriages throughout history, as an “institution” it has only become a good thing for women in the last few decades. In the past, sometimes the only thing worse for women than being married, was not being married. It was like voting in one of our presidential elections. Choose the lesser of two evils. Marriage has not always defined our culture in a positive way. So let’s try something new.