There Are Two Marriages – Part Two

There Are Two Marriages – Part Two September 7, 2011

Marriage Is Not Broken – It’s Changing

Marriage has a long and convoluted history.  For most of that history, marriage has been about the acquisition or exchange of property and the production of progeny for the purpose of protecting that property.  But, at least in the West, that’s not what marriage is about anymore.

If you look around at popular culture, it seems that marriage is about formalizing and cementing a romantic attraction.  Of course, this isn’t much of a justification to bind yourself to someone in the many ways that we do in modern marriage.  This has also likely been the reason that so many marriages end these days.

If you ask conservatives who are fighting against the (inevitable) acceptance of gay marriage, they’ll tell you that marriage is primarily about procreation and rearing of children — a booklet handed to me at the Minnesota State Fair by the the anti-gay-marriage people (who were subsequently glitter bombed) goes on at length about how one-man-one-woman marriage is all about the children.

The problem with that argument is that we allow celibate, infertile, post-menopausal, and otherwise non-child-producing couples to get legally married without batting an eye.  So, at least according to the government, marriage isn’t really about producing children.  It’s about two (oppositely gendered) persons who’d like to legalize their partnership and accrue the 515 benefits afforded to married persons in Minnesota state law (PDF).

See all the posts in this series here.

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