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Monday, November 26, 2007

History of Marriage

There was a great article written in the Times today titled Taking Marriage Private. It discusses the history of marriage -- how its definition went from being loosely defined (ie, anyone in a relationship that resembled a marriage was considered married) to being more tightly controlled by states and government (eg, certain states prohibited interracial marriages in the 1920s).

It's interesting to note that marriage "regulation" only came into play when people were doing things that others (or those in power) deemed "unacceptable". In the beginning, if you have Christians living together as a couple, then the church basically acknowledged the couple as being married. However, when it came to interracial marriages, then it was time to regulate who could get married to whom.

More currently relevant is the topic of marriage benefits, which is what most same-sex couples are fighting for. I thought this was an interesting quote from the article that illustrates the necessity in our society for a marriage license, which applies to both opposite-sex and same-sex unmarried couples:

A woman married to a man for just nine months gets Social Security survivor’s benefits when he dies. But a woman living for 19 years with a man to whom she isn’t married is left without government support, even if her presence helped him hold down a full-time job and pay Social Security taxes. A newly married wife or husband can take leave from work to care for a spouse, or sue for a partner’s wrongful death. But unmarried couples typically cannot, no matter how long they have pooled their resources and how faithfully they have kept their commitments.

Denying citizens the right to marry based on moral values as opposed to societal and/or economic reasoning just doesn't make sense. The whole point of marriage is to create social stability and a stronger family foundation. To deny people that opportunity is to weaken and devolve our society as a whole. Why is it that so many people in this country are inclined to take steps backwards rather than forward?


  • you should totally read a book called Public Vows by Nancy F. Cott. I have it if you'd like to borrow it.

    By Blogger A, at 11/26/2007 3:20 PM  

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