Where are the destruction, the apocalypse, and violence rampant in the streets?
I have been waiting for these things to happen, since they have been foretold by opponents of same-sex marriage. Former Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore said this past weekend that same-sex marriage will cause our country to self-destruct because it destroys the foundation upon which this nation is based.
Funny that the argument continues to be how same-sex marriage is going to destroy the “institution” of marriage when the damage is already there. According to divorcestatistics.info, first marriages are ending at a rate of 41-50 percent per year and second marriages are ending in the 60 percent range. This trend is increasing.
What makes me crazy is that naysayers of marriage equality say that allowing for same-sex marriages will change the implications of marriage. Let’s take a look at that. Historically, marriage has been about property, more specifically, that men can claim women as their property. Women were bartered into marriages that allowed their family to: (1) increase social status, (2) maintain their status, or (3) allow families to rid themselves of females that they could not take care of financially, or (4) even better allow families to sell their daughters off into marriage arrangements. It seems to me that women have gotten the short end of the marriage stick.
When Michelle Bachmann and Sarah Palin comment that we need to get marriage back to the times of the original constitution, I say “fine.” Then we can keep you barefoot and pregnant, and your voice would only be heard through your husband’s mouth.
Still there’s a little known story of Roman soldiers who were given a commitment ceremony – a marriage of sorts – by the Catholic Church. Some historians believe that Sergius and Bacchus, the aforementioned soldiers, were in a committed relationship and that their relationship was sanctioned by the church. Granted, nowadays the church wouldn’t even admit to that snippet of history, but it does undercut the argument that traditional marriage is a religious-based institution.
Romantic love wasn’t even considered a viable option in marriage until the industrial revolution, when women were able to work and make their own money, thereby negating the need for a man to take care of them. Consider this: one of the greatest love stories of all time, Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet,” was a source of controversy because the marriage was one resulting from love, not arrangement. Even then, marriage started to change from its previous ideals.
Ultimately, we have to recognize that marriage has changed considerably throughout history. One must look at how the definition of marriage has changed, both legally and, now, socially. A short few decades ago, mixed race marriages were illegal. From a social standpoint, there is a Gallup poll that shows increasing support for same-sex marriage by 53 percent.
It is through the collectively narrow lens of marriage that we see that ideology keeps us from moving forward toward a common respect for the love that is associated with marriage and keeps us at a point of contention that denies certain people from experiencing that joy.
Those six states and many countries now recognize same-sex marriages, yet there has been no apocalypse. Things are changing and rampant violence in the streets hasn’t occurred.
Isn’t it time that we recognize the Declaration of Independence’s claim that all men – read: people—are created equal? Let’s face it, times have changed. The face of the American family has changed considerably in the last 60 years. That face should now include same-sex couples in the collective portrait of the American family.
All love – true love—is created equal, but to say that love is a perversion thereby perverts love.