Wednesday, March 27, 2013

"The Purpose Of Marriage"

Did they get married for the tax deduction?
Websters Dictionary defines Marriage: The state of being united to a person of the opposite sex as husband or wife in a consensual and contractual relationship recognized by law (2) : the state of being united to a person of the same sex in a relationship like that of a traditional marriage.
The Supreme Court, will have to decide who exactly is allowed to be married.  Many questions  from the bench on Tuesday focused on whether the central purpose of marriage is procreation. According to
Legal counsel, Charles Cooper, who is arguing that "the inability of same-sex couples to have children together meant that to allow them to wed would change the historic definition of marriage." 
 Thank God for Sonia Sotomayor, " pressed Cooper on whether his argument meant that sterile heterosexual couples should not be permitted to wed because they cannot have children."  That was my first thought. My other thought was that the definition  of marriage, historically may be different than what Charles Cooper Esq. seems to think. Marriage, before 1545* was a private matter until, the almighty church got involved. Before that you didn't even have to get married with a priest or witnesses present. All you had to say was " I will marry you" That was it. Seems simple. 
What I think is interesting is that no one, let alone the Supreme Court, questions that marriage is a sexist institution and wives are the unpaid labor of this religious, therefore, patriarchical construct. Historically, marriages were arranged as a means of brokering lands and finances. There are many parts of the world where wives are treated no better than slaves and women are trafficked as a business deal, no matter what they might want, and are sacrificed at the alter of marriage. So, what is really going on here, is that if a man can marry a man, a woman can marry a woman, then there is an equality that didn't formerly exist, in terms of gender. 
Marriage is work and women are the ones who do the (unpaid) work in a marriage, all the guy has to do is show up. This has been true for centuries and is still true today. I would like to think that a Supreme court decision in favor of gay marriage would be a good thing for everyone, but I am not naive enough to think it would stop the comodification of women. Marriage has been marketed in this culture as something every couple should aspire to. Culturally, marriage between two different genders was constructed as a form of property exchange also profit for them both and of course, control of ladyparts.
 Economically, "hundreds and hundreds of federal benefits are on the line" 
Which begs the question as to why married couples get benefits? Why is there preferential treatment for married people? What kind of equality is that? But I digress. 
The "purpose" of marriage as exclusively heterosexual is not based on procreation, it's based on the prohibition of all sex outside of marriage, premarital or extramarital. 
 It seems like there are a lot of "purposes" for marriage.That's not a real issue. The Constitutionality of all men being created equal, then gay men and women have just as much right to marry than anyone else, get over it. 
*Marriage - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia 
 12-144.exe - 12-144a.pdf  Supreme Court Prop 8


  1. Are you SURE that men contribute nothing to a marriage, other than to "show up"?

    1. Kevin,
      Exactly! Dad worked long, hard, hours on a assembly line in a hot ass factory to see Mom and us were taken care of. Yes, we lived poor. And, I didn' know why until after Dad died - He was putting money back for us. Mom is worth a third of a million.
      Dad did a lot more for us than just "Show Up".
      You know, we bitterly disagreed over politics until Bush invaded Iraq?


  2. I see I hit a nerve. The most interesting thing to me about this is the certainty that millions of women are primarily responsible for running a household and taking care of children. This is unpaid labor. Women lose out financially. Both of you may have done more and witnessed more than a man just showing up. But I assure you there is an epidemic of households run by single women where the man is no where to be found, let alone show up.
    Sarge, I am sure your mother is worth a third of a million, however, she did not receive a dime for her labor, washing, cooking and cleaning. The issue of marriage as a patriarchical construct, with women being bartered for whatever reason and many times to work in an uncompensated manner, is rarely addressed outside of feminist studies or literature. Women are trafficked in this country, i.e. The Joy Book, or Romney's "binders full of women" is a pretty good example. So the umbrage taken at men just having to "show up" is an issue. But the fact that women still are taken advantage of as unpaid labor or as property is acceptable?

  3. One thing that always gets me is that the norm for marriage presented in the Bible is polygamy, and polygamy is one of the "evils" brought up by anti-marriage equality forces as on the slippery slope that same-sex marriage would result in. Of course, polygamy typically involves coercion, which is why I am against it, but conservatives generally have trouble with the concept of consent.

  4. Do husbands get paid for yard work, auto repairs, handy-man home repairs, child care, house-hold chores, etc? Who are you suggesting should do the paying?

  5. If you believe what the Bible says about King Solomon, then marriage can be the simultaneous union of one man and up to 1,000 women.

    Well, we're not going to let that happen in this society. Nor will more than the top one percent be able to afford it. But it demonstrates that in truth, marriage is whatever the hell people in power say it is. So let's finish this discussion about marriage today and its antecedents, and get on to something more cheerful. Do you think there are going to be any more mass murders this year?

    Very crankily yours,
    The New York Crank