entp2007: (ambassadors)
I just watched this narrated slideshow about forced marriages in Afghanistan. The photojournalist discussed how these women were immolating themselves to get out of bad marriages. Some of them survive. WARNING! Some of these pictures are graphic (NSFW).

So how does this help the institution of marriage? The traditional marriage between a man and a child bride. You might say, well, they are backwards and violent. The Mormon mindset which is not so far removed from these Afghans are the ones who funded Proposition 8. How many times have we seen in the news about a Mormon being arrested for having multiple wives? Some of these brides aren't even old enough to drive.

There is a reason why we have separation of church and state. Marriage is a religious concept that has devolved into a secular one. The state has no business defining marriage. It can and does recognize them, but it should recognize them for what they are, a committed economic partnership between two individuals, not as between a man and a women to be treated as chattel and whose sole purpose in life is to be a baby factory.
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So far the anti-gay marriage amendment seems to be winning in California. The religious morons and bigots are winning. For some unknown reason religious morons don't like being called MORONS, and bigots also for some equally unknown reason like being called BIGOTS. Over the years I've had to confront my own homophobia when I thought I had overcome it. Some friends of mine who are gay were getting married and I initially decided not to go. But I realized that they were friends of mine and that I was going to show my support for them even if I didn't agree with gay marriage at the time. I'm glad I went. The ceremony was very nice and everyone had a great time. The most amusing part was when they had to decide who would walk down the aisle first.

Overcoming my prejudices takes time and requires me to actively examine my beliefs. It's not easy and sometimes when I thought I wasn't being prejudiced I was. This isn't about being politically correct or being sensitive. It's about trying to be a human being and learning to live with others.

Strangely enough it was G. Gordon Liddy's definition of marriage that helped me. So what is marriage? We think the definition is obvious until you start defining it. I might as well ask what is a chair? Is it something made of wood, has four legs and a back that you can sit on? Couldn't you have a chair made of steel with three legs and no back? Yes. It could also be padded and no legs. Do you see where I'm going?

The traditional definition of marriage is a between a man and a woman. It's not a physical thing. It's a relationship. It's a commitment. In what tradition is this definition? Our Judaeo-Christian tradition. Might as well throw Muslim tradition in there as well. But when you start looking at the civilized world and marriage, you'll see that there are men with more than one wife. That's also pretty traditional. If you start looking at other cultures that have marriage, you'll see arranged marriages and child brides.

What is the purpose of marriage? I could give an answer to that, but I can see this journal entry should be much longer--in fact--I could probably write a whole book on the subject. I'd start with human evolution, our primate relatives, move on to human anthropology and history. There was a time when marriage didn't exist. It's definition has changed over time, but it all comes down to a special relationship between two individuals. It's social, personal, and legal.

We've been arguing over the legal definition of marriage. It's not a slippery slope. It doesn't mean if men can marry men or women can marry women that men will be marrying sheep, inflatable dolls, or rutabagas. Or that women will be marrying washing machines or their cat.

There is well worn argument that at one time it was illegal for blacks to marry whites in some states. So why not gays? As I said marriage is a special relationship between two individuals. It's a commitment to share their lives together. Another defining quality is that their is a perceived level of equality between partners. It should go without saying, but sex and reproduction play a big part of marriage. Or if I want to be polite, intimacy.

G. Gordon Liddy would say that his definition would not apply to same sex couples, but he said that two individuals marry each other. Short of threats of violence and death, no power on Earth can stop two people from marrying. A preacher, rabbi, or boat captain may preside over a marriage, the witnesses may recognize the marriage and it becomes a socially recognized marriage. No where in the U.S. Constitution does it explicitly mention marriage. It was considered a fundamental right and didn't need to be spelled out. Along with a lot of other rights.

The Mormons played a big role in helping to pass Prop. 8. Was it there way of saying, that since polygamy was taken away from them no one else can have a non-traditional marriage. So really the argument isn't over the personal marriage or social recognition of marriage. It is over the legal recognition of marriage.

I think gay marriage should be legally recognized. First and foremost they get the marriage tax penalty. They'd have to pay more, but heaven forbid they should be allowed to adopt children. Nothing prevents a marriage partner from fathering or bearing children. It happens all the time. Children are born of wedlock. Women get pregnant by men that are not their husbands. How is that not destroying marriages and families?

Now there is the issue of polyamory. Since my definition of marriage is between two individuals, could it not be between three or four? Say two heterosexual couples. Some couples are swingers and swap partners. I'll have to think about it. I mean if four adults say they are married to each other and live and share lives together there is nothing I can do or say to stop it. Regardless, the individuals involved should all be consenting adults and are committed to being partners. I'm uncomfortable with the idea that polyamory is marriage. I'd have to give it more thought, but for now I socially accept gay marriage.

There's so much more that needs to be clarified and expanded upon. I could go on about social and gender roles of marriage. I could go on about parenting, but since I don't have kids, I could on speak about it in general terms. Make no mistake California's Proposition 8 is grounded in religious bigotry. I could be nicer and say it's based on religious prejudice and ignorance, but I'm not the one trying to deny the rights of others.

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