Saturday, August 14, 2010

Tempora Mutantur, et Matrimonia mutamur in illis.

Perry v. Schwarzenegger, predictably, is bringing out all the silly slogans again. A thread at Uncle's is just one example of the infestation:

Gays can live together and make legal arrangements for such, but why must they insist on hi-jacking “marriage”, the definition of which has always been the union of one man and one woman?


Okay, let's lay aside the fact that we're supposed to have learned something about separate but equal treatment in the recent past. One thing at a time.

The bitching about the gays redefinin' marriage requires a spectacularly shortsighted view of history to sustain. For very long stretches of history in very many places, marriage meant (and still means) an arrangement between a man and one or more women’s families to confer inheritance benefits on his offspring with those women, while he was free to have sex with and cohabitate with more women and men so long as no resulting children got the estate.

Even for the first century of our republic, marriage meant a union between a man and a woman of the same race, in which the woman forfeited her independent legal rights to her husband’s household. Redefining marriage to extend equal protection to previously disenfranchised Americans is a long standing–and proper–trend in the United States.

Some people may think extending that protection to gay Americans is improper, but lets not pretend that marriage was an changeless, inviolable pillar of civilization before tey gays came along to redefine it. Like all human institutions, as the times have changed, it’s changed with them.

1 comment:

  1. The "marriage" that the government recognizes is, essentially, the ability to choose a designated next-of-kin along with certain property rights and powers of attorney, all tied up with a box on it.

    We allow atheistic, previously divorced, sterile people to get married, and I'm pretty sure even if they never do the tab a slot b thing (or if their definitions of tab a and slot b differ from Ms. Grundy's). Once that cat got out of the bag, I can't see the governmental interest in allowing Alice and Bob to get married, but not Charlie and Daniel or Eve and Frances.