Wednesday, September 29, 2004

No sarcasm here

Wow! Who would have thought that a snarky, obnoxious post like this one would turn out to be my most popular post ever?

I want to deal with some issues that came up in the comments. First, an argument was made that this isn't really relevant to the same-sex marriage debate because I'm talking about legal inequities that have since been remedied. I would disagree.

Many of the arguments in favor of banning same-sex marriage are couched in terms of protecting the institution or tradition of marriage. My point is that you can't cherry-pick the parts of the tradition you like and ignore everything else. As several commenters pointed out, the idea of "civil death" for women (where a married woman essentially loses her individuality in civil and/or legal terms) is as much a part of the tradition of marriage as its limitation to opposite-gender partners.

The fact is that the institution of marriage that most opposite-gender couples enter today (in the West, anyway) is a radically different institution than it was was even 30 years ago. When we're talking about the tradition of marriage we cannot ignore the fact that for most of human history the institution of marriage has been patriarchal, oppressive, and profoundly unjust.

I'll agree that this doesn't necessarily suggest that same-sex marriage should be legal. Rather, this is a call to honesty in discussing the history of marriage. Several commenters had issues with my including marital rape in the list. As I pointed out in the comments, martial rape wasn't illegal in all 50 states until 1993. In 1976, it wasn't recognized as a criminal offense in even one. When we're talking about the tradition of marriage let's not use false, romantic visions of the past.

Thanks to the following blogs for sending hordes (for me, anyway) of traffic my way:

Alas, a Blog
Hugo Schwyzer
Maggi Dawn



Post a Comment

<< Home