Monday, November 03, 2008

Traditional Marriage Perverts the Tradition of Marriage

A brilliant playwright (and close personal friend of mine) recently sent this editorial out regarding Prop 8. I thought I'd share.

Traditional Marriage Perverts the Tradition of Marriage
by Jeff Goode (Californian)

About a decade ago, as a young playwright, I was hired to write a script for the Renaissance Festival of Kansas City. It was a period piece about knights and jousts and intrigues of the court, building up to a lavish royal wedding between a prince and a princess, restoring peace to the troubled land.

This was one of my first professional writing assignments, so I was really excited about doing all the research and making sure that everything was historically accurate, especially the royal wedding which needed to follow all the traditions exactly.

Over a summer of research, I learned a lot of surprising facts about the history of marriage and weddings, but by far the most shocking discovery of all was that the tradition of marriage-as-we-know-it simply did not exist in those days. Almost everything we have come to associate with marriage and weddings -- the white dress, the holy vows, the fancy cake and the birdseed -- dates back a mere 50 or 100 years at the most. In many cases less.

And the handful of traditions that do go back farther than that are, frankly, horrifying. The tossing of the garter, for example, evolved from a 14th Century tradition of ripping the clothing off of the bride's body as she left the ceremony in order to "loosen her up" for the wedding night. Wedding guests fought over the choicest bits of undergarment, with the garter being the greatest prize.

Savvy brides got in the habit of carrying extra garters in their bodice to throw to the male guests in hopes of escaping the ceremony with some shred of modesty intact!

It turns out that marriage, in days of old, was a barbaric custom which was little more than a crude exchange of livestock at its most civilized, and a little less than ritualized abduction at its worst. That's why you'll find no reference to white weddings in the Bible, or the union of one man and one woman. Because up until fairly recently, there was nothing religious about it.

You will of course find plenty of biblical bigamy, practiced by even the most godly of heroes-- Noah, Abraham, David, Solomon -- because that's what marriage was in those days. Even in more enlightened New Testament times, the only wedding worth mentioning (the one at Cana) is notable only for the miraculous amount of wine consumed.

In the 21st Century, we've heard a lot about the sanctity of marriage, as if that were something that has been around forever, but in reality the phrase was invented in 2004. Google it for yourself and see if you can find a single reference to the "sanctity of marriage" before the Massachusetts Supreme Court legalized same-sex unions in that state. The proverbial Sanctity of Marriage sprang into being because opponents of gay marriage needed a logical reason to overturn an established legal precedent. And the only thing that trumps the Constitution is God himself.

Unfortunately, God is still pretty new to the whole marriage game (or he might have made an honest woman out of the Virgin Mary, am I right? Try the veal!)

The truth is that marriage has always been more a secular tradition rather than a religious one. Up until the early Renaissance, in fact, couples were traditionally married on the church's front doorstep, because wedding ceremonies were considered too vulgar to be performed inside the building: After all, there was implied sex in the vows and shameless public displays of affection. No clergyman in his right mind would have allowed such an unholy abomination on the premises.

But as times changed, ideas and attitudes about marriage also changed. So when people became religious, matrimony became holy. When people became nudists, clothing became optional. And so on throughout history.

And the wonderful thing about the institution of marriage -- the reason it has remained strong and relevant through thousands of years of ever-changing times -- is its unique ability to change with those times.

Marriage is, and always has been, a constantly evolving tradition that never fails to incorporate the latest shifts in culture and climate, changing social habits, fashions and even fads. (Because, seriously, that chicken dance is not in the Bible.)

Thus, in the 1800s when the sole purpose of marriage was procreation and housekeeping, marriage between an older man and a hard-working tween girl was considered perfectly normal. Today we call it pedophilia.

For thousands of years marriage was essentially a business transaction between the parents of the bride and groom. But in the last century or so, we've finally seen the triumph of this new-fangled notion that marriage should be about a loving relationship between two consenting adults.

Followers of the Mormon faith can tell you that the traditions of their forefathers included a devout belief that polygamy was appropriate and sanctified. But modern Mormons generally don't support that vision of happiness for their daughters.

And during the Civil Rights era, when opponents of interracial marriage tried to pass laws making such couples illegal, we came to realize that they, too, were wrong in trying to redefine marriage to prevent those newfound relationships.

Always marriage has triumphed by becoming a timely celebration of our society, rather than a backlash against it. It's strange, then, to see "tradition" used as a weapon against change, when change is the source of all its greatest traditions.


Just ask the white dress: In 1840, Queen Victoria of England married Prince Albert wearing a beautiful white lace dress -- in defiance of tradition -- in order to promote the sale of English lace! The image was so powerful that practically overnight the white wedding gown became de rigueur for the well-heeled bride. And then it became de rigueur for every bride.

By the dawn of the 20th Century, the white dress had also inexplicably come to symbolize chastity. (Even though blue was traditionally the color of virginity --"something borrowed, something blue...")

And the new equation of white with virginity eventually achieved such a rigid orthodoxy that older readers may remember a time when wedding guests who happened to know that the bride was not perfectly pure would have felt a moral obligation to demand that she change into something off-white before walking down the aisle.

Fortunately, as cultural norms eased during the Sexual Revolution, a sort of "don't ask, don't tell" policy took hold where all brides were required to wear white regardless of their virtue and the less said about it the better.

In recent years, as a generation of divorcees have remarried and a generation of young people have entered wedlock with some degree of "experience", the pretense of a connection between literal virginity and the bridal gown has become entirely obsolete. A colorful journey for a custom which has always seemed iron clad, even as it was evolving over time.

And not all traditions have to do with changing sexual standards. The long-time custom of pelting the newlyweds with birdseed did not exist before the 1970s when animal-lovers realized that songbirds were bloating on dried rice that they found on the ground after the former custom.

Economic times have caused families to rethink the age-old convention of the bride's father paying for the entire ceremony -- a last vestige of the days of dowries when a young man had to be bribed to take a free-loading daughter off her parents' hands -- that well-established custom has gradually given way to a more humane approach to sharing the financial burden.

Even religious traditions of marriage have experienced constant metamorphosis over the years. As more interfaith couples have wed, we have seen the emergence of multi-disciplinary ceremonies where couples have chosen not to follow the out-dated tradition of rejecting one or both of their faiths as a prerequisite of holy matrimony.

One of the most beautiful weddings I ever attended was between a young Jewish fellow and his Catholic fiancé, whose mother was born in France. The ceremony was performed by both a rabbi and a priest with intertwining vows in English, Latin, Hebrew and French. A perfect expression of the union of their two families, yet one which would have been unthinkable just a generation before.

But, again, marriage has such a long history of changing with the ever-changing times, that the last thing we should expect from it is to stop growing and changing. We know today that marriage is not a rote ritual handed down by God to Adam & Eve and preserved verbatim for thousands of years. It is, rather, an expression of how each community, each culture, and each faith, chooses to celebrate the joining of loved ones who have decided to make a life together.

Christians do not expect Jesus to be central to a Buddhist wedding, nor do Jews refuse to acknowledge Lutheran unions because they didn't include a reading from the Torah. Marriage is what we each make of it. And that's the way it always should be.

Perhaps the greatest irony of the traditional marriage argument is that it seeks to preserve a singular tradition that has, in fact, never existed at any point in history.

Because, honestly, which traditional definition of marriage do we want our Constitution to protect?

...The one from Book of Genesis when family values meant multiple wives and concubines?
...Or the marriages of the Middle Ages when women were traded like cattle and weddings were too bawdy for church?
...Since this is America, should we preserve marriage as it existed in 1776 when arranged marriages were still commonplace?
...Or the traditions of 1850 when California became a state and marriage was customarily between one man and one woman-or-girl of age 11 and up?
...Or are we really seeking to protect a more modern vision of traditional marriage, say from the 1950s when it was illegal for whites to wed blacks or Hispanics?
...Or the traditional marriage of the late 1960s when couples were routinely excommunicated for marrying outside their faith?

No, the truth of the matter is, that we're trying to preserve traditional marriage the way it "was and always has been" during a very narrow period in the late 70s / early 80s - just before most of us found out that gays even existed: Between one man and one woman of legal age and willing consent. Regardless of race or religion (within reason). Plus the chicken dance and the birdseed. Those are okay.

But there's something profoundly disturbing about amending the Constitution to define anything about the 1970s as "the way God intended it."

214 Comments:

Blogger `Lex said...

Awesome article. My wife was sent it from a group she's on, and sent it to me, and I posted it to my LJ during a discussion on marriages. Thanks for writing it!

3:46 PM  
Blogger Frank said...

What a great article. This is great information to have for the next time someone tries the "Sanctity of Marriage Debate" with me. Thanks for writing it!

3:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

From this article and from all that I know, the term marriage has always been (1) A bonding of people of opposite sex---with very rare, remote examples of it being something else. It has been a (2) bonding of the greater and the lesser---in varying degrees depending on the social structure and the time period. It has also evolved to where, (3) in the United States it fails 50% of the time.

As we come together to set up our legal unions of two people of the same sex, I personally don't want to be attached to "marriage" for the reasons listed above. I want to begin a new tradition that includes ALL legal rights and responsibilities given by the state to legally bonded couples. Some say that these rights and responsibilities are given to male/female couples to support parenthood or the potential parenthood and thus the furthering of the social state. There are many gay parents. If the state benefits are for parents or potential parents, then they should be given to all people.

Finally. I am a Queer man involved with a partner for almost ten years. Marriage, thanks, but no thanks. We can create our own intention and tradition.

4:05 PM  
Blogger PFL0W said...

Yes, very well written. thank you.

But the fact is, what you know and show here and the little bit of history that people actually know are exactly what causes our problems. Rush Limbaugh, Phyllis Schlafly and virtually every man and woman on the street know very little of our social and societal history so they assume that what is now is both right and age-old, hence the problems.

12:28 PM  
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3:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for this article. I know you wrote in support of gay marriage, and I'm glad you did. But I'm going to keep it with me as I plan my wedding this year. It will be a reminder that I am creating my own celebration and not the one that society pressures us into.

9:52 AM  
Blogger Liz Czukas said...

Wonderfully put! I'm going to spread this piece around.

9:15 PM  
Blogger MJ Heiser said...

Like Ms. Czukas, I've just become your pimp. Thank you so much for a well-researched, calmly-delivered blog. I personally believe that marriage is a tradition of the religion to whom you belong, and I'm committed more to the vision of equal opportunity civil unions, and the legal obligation of the State to endorse the civil rights of all citizens. If you want a marriage, find a faith that will marry you; in the meantime, the State has no right to make these moral judgments.

5:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This article dates from 2008 vut a great read.

www.jeffgoode.com

5:17 AM  
OpenID aardvarkian.com said...

Thank you for your common sense approach. I know one or two people who need to read this.

5:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The original article from November 2008

http://www.jeffgoode.com/politicalsatire/traditionalmarriage.htm

5:20 AM  
Blogger Diana Lee said...

This is a wonderful article. Thank you for doing such thorough research and illustrating just how ridiculous the idea of traditional marriage is.

9:10 AM  
OpenID roogirlie said...

Beautifully written!

10:21 AM  
Anonymous Claire McMahon said...

Thanks for all this information! I am studying it all now to use for later!

Claire

11:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yet in all of those customs and times and changes one thing has remained constant. Marriage is between a man and woman.

1:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is a really interesting read, but pretty irrelevant to the gay marriage debate. A huge proportion of the article concerns wedding ceremonies, not the institution of marriage. Nobody's debating ceremonies. One of the final paragraphs is a good example of how the article doesn't really make the point the author is trying to make.

He says: "Perhaps the greatest irony of the traditional marriage argument is that it seeks to preserve a singular tradition that has, in fact, never existed at any point in history." That's not true. The "singular tradition" of marriage being a union between a man and a woman is outlined in great detail throughout the article. Sure, he talks about different ages, different races, different faiths, even different numbers of wives, but every single example he gives involves marriage between a man and a woman. That's the traditional marriage argument, and although I'm sure he didn't intend to, the author supports that argument well.

This article is very well researched and certainly interesting. But it doesn't offer any support for gay marriage.

1:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

OK, so I'm pretty sure an 11 year old girl is NOT a woman. Not yet anyway. So, so much for that being the common thread. Also, women in plural is a bit dicey too. What about intersexed people? Should they stay single?

For those of you missing the point and trying to shoot holes in this argument, you should probably reread it.

The overarching argument is that the concept of what a marriage means gets adapted to suit the religion and society over time. We don't have one religion. We don't have one belief. You can value your beliefs -- whatever they may be -- more than others, but don't be shocked if people disagree.

The pigheadedness of "I am going to control the actions of another based on what I think is true" has got to stop in our society. The bottom line is, it doesn't affect you.

Much like the gay guy who says he doesn't want to get married. Whatever makes you happy buddy. But as a resident of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, I'm sure as hell going to exercise my right to marry the man that I love. And I don't need anyone, gay, straight, christian, jew, muslim, buddhist or what have you to tell me that they approve or legislate my morality for me.

If life worked that way, I would push for people to have a minimum level of education before they reproduced. Now that would be something I'd push for if I was so brazen, but what right do I have? None.

1:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

is the idea of Sanctity of Marriage - tied to the Roman Catholic church calling marriage a Sacrament? -- That seems to me to be the core of it

1:59 PM  
Blogger The Thunder Child said...

Since for most of these thousands of years homosexuality was illegal and one was either executed or jailed because of it, not srprising that marriage was always between a man and a woman/girl.

Author makes a lot of sense.

5:03 PM  
Anonymous Amused Citizen said...

Thunder Child is nearly correct, though not entirely.

For a very long time, marriage was about reproduction, having strong babies and making allies of families. In the time when the Romans and Greeks were prominent military states, it was very common for a man to have homosexual relations with other men. After all, there were no women around. They didn't marry them, because at the end of the day, they couldn't produce children.

In the Middle Ages marriage was often used to solidify an alliance between two houses. If you wanted someone's support in a war, you married their daughter. Wars were won because men and women got married.

Marriage has only been about love, versus financial security, for MAYBE 50 years. Now that we have people adopting, and artificial insemination, why not allow the union to be open to all people? There are plenty of married couples who never have children, and plenty of gay couples who give orphaned children homes. If it's not about procreation anymore, why does it have to be between only a man and a woman?

6:14 PM  
Anonymous Amused Citizen said...

To amend that last statement, I meant there were no women around when the Greeks and Romans were off at war.

6:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Um...has the author of this piece even read the Bible? The very first book refers to MAN and WOMAN becoming one.....

6:29 PM  
Blogger Mylynka said...

A++ Love it!

6:31 PM  
Blogger toujoursdan said...

Anonymous misses the point.

Once society allowed people to make their own choices about who to marry (provided the individuals have the legal capacity to enter into a contract with another non-relative), arguments against gay marriage became pretty unsustainable. Either you are capable of making your own decisions or you're not. If not, we should go back to the old system where your parents do it for you to cement family alliances and disobedience to their wishes was a death penalty offence (Deut 21:18-20).

9:02 PM  
Blogger toujoursdan said...

Um...has the author of this piece even read the Bible? The very first book refers to MAN and WOMAN becoming one..

That book doesn't mention marriage, it mentions procreation. You don't have to intend to procreate to get married in any state or country.

9:10 PM  
Blogger Nonsanity said...

In regard to comments that the author failed to support same-sex marriage because all examples given were of opposite-sex marriages...

The point as presented is that customs change, in ALL ways. To expect them to remain fixed for all time is probably in error.

But there ARE examples of same-sex marriages, even supported and performed by the Christian authorities. (I don't yet have examples from other religions - Though I count the probability as high that there are.)

I'd read this article before, and had to go searching. This is a reprint: http://www.jinxiboo.com/blog/2009/5/3/when-same-sex-marriage-was-a-christian-rite.html

I quote:
"Contrary to myth, Christianity's concept of marriage has not been set in stone since the days of Christ, but has constantly evolved as a concept and ritual.

Prof. John Boswell, the late Chairman of Yale University’s history department, discovered that in addition to heterosexual marriage ceremonies in ancient Christian church liturgical documents, there were also ceremonies called the 'Office of Same-Sex Union' (10th and 11th century), and the 'Order for Uniting Two Men' (11th and 12th century)."

10:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think this person needs to go back and reread the Bible. Mark 10:6-9 talks about marriage being between 1 man and 1 woman. In Genesis 19 it talks about men being with men as wrong. The Lord would not have destroyed a whole town if he didn't entend for men not to be with same sex and same with woman being with same sex. The Lord says no man is to lie with another man..that does not mean just for now but that will change. God created marage to be holy and between one Man and one Woman and it was and still is ment to be Sanctifyed. Marriage is and always will be Holy according to the word of God.

10:20 PM  
Anonymous Franklin Smith Jr. said...

The only thing this article tells me is that the human race has been perverted for thousands of years. Man has never been perfect. Marriage has never been perfect because of man. The 21st Century has only ushered in more perversion. So, yes traditional marriage is perverted; and more perversion won't make it anymore perverted. I will not discuss the little biblical references eluded to because that would only be casting pearls before swine.

2:10 AM  
Blogger Fernando Gouveia said...

Before suggesting other people to google for something, google yourself...

Chauncey Giles wrote a book in 1896 titled "The Sanctity of Marriage"; you can find it on Google and on Amazon. There may be older examples, I didn't look for it.

That doesn't mean I agree with the sanctity of marriage — or the sanctity of anything (taken in the literal, religious sense of the word). I don't.

Just don't say something is recent to make your point. First, sometimes you're wrong. Second, it's irrelevant: ideas are good or bad (right or wrong?...) independently of their age (either way).

4:56 AM  
Anonymous Chris said...

Nice article, but in your obviously quick trip through the Bible you apparently missed anything Jesus said about marriage and everything the Bible says about homosexuality. Why do Christians oppose gay marriage, because from what Jesus said, marriage is to be between one man and one woman as it was in the beginning. Adam and Eve, not Adam, Eve and Cindy, and not Adam and Steve.

1:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That is true, but unless separation of church and state was just a hoax and I've misunderstood the constitution or our interpretation of it from the courts, our governments (state or federal) have no right or standing to put limitations on marriage based on a religious view of the matter.

I remember a time not all that long ago when the bulk of people in this country were against interracial marriage as well, so please don't spout off about how the people's beliefs should have any bearing or standing in something as important as this issue. The American people have proven in the past their prejudices (religious or otherwise) will cloud their judgement; this isn't the first issue, and sadly it won't be the last.

Unless someone can come up with a non-religious, valid reason why a marriage (in fact a civil union that proffers rights or privileges from the state to the married couple as an entity, that unmarried people are not privy to) *must* be between one man and one woman, I see no valid reason why a marriage between two men or a marriage between two women should be disallowed by secular law.

2:35 PM  
Anonymous Keltin Alexander said...

Well written and very informative article, thank you for sharing. For those who are enjoy quoting bible scripture regarding marriage etc, please think about this:

In the bible, it supports the keeping of slaves, putting women out of the city and having no contact with them while they are menstruating, and the view of women as property - and the man as the ruler of the household. Also, if you did not keep the sabbath, you were put to death. In this day and age, we have put off many of these beliefs: outlawing slavery, accepting that women have a position in the world, and even allowing christians to worship on sunday vs the biblical sabbath of Saturday.

Why is it that you will gladly hardline a reference from the bible, yet have no problem with references to things that society has deemed irrelevant? Make up your mind please.

Also, more food for thought. According to the bible, when jesus returns, the church will become his bride. Okay.. hang on. The church is made up of men and women alike... men are now becoming the bride of jesus -- yet nobody says anything. Could this be because there is no expectation of procreation from that union?

2:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

seriously - if people really understood the bible that they are quoting they would realize that the word homosexual never appeared in it (unless somebody has come up with yet another rewrite), second not everything in the bible is what Jesus or God said to be so - simply put, it was the interpretation of those writing the book, third, many of the thing in the bible, even the words themselves, do not have the same meaning today that they did when the book was written. And last but not least - the bible has no place in the marriage argument anyway. Legal marriage is a government process, and simply put, our government has no right to impose any religious beliefs on the people.

2:42 PM  
Blogger Melonhead said...

Or, the idea of marriage from the standpoint of an elementary school child: two classmates swinging in tandem on the playground. ;)

3:49 PM  
Blogger Jude said...

This is a timeless posting. Thank you for writing it. You've shared a lot of things I didn't know about the (short) history of marriage.

And for those who are picking and choosing from the scriptures, well, I hope you're not eating any shell fish or playing any football.

5:18 PM  
Blogger beche-la-mer said...

Thanks for putting my thoughts into words. I think the only thing you left out is that much of the basis of marriage is and has always been an economic transaction. In the last 40 years, since women have gained a certain amount of economic autonomy, we've had to come up with other "reasons" for marriage; hence the emphasis on love and romance, and formality.

Yesterday my (heterosexual) partner and I celebrated 20 years together. We have chosen not to marry. Most of our newer friends and our children's friends just assume that we are married, because our relationship is just like a marriage but without a piece of paper.

5:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The notion that 2 dudes bopping each other in the ass should be treated as equivalent to man/woman marriage in the eyes of society is nuts.

5:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Guys bopping other guys in the ass -- how is that any different than guys who bop chicks in the ass? It's still bopping in the ass. Sorry, can't hold ass bopping against them. :p

6:21 PM  
Anonymous kandy said...

In Genesis 18 (the first book of the Bible) God destroyed the two cities of Sodom and Gomorrah BECAUSE of their extreme sinfulness and homosexuality. It is PLAINLY written. When God speaks to us (through the Bible) it is to instruct us in the way we should live our lives so that we would have a good and joyful life, not to unnecessarily restrict us or to lead us to despair. It is His great wisdom that directs every word of the Bible as it is written, read and understood through the Holy Spirit. All this other talk is from the great deceiver intended to lure you away from His truth and light. To take up another man's teaching, or in this case article, as some new found wisdom without considering if any of it is in contradiction to His Holy Word, is the height of foolishness. All of mankind must ALWAYS "test the spirits" that is, test all you see, hear or feel through the eyes of God and the only way we have to do that, is to really know His Word and apply it to every situation. If you are having trouble understanding something in the Bible, ASK an ordained pastor or priest, or regarding some things, a Rabbi. I personally would consult a Lutheran pastor or a Catholic priest, though there are many very enlightened men of God out there in churches all over this great country of ours. But don’t form your opinions or adopt a belief based on anything less than God’s own Word, the Bible. As was pointed out, the traditions of man (human kind) will always stumble it’s way through time, never really staying true to any great ideal because man is sinful and has not the strength nor wisdom to attain perfection on his own, but the Word of God and God’s intention for us His creation, is perfect and will never change, as God is perfection and God changes not. In a time where anyone can click their way through one blog or post after another filled with misleading words, taking the time to truly invest yourself in READING the Holy Bible and prayerfully asking God to open your eyes to His word and your heart to His will seems like too much to do. Because you all want instant knowledge and easy answers, especially ones that let you do what ever you want to do without feeling guilty or ashamed, you find yourselves gravitating towards opinions and views that are in direct conflict with God word and His will. But God has included in His creation of man, a conscience that is intended for His word to reach your mind and touch your heart. Your conscience, if not overwritten with corruption, is what tells you if you are just taking the easy way out or are you truly seeking God’s divine direction. Pray for enlightenment, read God’s word, and humble yourself to God’s will. Everything you need to know is right there in God’s word. He knew these days would come, as He knows every hair on your head, and He gave you all the answers and directions you need to live a happy and righteous life. Quit following the trends and fantasies of your imperfect neighbors, politicians and pop stars and “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and all shall be given to you” That includes all you need to know about love, marriage and childrearing! God Bless your journey.

7:59 PM  
Anonymous kandy said...

In Genesis 18 (the first book of the Bible) God destroyed the two cities of Sodom and Gomorrah BECAUSE of their extreme sinfulness and homosexuality. It is PLAINLY written. When God speaks to us (through the Bible) it is to instruct us in the way we should live our lives so that we would have a good and joyful life, not to unnecessarily restrict us or to lead us to despair. It is His great wisdom that directs every word of the Bible as it is written, read and understood through the Holy Spirit. All this other talk is from the great deceiver intended to lure you away from His truth and light. To take up another man's teaching, or in this case article, as some new found wisdom without considering if any of it is in contradiction to His Holy Word, is the height of foolishness. All of mankind must ALWAYS "test the spirits" that is, test all you see, hear or feel through the eyes of God and the only way we have to do that, is to really know His Word and apply it to every situation. If you are having trouble understanding something in the Bible, ASK an ordained pastor or priest, or regarding some things, a Rabbi. I personally would consult a Lutheran pastor or a Catholic priest, though there are many very enlightened men of God out there in churches all over this great country of ours. But don’t form your opinions or adopt a belief based on anything less than God’s own Word, the Bible. As was pointed out, the traditions of man (human kind) will always stumble it’s way through time, never really staying true to any great ideal because man is sinful and has not the strength nor wisdom to attain perfection on his own, but the Word of God and God’s intention for us His creation, is perfect and will never change, as God is perfection and God changes not. In a time where anyone can click their way through one blog or post after another filled with misleading words, taking the time to truly invest yourself in READING the Holy Bible and prayerfully asking God to open your eyes to His word and your heart to His will seems like too much to do. Because you all want instant knowledge and easy answers, especially ones that let you do what ever you want to do without feeling guilty or ashamed, you find yourselves gravitating towards opinions and views that are in direct conflict with God word and His will. But God has included in His creation of man, a conscience that is intended for His word to reach your mind and touch your heart. Your conscience, if not overwritten with corruption, is what tells you if you are just taking the easy way out or are you truly seeking God’s divine direction. Pray for enlightenment, read God’s word, and humble yourself to God’s will. Everything you need to know is right there in God’s word. He knew these days would come, as He knows every hair on your head, and He gave you all the answers and directions you need to live a happy and righteous life. Quit following the trends and fantasies of your imperfect neighbors, politicians and pop stars and “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and all shall be given to you” That includes all you need to know about love, marriage and childrearing! God Bless your journey.

8:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry about the duplication there! But I do need to add, not all Lutheran Churches follow what the original Lutheran doctrine is, so I would only consult a Missouri synod Lutheran Pastor or one that is considered to be from a conservative synod. Yes, if you faithfully follow God's word you're considered a conservative Christian...other Christians have caved under the pressure to get butts in the pews so they have, in my opinion, under the guise of "outreach" allowed gays into the church as members… as well as other deviations from the original Lutheran doctrines. So from my standpoint, not all Lutheran churches are staying faithful to God's word so seek out those that do.
Remember, “Matt 7:13-14 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide [is] the gate, and broad [is] the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in there at: because strait [is] the gate, and narrow [is] the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” I know, it’s the King James Version but to me, over all, King James is beautifully written and captures the fine nuances of the original Greek and Hebrew languages which the Holy Bible is written in.

8:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow - consult a Luthern pastor or Catholic priest would certianly not be my first option for any authority on God or the bible. Studying the bible would be a good idea for you, actually you may want to go back and study the bible as originally printed since many things have been changed and reinterpreted multiple times. If you knew the bible you would understand why your statement on S & G is not correct. But that's beside the point. Besides the fact that the bible has contridictions because of the fact that it was written from the view point of multiple PEOPLE it is not PLAINLY written (not the passage you site nor the book as a whole). I personally prefe my direct relationship with God to the skewed viewpoints of the churches you mention. And back to an earlier point - in this discussion, it does not matter (the bible), since marriage in the form being spoken about here is a legal matter and the government in the USA (state or federal) can NOT impose religious beliefs on the people. So therefore the bible (absolute or not) does not come into play here.

9:11 PM  
Blogger Casey said...

I wholeheartedly agree with your point about how "tradition" is often just what the current (or older) generation wants it to be, just dating back to the customs they were raised with which might actually be relatively new.

I'm currently working on researching how a feminist might view weddings (feministwedding.com), and it sure is interesting to learn about how sexist these traditions are (white dress, handing off of woman, etc.). If we don't know history and rethink some of our "traditions", how can we improve as a society!

9:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

to Kandy, whose claim is that sodom and gomorrah were explicitly destroyed due to their homosexuality:
please familiarize yourself with the book you would force others to "live by." read this story from its beginning, where "omniscient" God must go down to the cities to find out if the cries of their sinfulness are true; through the part where Abraham (who is boffing both his sister and their maid,) bargains God down to but 10 righteous men to save the cities; on through the men of sodom being struck blind so they could not take the angels they'd rather "know" than Lot's daughters, and escaping to Zoar, Lot and his daughters left town (mom was salt by then) to live in the mountains where the girls got daddy drunk, date-raping him on consecutive nights, and getting knocked up.... What an awesome and moral story, and again, at no place is homosexuality defined as the reason God destroyed the cities.
learn. please.

11:46 PM  
Blogger msprimadonna67 said...

Beautifully said. (And very interesting discussion following!)

2:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Beautiful except I'd have changed the conclusion to stick to the argument that was established: "... we're trying to preserve traditional marriage the way it "was and always has been"; i.e. ever changing and ever evolving, emphasizing central themes authored in the 70's/early 80's that love between two consenting adults, regardless of traditional boundaries can intensely love one another enough and share their lives by any values they agree; shy of legal deterrents." The rest continues beautifully.

3:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Will you please post a bibliography?

4:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Blasphemy! The 70s were AWESOME!

5:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You made my day! Mom was Catholic, Dad Hindu, Excommunication soon followed. I now have a Hindu cousin married to a lovely Muslim bride and all is right in thier world. As far as I see it, if you are of sound mind, adult bodies had the 'engagemnt' trial run to see if you can stand each other long term. Plus are willing to put diffrences aside to team up against the world in the name of love, The far be it for ANYONE to come between you.

6:56 AM  
Blogger DJ Randall said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

8:35 AM  
Blogger DJ Randall said...

"marriage between an older man and a hard-working tween girl was considered perfectly normal. Today we call it pedophilia."

Incorrect. That is what MOST Americans think, but most Americans are ignorant. It's not paedophilia, a modern medical term contrived to describe an unchaste attraction to prepubescent children (according to the DSM-IV, a psychosexual perversion). We are so obsessed with classifying "abnormalities" in this country, and yet the casual people who use these terms don't even know what they mean. (Btw, I'm NOT pointing fingers at you, but simply criticizing our society as a whole because it fits with these popular misconceptions of marriage.)

8:54 AM  
Blogger wagelaborer said...

Great article, and I love the Christian's comments.

Maybe the easy acceptance of biblical city destruction by God is what makes American Christians so comfortable with US military destruction of cities and homes abroad today.

10:26 AM  
Blogger the garden harlot said...

in response to one of the many anonymous comments above, if god created marriage to be between a man and a woman, what does that say about those who are technically labeled as intersex ? does it mean that they are not quite man, not quite woman, and thus not allowed the opportunity of marriage ? is that fair ? is the person who is intersexed being punished for being different and not the cookie cutter way of the masses, in terms of their reproductive parts and what does or doesn't define them as sexually male or female ? how can their rights as human beings be respected in that case ?

never mind that the bible and religion are societal constructs. hm !

you can say someone wrote long ago in a book that marriage is meant for a man and woman. but what if a certain man feels no attraction to women, or if a certain woman feels no attraction to men ? what if they consider themselves asexual, or what if they just happen to be only seriously attracted to the same sex ? i'm sure if you were one of those people, you would understand and want to know what your options are. some views are more harmful to society than helpful, if they discourage people from doing what truly makes them happy, if whatever that is is not harmful to others. if a gay couple has children, or even if they don't, and they live either down the block from you or 50,000 miles away from you, how does that affect your life ? it doesn't. go live your life reasonably and respectably, and chances are, they will probably do the same. so taking offense to their chosen lifestyle is about as smart as them getting upset at you if you choose to label yourself heterosexual with a lifestyle tacked to the word marriage.

plus, marriage is a societal construct in the first place, so it's only going to hold as much value as you choose to believe is in it. i feel like a bit too much credit is being given to the construct, but if it's important to you to be married, go appreciate the created institution then, and let anyone else live their lives the way that works for them, even if it's differently than your chosen approach.

i really wonder what rights people think they have to judge others who want to live their lives the way that makes the most sense to them, if those ways do not do any physical or mental harm on anyone else ? when people care about each other, are good to each other, and want to live fulfilling lives, i don't think it matters what their sexual orientation is-- they are human beings who strive for happiness and a good life. if they think that should involve marriage, so be it. if not, it's only what society has painted it out to be anyway, so it's up to each person whether or not they want to cling to such inventions.

10:40 AM  
Blogger the garden harlot said...

also, i thought it'd only be right to reiterate that the author of the article did in fact back up his argument with points that validate it. he said what marriage is conceptually has been reshaping throughout the past so many centuries, so it's not a constant. it just continues to exist and change. it is constantly evolving, which means marriage between same sex individuals is just reinforcing that idea. so there's nothing to complain about-- he proved his point. write your own article about the bible if you really want to.

it's just that the topic has many other off-shooting issues attached to it, and those are the ones many of us have about in tangents. but the author agreed in the beginning of the article to prove his point, and he did. several people have made note of that, which i'm glad to see. don't blame the author for not upholding arguments beyond what he expressed that he intended to defend.

and that should also illustrate that the issues linked here, much like elsewhere in life, are not cut and dry or black and white. the issues surrounding us in society are complex and not necessarily going to be fixable with one answer for everyone. humanity is not one size fits all with values and beliefs, and if it were, it'd be oppressive because not everyone is going to be comfortable with what makes sense only for certain groups. we need options and rights to our own beliefs and values, again, assuming they don't harm others.

additionally, a friend pointed out to me that almost all of the comments bashing this article are from anonymous users. what a pattern to set and follow !

11:17 AM  
Anonymous Revenant said...

For those bible lovers out there -- before you start throwing stones at homosexuals, why don't you read 1 Cor. 6:9-11:

Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

By those standards, I'd say a good 95% of the world falls short, with a good number of christian churches and those that run them being among it.

11:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hmm, Really off the main point of this article, I'd like to point out that the change from throwing rice to throwing birdseed (or blowing bubbles) occurred in response to an urban myth. Birds normally eat grains, including rice. Birds dropping dead bloated from rice?? Never heard of it happening, certainly never saw it in my childhood when we still threw rice.

12:06 PM  
Blogger Victoria said...

Customs for getting a driver's license vary from culture to culture, country to country, and state-to-state here in the U.S. Customs on training, kind of license, age of driving, etc. all vary and have changed within the same culture. According to Mr. Goode's logic, this would invalidate the requirement to get a driver's license. We should just all drive, whether we are 10 or 100, deaf, blind, or slow in reaction time. But oh wait, that would be bad for society....
It is faulty logic to equate wedding customs with the institution of marriage. I did not get married in a white dress, have a garter ripped off me, or have birdseed or rice thrown at me, yet I am legally and truly married. I have in fact been married 30 years to my one and only husband, in sickness and in health, for better and for worse.
Mr. Goode mentions all the variable customs, but what stands out to me is that in spite of all that variability, marriage has been an enduring societal institution in ALL cultures and for all of recorded history. Why would highly diverse cultures all come up with the same idea? Because marriage was created so that children could be reared in the best possible environment. That's right, the institution of marriage is not about adult happiness, it's about raising fully-functioning members of the next generation of our society. Marriage has been seen as the public proclamation of a couple's readiness to take on that responsibility. Because of our current culture of "it's all about me", the ideas on marriage have come to reflect our narcissism and that is why marriages are failing at such an appalling rate.
However, throwing out the institution of marriage is just making life more difficult for our society's children. The solution is not throwing out marriage, as Mr. Goode advocates, but returning marriage to its rightful place in society.

1:04 PM  
Blogger Sandra said...

"That's right, the institution of marriage is not about adult happiness, it's about raising fully-functioning members of the next generation of our society."

And gay people can't do that... why?

I'm still waiting for someone to come up with a convincing argument that ISN'T based on the God / the Bible / religious beliefs, or for purposes of procreation. As others have said, if one is going to throw Bible quotes in opposition, one had better have a damned good reason why one does not own a slave or eats shellfish.

1:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Perhaps the greatest irony of the traditional marriage argument is that it seeks to preserve a singular tradition that has, in fact, never existed at any point in history."

Conservatives are out to re-write history, what makes you think they'd care about the fact that their traditions never existed at any point in time? The Nazis also espoused an ideal "Aryan utopia" that never existed in history, and that didn't stop them from murdering millions of Jews, Gypsies or Russians.

2:04 PM  
Blogger Wrenn said...

Oh, for heaven's sake.

The sin of Sodom and Gomorrah was NOT homosexuality. It was the sin of inhospitality.

This is what you get from using wikipedia as your source, I take it.

Language changes. The bible in english is a translation, and a translation of a translation, and as such it is interpreted by the society in which it is translated. Hence we get 'thou shall not suffer a witch to live' Which provided encouragement to the witch hunters of the Renaisance in the King James. When the original Hebrew of Exodus 22:18 (M'khashephah lo tichayyah) means "you will not keep 'M'kashephah' in life". 'M'kashephah means, most closely, one who works illness or causes barreness through spellcasting (and is a feminine form of the word) Paranoia about spellcasting was rampant throughout the cultures of the area at the time, not just in Israel, but in Babylon at the time. So it is causing ill through spellcasting that is not to be allowed, and it is not clear if the punishment is death, or simply casting out of the community.

Of course, you could also go and look at Samuel and what has been translated as the 'Witch of Endor' who is actually a force for good that King Saul consults to speak to the shade of the prophet Samuel.

There are many translations... differences that have come down through out the years. But the 'sin' of Sodom and Gomorrah was that the men wanted to 'know' the angels. and that depends on translation. The King James reiterates 'all the people' not JUST the men came to Lot's house. All is not 'men only'. "nshei ha'ir, anshei S'dom" = the people of the city, the people of Sodom.

Sorry, if you are planning a homosexual orgy, you don't invite your wife, your kids, your old men....

-- to 'know' them. "Ya,da". This word appears almost a thousand times in the bible in hebrew. It can mean sexual congress between a man and a woman, it can mean interrogation. It can also mean attack physically and perhaps kill them.

And, please, tell me why you would offer your daughters to men intent on homosexual rape? Would you think they'd be interested?

People need to study the origins of words and how their meanings change before they take a 1600 year old document, much of it based on far older texts and apply today's common language to it.

2:20 PM  
Blogger Wrenn said...

Oh, for heaven's sake.

The sin of Sodom and Gomorrah was NOT homosexuality. It was the sin of inhospitality.

This is what you get from using wikipedia as your source, I take it.

Language changes. The bible in english is a translation, and a translation of a translation, and as such it is interpreted by the society in which it is translated.

There are many translations... differences that have come down through out the years. But the 'sin' of Sodom and Gomorrah was that the men wanted to 'know' the angels, and how that is meant depends on translation. The King James states that the men of Sodom surrounded Lot's house, then it reiterates 'all the people' not JUST the men came to Lot's house. All is not 'men only'. "nshei ha'ir, anshei S'dom" = the people of the city, the people of Sodom.

Sorry, if you are planning a homosexual orgy, you don't invite your wife, your kids, your old men....

Then you have what they wanted to do-- to 'know' them. "Ya,da". This word appears almost a thousand times in the bible in hebrew. It can mean sexual congress between a man and a woman, it can mean interrogation. It can also mean attack physically and perhaps kill them.

And, please, tell me why you would offer your daughters to men intent on homosexual rape? Would you think they'd be interested?

People need to study the origins of words and how their meanings change before they take a 1600 year old document, much of it based on far older texts and apply today's common language to it.

2:23 PM  
Anonymous Jaysen said...

My wife will be interested in Victoria's statement. I'm wondering what we should do now that our marriage has no purpose, ne should I say invalid, since we were unable to have children.

Sorry Victoria, but your argument doesn't fly. Marriage should first and foremost be about LOVE, plain and simple.

2:43 PM  
OpenID gunslnger said...

It's always amazing how someone can do "lots of research" and still not understand the issue. The article has some useful information about wedding traditions but then tries to apply that to the concept of marriage as a whole, where the author is either woefully uninformed or deliberately missing the point. This is a logic failure.

And that's just the first error, among many. And a lot of the comments just add many more.

3:00 PM  
Anonymous mandy said...

In the end when each indivisual passes on it is THAT ONE INDIVIDUAL who has to face god. NOONE will be standing beside you, therefore god is the one who gets to judge who has and hasnt done wrong and if they will be forgiven or not, it is not a humans place. many people want to base things on the bible but unless they do their research then they have no arguement, here are a few things id like to point out....

many Christians don't know that:
Jesus says nothing about same-sex behavior.
The Jewish prophets are silent about homosexuality.
Only six or seven of the Bible's one million verses refer to same-sex behavior in any way -- and none of these verses refer to homosexual orientation as it's understood today.
~~Ezekiel 16:48-49 tell us: "This is the sin of Sodom; she and her suburbs had pride, excess of food, and prosperous ease, but did not help or encourage the poor and needy. They were arrogant and this was abominable in God's eyes."
~~In 1958, for the first time in history, a person translating that mysterious Greek word into English decided it meant homosexuals, even though there is, in fact, no such word in Greek or Hebrew. But that translator made the decision for all of us that placed the word homosexual in the English-language Bible for the very first time.

and if you want to go by the bible go by the entire bible cause it also says...

~~DEUTERONOMY 22:13-21
If it is discovered that a bride is not a virgin, the Bible demands that she be executed by stoning immediately.
DEUTERONOMY 22:22
If a married person has sex with someone else's husband or wife, the Bible commands that both adulterers be stoned to death.
MARK 10:1-12
Divorce is strictly forbidden in both Testaments, as is remarriage of anyone who has been divorced.
LEVITICUS 18:19
The Bible forbids a married couple from having sexual intercourse during a woman's period. If they disobey, both shall be executed.
MARK 12:18-27
If a man dies childless, his widow is ordered by biblical law to have intercourse with each of his brothers in turn until she bears her deceased husband a male heir.
DEUTERONOMY 25:11-12
If a man gets into a fight with another man and his wife seeks to rescue her husband by grabbing the enemy's genitals, her hand shall be cut off and no pity shall be shown her.
The Bible says clearly that sex with a prostitute is acceptable for the husband but not for the wife. Polygamy (more than one wife) is acceptable, as is a king's having many concubines. (Solomon, the wisest king of all, had 1,000 concubines.) Slavery and sex with slaves, marriage of girls aged 11-13, and treatment of women as property are all accepted practices in the Scriptures. On the other hand, there are strict prohibitions against interracial marriage, birth control, discussing or even naming a sexual organ, and seeing one's parents nude.

thats almost the entire world right there of sinners. And in the end the only thing that matters in the bible is GOD IS LOVE.........focus on that last word......LOVE

3:36 PM  
Blogger Cobalt-Blue said...

Wonderful. As a conservative liberal libertarian, an historian, and a general rabble rouser, I've been saying exactly the same thing for several years now.

4:02 PM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

I enjoyed this article and believe the point once again is quit making marriage about religion.
People pick and choose what they "think" is right and follow it from the bible - how is that right?
You cannot choose what you want to follow. The US has a thing called equal right and in a union, gay or straight they should be treated equal - honestly no one cares what you call it. I live in the UK now and here it is legal and no one seems to have a problem with it and this country is MUCH older then the United States.

I say give everyone the same respect and rights that you would want - because you or me are not special.

4:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

All of this discussion seems to lose itself in arguments about everything except the question of how our society should treat homosexuals with respect to their civil rights. Should the state give itself the power to deny homosexuals rights and benefits given to other couples, if they are united to other homosexuals? Can it give give itself the power to prevent such unions by law, thus begging the previous question? Where in our Constitution are these powers granted? Should the Constitution be altered for this purpose?

4:39 PM  
Blogger Victoria said...

Response to Jaysen: Books are written to be read. But my brother-in-law is so severely dyslexic that he can't read. So books obviously are not written to be read. Right?
Another logical fallacy on this blog.
I'm sorry you and your wife cannot have children. When my husband and I were dating, my doctor told me that because of health problems, I might not be able to have children. So I am very sympathetic. And no, I don't think your marriage, or the childless marriages of several of my friends who also couldn't have children, are invalid. But I also don't think that infertility problems invalidate the institution of marriage as being based on the welfare of children. All the couples I know got married expecting that they would have children. They were still entering into the legal relationship that expressed their willingness to take on this responsibility.
I would like to know how you define love, if marriage is based on love. Is it a feeling? erotic love? filial love? What happens when that sort of love fades or dies? Is the marriage over? I can tell you that during 30 years of marriage there have been plenty of times when I didn't "feel" love. If my marriage were based on that, it would not have lasted. Is that why so many marriages fail?

6:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

God, please help this world that You created - we surely need your help and I pray for it.

6:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

this article just validates that even though marriage is evolving in traditions, everything has always centered around marriage being 1 man, 1 woman...retarded. why can't the term union be used for gay people? I am in agreeance with that. this is like fighting over calling a gay couple a heterosexual couple...fucking stupid!

10:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Regarding the religious rhetoric (i.e. the sanctity of marriage): The creation of legislation based on religious rhetoric amounts to little more than a theocracy, and in a country which values the plurality and freedom of religion, is antithema to the very goals of the founding fathers themselves. Additionally, I'm not a Christian, so frankly, I don't give to shits about your Bible. While it may be yours or your mother's or brother's holy word, it is not mine, and to force me to follow laws based on the doctrine of a single or any religion is in violation of my first amendment rights.

If you don't want gay marriage, don't have one. Hard as it may be to believe, it's as simple as that. Don't go to one, change the channel when you hear about one, whatever it is you need to do, but the self-righteousness has got to end.

10:15 PM  
Blogger Spanish Inquisitor said...

Great! I may steal it, with appropriate attribution back to you.

Or I may just pass it along and around.

7:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your logic is full of holes and your research is dubious, as some of the information presented is either irrelevant or incorrect. Can you please post your sources? Thank you.

8:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

John Boswell's scholarly work on Same Sex Unions also mentioned many of these things, but the wedding dress was a new one for me! The Elephant in the room for me with all the yapping about the"sanctity" of marriage, and "God's intentions" is the non-separation of church and state in weddings performed in the U.S.. In my church, (Episcopal) marriage is a sacrament performed by the two being married. The church blesses the wedding, but the sacrament is performed by the couple. The words "by the power vested in me" are the elements of the state vested upon the minister. In many European countries, you still need to legalize your wedding civilly if you wish to have it blessed religiously. Would an argument be made for the separation of church and state in these matters? Not as long as the cash cow of marriages help church communities stay out of the red. ( I fell over when I heard how much St. Mark's charges for weddings!) As an Episcopalian, it would be appropriate for a marriage to be performed in the context of a regular Sunday Service; it is a sacrament, in the midst of the community, just as Communion, Baptism, Confirmation and Ordination. Yet, I have never seen a wedding done in a Sunday Service! One community that gets it is All Saint's Pasadena, who have refused to perform legal marriages of any kind until Same-sex marriages are legalized; couples can still go through all the motions, but, as in Europe, they have to get it legalized at city hall.

9:54 AM  
Anonymous Joney Harper said...

This is a great article. The problem, the people who need to read it, may not comprehend it.

2:37 PM  
Anonymous Bill said...

Revenant said:

"For those bible lovers out there -- before you start throwing stones at homosexuals, why don't you read 1 Cor. 6:9-11:

'Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders . . . will inherit the kingdom of God.'"

I know this is off the point Revenant was making, but no, the Bible does NOT say that, not the King James version, anyway.

The KJ version says "neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind . . ."

A little research indicates that the Greek word that was translated as "effeminate" was "malakos, meaning "soft," which could mean "morally weak or soft" or "cowardly," or "licentious."

I don't know how anyone can take The Bible as literal or as "the word of God" when it (the New Testament) has been translated, edited, purged, added-to, and otherwise changed according to church politics and theological battles.

To think that some vague Bible phrase speaks to modern situations, when it was really put there to squelch some heretical movement in the first or second century, is nuts.

3:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hmmm…I always assumed that when brides had to be virgins that the "something blue" referred to parts of the Groom's anatomy.

4:11 PM  
Blogger Chuck Carmichael said...

Those using the Bible as a base for argument (thank you whoever said KJ version, but which KJ? The one actually rewritten and re-edited in King James' time, or one re-edited more recently that kept the same flowery language? One that got rid of the language but kept the general sociopolitical ideology of King James' time?), the flaw with this is that whether one believes the Bible is a historically accurate picture of the time any given book is supposed to portray or not, it took several hundred years for those books to be written and gathered into one book. There are books that have been added and taken out and the whole thing has been translated so many times as to be next to meaningless.

Which isn't to say that reading from it and following the ideals at its heart is wrong, mind - I have a very strong Christian background, and I still turn to my favorite bible verses for comfort and beauty on occasion, long after realizing that while I love the community of a church, Christianity as a whole is not for me.

What I'm saying is, like so many other old books, the Bible holds a lot of propaganda. It tells us what the people in charge at the time it was put into its latest incarnation want us to know, how they want us to act.

There were official rites for same-sex marriages in the 10th-12th centuries. They were rare, from what I've come across, but they were there. Marriage, then - as someone else said - was a socioeconomic and political venture, and of course bearing a son helped to seal the deal, but that didn't mean that it was only one man and one woman.

For the record, I identify towards the straighter end of bi. I am married to a man that I love dearly, and we have three beautiful children who I would not trade for the world. But that doesn't mean I think the path I took should be forced upon anyone else, or that I want someone else's path forced upon me.

6:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Interesting read, but I almost didn't bother after reading that you're an "angry participant in democracy." The U.S. is a representative republic, not a democracy. I decided to give you a break, in case you're the unfortunate product of a liberal public school education.

7:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Amazing everyone, truly amazing. The amount of "I'm right, you're wrong" going on in here is effecting the price of tea in China.

I'd like to add that, spite the translation, retranslation, perversion, interpretation, application, and endless blogging about what it says in the Bible on ANY issue of moral judgement, in EVERY language and society of the history of the world; at the end of the day, only one thing is clear, irrefutable, and undeniable about the contents of ANY faith's written word, including EVERY post made here (including mine): Everyone is ENTITLED to MY opinion; where 'opinion' is defined as the writer's way of thinking. Regardless of divine inspiration (assuming that ever even happen(s/ed), regardless of cultural trends and motives, regardless of alleged consequences both good and bad for heeding/not heeding a written word, i.e. the thousands of Biblical translations, the thousands of Qur'an translations, the thousands of Torah translations, the constitutions of any sovereign state the word over, etc., I challenge anyone to provide irrefutable evidence that YOUR evidence, YOUR argument, or YOUR rebuttal is anything more information that supports anything more than simply YOUR opinion, YOUR paradigm, YOUR archetype, as dictated by what YOU were taught or have learned to be right and wrong in the society from which you come.

And before you go thinking of ways to rebuke what I've written here, because I'm sure you too believe that I am entitled to YOUR opinion, read it again. Deliver one shred of evidence that doesn't boil down to your opinion. Then make your argument with or against the premises and arguments set fourth by the article's author, or any of the respondents.

I was born and raised in a faith-filled, God-fearing, blessings-seen family of six brothers and two sisters in the Roman Catholic Church in America. I was educated in public schools for grades K-4, 7-8, 11-12, and private Catholic boarding school for 5, 6, 9, and 10 and have proudly executed ten years in America's service. I am by no means the standard for which right and wrong ought to be measured, but at the end of this day, I believe, and it is my opinion, which you will not conquer, NO SOLUTION in any matter of faith, morals, and/or ethics in ANY society, will ever be (1) accepted by everyone, (2) stand the test of time, or (3) be implemented based on anything more than the OPINION of the person in a position to effect the aforementioned solution.

Instead of blogging a validation of your opinions; instead of rebuking those who don't stand for what you do, behind your keyboard of judgement, it would bear more fruit to outline a proposed solution to the topic's issue, citing all consequences, reconsider, and compromise.

So, to lead the way, I propose the following solution to all issues, be it civil, moral, or otherwise logical, surrounding the 21st century definition of "Marriage" (in America):

1. There is no viable solution for a society of over 300 million constituents (namely and most especially America)

2. "If you don't love it, leave it" (to paraphrase Merle Haggard) Which is to say, when the powers-that-be enact, or fail to act on this issue, relocate to a constituency that has, or has not, in line with your opinions.

3. Calculate the time you spent reading this blog and comments and apply that same amount toward activity that actually does effect the price of tea in China.
3a. Buy American more often than not (with emphasis on the "more often" part than the "not" part)
3b. Dine at your neighborhood Chinese joint because it supports both your literal neighbor and the idea that America is open minded to our neighbors across the world.

That is all.

8:00 PM  
Anonymous Carmandy said...

For those who use the bible argument: There IS no god. You are using a piece of fiction to defend an argument. Do you believe in the tooth fairy as well?

8:33 PM  
Blogger lyndau said...

Google "The sanctity of marriage" By Chauncey Giles, published in 1896. Apart from that a wonderful piece.

9:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can't wait for gay marriage to get the go-ahead legally. I for one support! I want it to happen because it is so important to me personally. Right now that best part of the campaign is that it will make it law that you can marry for happiness and LOVE! and that NO ONE has the right to withhold you from happiness.

I feel in love true love with my son years ago and we have a child together, yet we can not be married because he is my son. We are very happy though and very in love and I think that no one can understand the kind of love you can have. We are both adults and our happiness is ours to choose. I can't wait for the day that Americans can be the first to have people marry for true happiness and love. Woman to a man, man to a man, mother to a son, brother to a sister, hell if you are so happy with your pet you should be able to marry your pet, after all we are all evolved animals. The famous inventor Tesla revered to his pigeon as his "darling wife" Gay marriage will finally open this door I believe because you will no longer be able to argue against my or any other persons happiness or how they experience love! Say no to prop 8 redefine marriage now!

10:22 AM  
Blogger Yewtree said...

Excellent blog-post. I think that same-sex marriage will strengthen marriage by making it available to everyone.

Your blog-post is quite similar to a blog-post that I wrote earlier this year entitled "The changing face of marriage". In fact, mine could be a sequel to yours.

12:38 PM  
Blogger Ira said...

Silly article. First of all, Jewish marriage is covered in the Tractate of the Talmud called "Kiddushin", which is also the name of the Jewish wedding ceremony itself and means "Sanctification", the Talmud being a codification of laws going back some 3300 years. So much for "sanctity of marriage" being invented in 2004 or some such nonsense.

Second of all, whatever the barbaric practices of marriage may have been among Christians or other religious groups, they were always between a man and woman, consenting or not, so I have no idea what bearing the "research" of the author has on California's Prop. 8 about same sex marriage. It seems to me rather to confirm the fact that marriage has always been between people of opposite sex, not the same sex. So historically, same sex marriage is an anomaly, perhaps dating back only to 2004. Google it yourself and see.

3:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hate it when people make up history! First off, the phrase "sanctity of marriage" existed long before 2004 - it was used at my wedding in '85, and I had heard it used as a child, in the early sixties. Second, interfaith marriages did not automatically result in excommunication in the '60s - my parents had an interfaith marriage in '49 - no excommunication.
Next, in the medieval period the reason for the marriage taking place on the church steps was not because it was considered too vulgar (marriage was always considered one of the seven sacraments - you see all of them represented in medieval art and manuscripts). It was because the community was to witness and be aware of the ceremony so they could attest to the marriage if ever legally necessary (as in a dispute over inheritance, bigamy, and desertion). Same reason that banns were published on the church door beforehand, and "cried" (called out) to the community - to ensure that any who knew of an impediment could notify the bride or groom. This in the days when people didn't travel far from their homes. And I have NEVER read in any medieval history (including many specific to the roles of women) that it was customary in any period to rip the bride's clothes off - only that the couple was publicly bedded to ensure consummation, so the marriage's status could not be disputed. In fact, such a clothes-ripping custom would have been inimical to the mores of the period. This is only a smattering of the inaccuracies in this article - badly researched. That said, I have no problems with civil unions - but use of "marriage" could open up a whole host of problems. Better to use civil union as a term for anyone who marries in the legal sense, and leave marriage as a religious term for those so inclined.

3:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks to anonymous. It was clear going into this essay that it would be an exercise in "confirmation bias."

Is the defense of "civil unions" so difficult that people must engage in either historical revisionism or logical fallacies?

4:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'd like to see the bibliography before I buy into the concepts made in the article. Some of the historical info sounds pretty farfetched, even for a playwrite.

6:20 PM  
Blogger cassdawn said...

while i definitely agree with the overall thrust of his point - it's a little disingenuous. first of all he focuses mostly on the ceremony and not the actual institutions. but that aside he skips over a number of things and without writing my own blogpost on the subject - marriage, pretty much always, has been about children and enforcing a patriarchy. there is evidence that here and there throughout history it has done so without regard for the feelings of the spouses and sometimes when love was a part of the bargain. but either way - whose kids are these/whose footing the bill and keeping them in line and how do we (men) keep control of property. and so, in that regard - divorce; no fault divorce; artificial insemination; women's liberation in all its stages - each of these have been blows to "traditional marriage" and each of them were railed against. this, marriage based solely on love - between two people who can't together produce children (and who many of these people think shouldn't be anywhere near children) - it is in fact the final nail to "traditional" marriage . .. well, maybe the second to last nail. if you read the constitutional arguments made against prop 8 - they are all a tiny little step away from saying 'there is no grounds for the state to be involved in marriage' - that'll be *the end of [marriage] as we know it - and i'll feel fine*

6:45 PM  
Blogger cassdawn said...

@ everyone commenting about the bible

what does that have to do with law? i will accept god's influence in this matter as soon as you refuse to let atheist get married.

6:48 PM  
Blogger Monday's Child said...

That was fantastic. Well written and informative. I'll be linking this a lot in the next few days. :-)

8:08 PM  
Anonymous Prof. David B. Cruz said...

In the olden days the Internet was not a sole source for research. "The sanctity of marriage" dates at least back to 1838: "It might be of dangerous consequence, that every careless promise drawn from an infatuated man, in the course of a criminal connection, by, perhaps, a licentious and artful woman, should have the effect of fastening her upon him as a wife. The tendency of this, I fear, would not be in favor of purity of manners, or the sanctity of marriage; but very much the contrary." North v. Valk, Dud. Eq. 212, S.C. App. Eq. (Feb. 1838).

8:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Homsexuality" and "heterosexuality" are very recent inventions. Historically, marriages were arranged between families for political and financial reasons. Love had nothing to do with it. Sexual relations between men was very different; it was for love, or a kind of mentoring.

People didn't think of themselves as gay or straight; they had different relationships for different purposes.

10:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

While I like a lot of the points he makes and his overall ideas, there are some major flaws or deliberately omitted major items that detract from his thesis.

Pope Innocent IV, in 1208, listed seven holy sacraments including "carnal marriage". The Council of Trent (the primary council of the Counter Reformation) in the 1500s went so far as to excommunicate anyone who failed to recognize marriage as a holy sacrament. There's the whole Henry VIII issue illustrating how seriously the Church considered marriage.

Saint Thomas Aquinas, in the 1200s, wrote that marriage must involve mutual consent. He also wrote that "Marriage, therefore, inasmuch as it consists in the union of a man and a woman, who propose to beget and rear children for the glory of god, is a sacrament of the Church..."

The Catholic church was actually at the forefront of the battle to legalize interracial marriage - their sole concern is generally regarding interfaith marriage, and even there they have long had rules for how to go about securing the sanction of the Church for such a marriage.

Basically, when people argue for "traditional marriage", they're generally pushing for the Catholic definition (whether they're Catholic or not) that has held pretty much constant for centuries. The definition used today may be inconsistent or hypocritical for Mormons and Evangelicals, but it's a reasonably consistent position for Catholics to hold.

Of course, they're still wrong.

11:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

God made Adam & Eve not Rick and Steve

1:37 AM  
Blogger Xenaclone said...

In the UK we had this act in 1753:-

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marriage_Act_1753

The legal age for marriage about that time age was 12 for girls and 14 for boys.

This English/Welsh act led to couples running away to Gretna Green in Scotland [where hand-fasting is still legal].

1:43 AM  
Anonymous BladeGirl said...

Interesting article - but I want to know how the story ends: what was the wedding you scripted for the Festival like?

6:45 AM  
Blogger John Hedtke said...

Phenomenal.

My oldest stepdaughter just got married in all but legal reality in a large and wonderful ceremony to her longtime partner, who's the finest DIL I could ever hope to have. Her mother and I sang "How Could Anyone Ever Tell You You Were Anything Less Than Beautiful" to them at the ceremony. We treasure them.

Anyone that wants to be married to someone and is willing to make the commitment should be able to.

I've posted a link to this article on my blog at http://hedtke.blogspot.com/2010/08/repost-traditional-marriage-perverts.html and I'm posting it on FB, too. Thanks!

9:58 AM  
Blogger John Hedtke said...

Oh! I should add that someone read that wonderful Corinthians quote about "Love is patient, love is kind...." It was perfect.

10:01 AM  
Blogger Peter said...

This is very nice and well done. Needs to be shared widely!

10:30 AM  
OpenID the-lionsden said...

I came upon this via a link from a friend. This is a very interesting read!

11:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm not sure where you get your information on marriages not being performed within the church in the Middle Ages. The original edition of the Book of Common prayer, written by Archbishop Thomas Cranmer in the 1500's, contains a full and complete marriage ceremony, with a sermon regarding the duties of spouses to one another, a requirement that both parties participate in the holy communion, and a requirement for reading of marriage banns in the church for a period of weeks leading up to the wedding.

Granted, this is at the time of the founding of the Church of England, not the Roman Catholic church, but it certainly was still the (mid-late) middle ages.

Furthermore, it has traditionally been the wedding veil that symbolizes virginity, not the white dress.

So, your facts are misrepresented if not completely wrong, and none of them actually say anything about your point anyway. What has any of that got to do with gay marriage? So wedding traditions change. That's beside the point. Marriage has been considered a religious institution in America since the founding of the country. That's the tradition you're dealing with.

For the record--As a religious married person, I'd rather have the government ignore marriage altogether. No marriage licenses, blah blah blah. Let my marriage be a religious ceremony and nothing else. I'll enter into a civil union with my husband for government and legal purposes and I won't object for a second to a nonreligious civil union being 1.) required for any couple who want to reap the legal benefits currently associated with religious marriage and b.) open to couples of any gender combination and sexual orientation.

11:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As always, those who are gay, or advocates of the destructive gay lifestyle will twist and turn the Bible to suit their deep-seated desire to "measure up" to some sort of standard. Of course in the case of the gay lifestyle the easiest way to measure up is to lower the standard. Thus the writer squirms like a stepped-on snake to dissavow the traditional role of marriage in every society, without ever making his point.

Now for Bible 101. What man did in marriage in the biblical record and in recorded history does not trump what God commanded for marriage. Man always goes against God - he can't help himself. Three time in the Bible (God says it, Jesus says it and The Apostle Paul says it) it is written: Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh. (Gen. 2:24, Mark 10:7, Eph. 5:21) Out of the mouth of two or three witnesses is every TRUTH established. God wants marriage to be one man - one woman. Why? Form equals function. Even Lenny Bruce understood that when he talked about homosexuality. "If you go to the toilet in the kitchen and eat in the bathroom, you are in serious trouble."

11:53 AM  
Blogger Sara said...

Brilliant article. Thank you for sharing this perspective, as many people are not aware of much of this info.

12:26 PM  
Blogger Sara said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

12:26 PM  
Blogger Manuel said...

Absolutely divine, well written and worth it of air time on National Television. Screw those religious freaks that are trying to impose their caveman views. Marriage is what you make of it, no signed papers are needed to prove love between whomever wants to join their lives.

2:56 PM  
Blogger Peg said...

What does the Bible have to do with this? Give it a rest. Marriage is a CIVIL right. You go to your county's office, where you pay money to that government entity to get a license to marry. You can get married by anyone your state permits to perform marriages (it certainly does not have to be associated with church of religion). You can get married in a civil ceremony right there in your city hall. Licensing marriage is a function of government, and dear readers, THAT is why marriage should be open to all. Plenty of religions discriminate as to who can marry in their faith. But CIVIL marriage should be available to all who wish to marry and have the price of the wedding license. Many of you are mixing up marriage rights with religion. I advise you to not do anything that would upset you regarding your religion, and leave my civil rights alone.

5:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have argued for years with my Christian friends about this. and while I am firmly convinced that the acts of homosexuality are sins, the opposition to gay marriage has been largly counter productive. When you use the power of government to regulate a religious ceremony, you are saying the government has the authority to regulate that religious ceremony. Then when the government decides to regulate it in a way you don't agree with, you will have no leg to stand on. You will have thrown away your freedom of religion protection, by saying it does not apply to this particular religious ceremony. Then where will you go when the government decides to begin regulating your other religious ceremonies?
Then there is the free publicity you have given to those who wish to promote the gay lifestyle. Every news channel in the country is covering this fight, and since the news media is primarly liberal the coverage is more favorable to their cause than it is to yours.
As repulsive as the idea may be to you, you should allow those who want to sin to do so. Our religion is based on the premis that God allows us the free will to choose to accept His grace or to reject it. Who are we then to force others to follow His laws when He does not, and we can not ourselves perfectly follow them.

5:56 PM  
Blogger Rachel said...

I am so sick of the religious right taking things and twisting it to fit their agenda. This article was excellent. It did not insult anyone group but laid out the facts nicely. Facts are what people need in order to make informed decisions.

6:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, the god squad are here taking their orders from the sky fairy.

6:16 AM  
Anonymous R Eyre said...

As for love marriages only being around for the past fifty years, has the author not read any Jane Austen?

6:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The premise is true: marriage has meant many things over the years and the idea that it's always been one man-one woman is false. However, the premise is very poorly researched and presented. The post is full of historical inaccuracies and unsupported statements; there's even an urban legend (the ridiculous belief that birds bloat after eating uncooked rice). Previous posters have pointed out a few of the problems. I get the impression that the author has uncritically read some popular books about the history of marriage customs, and that's the extent of his/her research. Not a credible piece of work.

6:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The entire argument boils down to this: Fear of gay sex. Opponents of same sex marriage cannot get their minds out the bedrooms of gay people. They're afraid of it because at some point in their life, they thought about doing it and it both excited and repulsed them. They think that gay is catching. They think people can be recruited. They're afraid that the children they're doing such a bang up job of raising in their "normal" marriage environment will see "becoming gay" as an option.

Don't we as a society have more important things to be concerned about than what two consenting adults in love wish to do?

7:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bible smible..if christians are so wanting to follow the letter of THEIR God..let them..tell your christian followers what to think and feel and act,and have all of your daily lives controlled and be the sheep you want to be..as for the rest of the world who DON'T follow the bible..allow us the same freedom to follow our own spiritual beliefs and our own God(s) or Goddesses...the whole world is not christian..the sooner they realize that the sooner we can all live the way we want to without being judged by others.

9:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I see a lot of reference to the Christian Bible here. I thought this was America, where we practiced freedom of religion? Am I to understand that if I were Buddhist or Hindu that I should have to adhere to a Christian, Biblical interpretation of what I can and cannot do within my faith?

Why does one religion's narrow view define a process that, in truth, the government manages?

Especially when that religion is heavily fractured. While Christianity may be the "dominant" religion in the world, it is divided. Proponents of the Christian "majority" conveniently overlook the fact that "Christian" includes sects that they otherwise don't recognize as "Christian." Latter-Day Saints. Jehovah's Witnesses. The various African-American congregations.

That aside, if the purpose of marriage is to procreate, then why not demand fertility tests prior to issuing marriage licenses? Obligate them to have a certain number of children? Laws to prohibit infertile couples from marrying?

Since procreation implies improving the blood-line (and making our nation stronger), let's also legislate that people with unfavorable hereditary tendencies not be allowed to have children.

Or, is this a free country where I can enter into a legal contract with another person, provided I'm of sound mind and legal age, and provided I don't break any laws, enjoy the benefits and pitfalls of that agreement?

Why is the concept of gender so important in the context of choosing a domestic partner, when it doesn't matter for a business partner? How are those different?

In a business sense, I may share an office with my partner for 8, 10, even 20 hours of the day. We may hours in close proximity, even in physical contact with one another. If we're equal partners, we share in the benefits and losses equally. Neither of us gets to make decisions about the partnership without consent of the other. We can be men, women, Christian, Muslim, gay, straight, disabled, tall or fat. The Bible doesn't get a say in defining our relationship.

So, why does The Bible define marriage when I can be wed in a courthouse by an Atheist? Or an ordained Wiccan High-Priestess?

Simply stated, the people behind the concepts of "Sanctity of Marriage" are afraid of change. They're the same people who threatened that interracial marriage would destroy the purity of the white race (and to hell with the red, yellow, black and brown races). It's thinly veiled bigotry.

3:40 PM  
Anonymous Kristi D said...

I didn't read all of the comments, so please forgive me if I am repeating something, but I study marriage in the high and late Middle Ages and this article isn't completely correct. Marriage has been a highly religious event (a Sacrament in the Catholic faith, in fact) since at least the 11th century. While the accoutrements of the ceremony have changed considerably, the feelings of the partners don't seem to have changed much at all. Marriage was definitely more of an economic transaction for the upper classes but for the majority of people it was similar to modern couples, they chose whom they wanted to marry. The Church was certainly not anti-marriage and took pains to make sure everyone knew they were in charge of it by the 12th and 13th centuries.

While I am definitely a proponent of marriage for all who want it, I think arguing with incorrect facts doesn't help anyone. Thanks for reading.

3:42 PM  
Anonymous Diane Farr said...

You weaken your argument when you bolster it with falsehoods. I know, for example, that there was a Mamet play in the 1970's titled "The Sanctity of Marriage" -- so when you confidently assert that it's a new phrase coined when Massachusetts legalized marriage equality, you cast doubt on your entire column. Shame on you. This topic is too important for you to play fast and loose with the facts, no matter what side you're on.

3:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's the deal guys. It's pretty simple. Church and State are separate. SEPARATE. Christians have absolutely NO AUTHORITY over non believers. You do NOT create law for everyone based on your standards. 'God says no' is NOT a valid argument to anyone but you. You can encourage. You can lead by example. You can plant seeds and spread the word as you've been instructed according to each denomination. You can live your lives following your mode of belief. But to attack, judge and set standards for everyone else is unfair and just plain prideful. Judgment is not your job remember? IT'S GOD'S!!! How you treat other people, including non believers is going to be of far more importance that sexual orientation. Why? Because you're supposed to know better!

4:25 PM  
Anonymous Paks said...

The article seems pretty emotion-driven and opinionated, but still interesting enough where the facts are concerned. I don't find the tradition of ripping some of the bride's clothes off on the way out (for her husband) "horrifying", nor giving livestock or any other dowry "barbaric". Don't appreciate the slagging of God, or the older customs and laws of man which obviously will keep changing in time.

Also the rice bloating a bird's stomach until it dies is a stupid myth. Birds eat raw rice and other "bigger when wet" grains all the time without issue. Birds are actually a massive problem for rice farmers. If this myth were true, there'd be thousands of dead birds in every rice field.

It was probably started to increase the sale of confetti which is disgustingly expensive, and was starting to go out of fashion around the time the myth started. If anything, putting tiny bits of bleached, colour-dyed paper all over the ground is probably worse for the environment.

Decent article but misinformed.

7:06 PM  
Anonymous Paks said...

Oh, and the marriage of man and woman has been a sanctity since the dawn of time. But others have said this, so it was probably not worth mentioning again.

How you choose to "use" or "interpret" data is your choice, but you should check your data before presenting it as "fact".

7:10 PM  
Blogger Cobalt-Blue said...

The point is that marriage has changed throughout history and will continue to do so. It has not always meant the same thing and will not always mean the same thing.

The only justification I have seen for keeping gays from being able to marry are religious ones. Unless they protect life, liberty, or property, they have no business being enforced by the government.

It would be best to have the government get out of the marriage business all together. It treats all marriages as civil unions. If someone wants a marriage (a civil union performed by clergy) then they have to go to a church/temple/synagogue/masjid/whatever and find someone willing to do it. No religious organization would be forced to perform a ceremony they didn't want, nor would they be forced to recognize one they didn't want to.

7:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is an obvious satanic posting. It shows clearly that teh man does not understand the bible or probably never reads it.

Marriage is neither social or cultural, it is a spiritual institution started by God Himself, read Genesis chapter 2. Marriage is a covenant between a man and woman read Mal.2:14. If you understan the bible you will know there are dispensations adn there is a clear difference between teh Old testament and teh New. Read Matthew 19 and jesus clearly explains that what you read in Old testament about marriage was not God's original intention it was permitted because of men's hardness of earth,in the beginning it was not so. God created a man and a Woman and marriage is between a man and a woman, any other thing is an abomination. Homosexuality is a sin read Romans 1, even by normal human logic it does not make sense. Why do this gay people try to adopt children given birth to by a man and a woman, if they are truly couples they should sleep with each other and have their babies.

8:30 PM  
Blogger Cobalt-Blue said...

The above is obviously a post by a raving lunatic. Why do you feel you must use the power of government to enforce your own political beliefs. Just because someone doesn't agree with you, or worship your God, doesn't mean we are automatically a follower of your God of Evil.

8:33 PM  
Anonymous DJKathyA said...

Thank you for the research and well-thought out article. I love it! : )

4:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are factually incorrect in stating that the phrase "sanctity of marriage" is 21st-century invention.

For example, http://www.nccbuscc.org/seia/sanctity.shtml is a document from 1978 *reaffirming* the traditional Catholic view of marriage as a sacred compact. (Recall that Henry VIII split with Rome after the the Pope refused to annul his marriage.)

While it is true that in the Middle Ages marriages among the nobility were arranged for political, military, and economic ends, that was not the case among the peasantry, who were by far a larger proportion of the population.

In the Middle East, there have been times when wealthy and powerful men had multiple wives and concubines, but this was primarily as economic protection for women, who had few opportunities if not part of a household. This is the same reason a man was expected to marry his brother's widow.

Most importantly, you conflate the eternal, sacred relationship of marriage with the cultural ritual of weddings. So what if white dresses were introduced by Queen Victoria? So what if birdseed was introduced in the 70's?

None of that changes the fact that never in human history, in any culture, have homosexual relationships been recognized as marriages. Even Emperor Hadrian didn't redefine marriage (in pagan Rome, no less) to include his relationship.

9:10 AM  
Blogger Crystal Louise said...

This article is an interesting point of view, but I disagree with the statement that marriage wasn't a religious thing before the middle ages.

It is mentioned in the bible as a holy unit.

6"But at the beginning of creation God 'made them male and female.' 7'For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, 8and the two will become one flesh.' So they are no longer two, but one. 9Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate."
Mark 10:6

10:48 AM  
Blogger Will Fitzgerald said...

First mention in the New York Times of the expression "sanctity of marriage."
We cannot be silent on those laws of your country which, in direct contravention of God's own law, 'instituted in the time of man's innocency,' deny, in effect, to the slave the sanctity of marriage, with all its joys, rights and obligations.
New York Times, December 15, 1852, Page 1.

11:12 AM  
Blogger Haha said...

You lazily repeat the tired old urban legend about birds eating rice and then bloating without fact-checking. (Hint: What do you think birds eat in rice-growing areas? RICE.) If you can't be arsed to look this up, which would probably take two seconds on Snopes, how am I supposed to believe the rest of your drivel. (Hint: Bloggers are not journalists.)

11:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To everyone quoting the bible" First of all, the concept of marriage has been around WAY before the bible. Secondly, not everyone is christian, get over it. Third, the laws in the US are not based upon christian ideals, but on human ones. You may THINK your christian ideals are good for everyone, but you are wrong: case in point, gay people want to get married. So how could they be good for everyone? It is fine if you personally think gay marriage is wrong. You have every right to think that. But you absolutely do NOT have the right to keep other people from doing it, ESPECIALLY when based on religious doctrine.

It doesn't matter what the bible says about gay marriage, even if it says nothing at all. To base real world American law on anything religious is wrong and illegal. The. End.

12:19 PM  
Blogger Schutzenegger said...

Neat. All of these references to "research" without any of the research to back it up... congratulations, you're just like everyone else.

12:23 PM  
Blogger Team RS said...

I think you've got a nice straw man here.
Amending the constitution was never about defending the man made traditions of marriage, there have always been a million ways to hook up. It's about defending the sacred God given process for "sacred" heterosexual union.
I think most people would agree that the traditions involved with the ceremony have become corrupted, but that should incite a search for the pure, the true, the original. A wanton abandonment of something beautiful because it has been corrupted is completely illogical.
Some of us actually do still have that sacred ancient knowledge, of course we're going to defend it. I hope you would to.

1:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree entirely that the accoutrements and precise politics of marriage are a passing thing. But you totally mangle the argument by pretending this means that the concept of marriage itself has been a fluid thing.

In Christian Europe, it's always been one man and one woman. Pagans were being criticised for polygamy throughout the Dark Ages. Even the pre-Christian Romans didn't like polygamy. Within the Western tradition, it hasn't been the done thing for a long time.

And your idea that marriage has at times been a wholly political transaction is also flawed. Even when it was polygamous - see your own examples in the Bible (David had a real thing for Abigail) - it was based more on love/lust than on position and politics. The mix of the two has varied, but at no point in Christian history can you say that everyone was marrying for convenience. Love has always had its part in some measure: in literature romantic love and marriage are linked from Homer onwards.

Arguing that we should have gay marriage because the precise contents of marriage has varied over millennia is specious, and your examples are selective and unthorough. Christian marriage has remained a broadly similar concept, relative bawdiness and chauvinism of the culture aside, for a couple of millennia now. And the idea that a marriage was never holy until some right wing idiots started talking about it is patently wrong. It is a sacrament of the Catholic Church - how much more sanctified can you get?

Anyway, my point is this is all bunkum. Gay marriage is right because in a secular society, you should have the right to love who you want, for no-one can be harmed. Your argument strikes me as half-clever - and I'd rather be the one to tear it down than someone who believes your message, as well as your reasoning, is faulty.

2:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

@team rs - i have to agree with the idea that the article is arguing against a point never made.

and then you lose me. god isn't in the constitution. that's what i know and hold sacred and beautiful. and that's what i will defend against change.

2:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To all of the "The Bible says..." arguments... You are free to live your life as the Bible says. But I don't believe the Bible is the word of God. I believe it is a work of fictions passed down through traditions. So we cannot argue based on your views of the Bible. Try again.

2:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

thank-you for this.

3:08 PM  
Blogger SWoz said...

The argument for same-sex marriage is about the "legality" not the "religious validity". And last I checked, the document that determines law in America also has in there somewhere a separation of Church and State. Thus, using the RELIGIOUS doctrines of the Bible to support your argument doesn't hold up in a court of LAW.

3:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The article and posts have developed a healthy debate. Unfortunately using lines like ..'the truth is..' in an article intended to share an opinion does not make a point of view 'the truth'. If people want to have same sex unions that is their decision but they cannot force their point of view on others especially since there are many societies who frown on these unions for their own good reasons. No matter how wrong we feel others opinions are, no one ever lost their life in history because they were denied the so-called 'right' to get married. Many have lost their lives because of racial prejudice, slavery, etc which some use to support their arguments for same sex marriage.
Don't force me to support something I find fundamentally wrong with historical precedents. If the death penalty in some countries is wrong and each year people are killed for it why aren't we as militant in our quest to repeal it as we are to enforce same sex unions? Which of the two has a greater effect on our lives? A person can be incarcerated for the rest of his or her life if they are a threat to society and there is always the possibility they can change. We, however, have enough people with arguments, precedents and 'historical facts' to support or argue against the penalty. This does not make execution 'right'.
Same sex marriage and homosexuality is not made 'right' or 'legal' or any less of a moral issue just because those who practice it or support it would want everyone else to think so. Whats next? Euthanasia? We live in such an anti-God, anti-Christian world that it is not surprising to see such venomous disagreement to those values being upheld by those who believe in them. The article is well written and good food for thought but anyone who uses this as a basis to change biblical truths is in for a rude shock. I'd like to see same-sex proponents protesting in Saudi Arabia or Iran.It will never happen, not ever. In those societies they have made up their minds that their beliefs are not to be compromised and no threat of legal recourse, world opinion, gay parade marches etc will change them.
Stealing is a crime. yet we still steal and others even find means to justify it. The minute we become an amoral, godless society we open up a can of worms.
A certain proverb attributed to the Germans goes something like this: My freedom ends where yours begins. I am free to decide on what I feel marriage is and if enough of us decide that it is meant to be between a man and a woman, then it is our right as a society to live with that as our principle. If a few of you would like to live on an island and do what you want fine. We will respect you for that even if we disagree with your lifestyle. Gay bashers unfortunately exist just as much as God bashers and Bible bashers, but this does not make either position right. I can respectfully disagree with you without having to demean you and it does not make me a gay basher.

9:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The article and posts have developed a healthy debate. Unfortunately using lines like ..'the truth is..' in an article intended to share an opinion does not make a point of view 'the truth'. If people want to have same sex unions that is their decision but they cannot force their point of view on others especially since there are many societies who frown on these unions for their own good reasons. No matter how wrong we feel others opinions are, no one ever lost their life in history because they were denied the so-called 'right' to get married. Many have lost their lives because of racial prejudice, slavery, etc which some use to support their arguments for same sex marriage.
Don't force me to support something I find fundamentally wrong with historical precedents. If the death penalty in some countries is wrong and each year people are killed for it why aren't we as militant in our quest to repeal it as we are to enforce same sex unions? Which of the two has a greater effect on our lives? A person can be incarcerated for the rest of his or her life if they are a threat to society and there is always the possibility they can change. We, however, have enough people with arguments, precedents and 'historical facts' to support or argue against the penalty. This does not make execution 'right'.
Same sex marriage and homosexuality is not made 'right' or 'legal' or any less of a moral issue just because those who practice it or support it would want everyone else to think so. Whats next? Euthanasia? We live in such an anti-God, anti-Christian world that it is not surprising to see such venomous disagreement to those values being upheld by those who believe in them. The article is well written and good food for thought but anyone who uses this as a basis to change biblical truths is in for a rude shock. I'd like to see same-sex proponents protesting in Saudi Arabia or Iran.It will never happen, not ever. In those societies they have made up their minds that their beliefs are not to be compromised and no threat of legal recourse, world opinion, gay parade marches etc will change them.
Stealing is a crime. yet we still steal and others even find means to justify it. The minute we become an amoral, godless society we open up a can of worms.
A certain proverb attributed to the Germans goes something like this: My freedom ends where yours begins. I am free to decide on what I feel marriage is and if enough of us decide that it is meant to be between a man and a woman, then it is our right as a society to live with that as our principle. If a few of you would like to live on an island and do what you want fine. We will respect you for that even if we disagree with your lifestyle.

9:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The article and posts have developed a healthy debate. Unfortunately using lines like ..'the truth is..' in an article intended to share an opinion does not make a point of view 'the truth'. If people want to have same sex unions that is their decision but they cannot force their point of view on others especially since there are many societies who frown on these unions for their own good reasons. No matter how wrong we feel others opinions are, no one ever lost their life in history because they were denied the so-called 'right' to get married. Many have lost their lives because of racial prejudice, slavery, etc which some use to support their arguments for same sex marriage.
Don't force me to support something I find fundamentally wrong with historical precedents. If the death penalty in some countries is wrong and each year people are killed for it why aren't we as militant in our quest to repeal it as we are to enforce same sex unions? Which of the two has a greater effect on our lives? A person can be incarcerated for the rest of his or her life if they are a threat to society and there is always the possibility they can change. We, however, have enough people with arguments, precedents and 'historical facts' to support or argue against the penalty. This does not make execution 'right'.
Same sex marriage and homosexuality is not made 'right' or 'legal' or any less of a moral issue just because those who practice it or support it would want everyone else to think so. Whats next? Euthanasia? We live in such an anti-God, anti-Christian world that it is not surprising to see such venomous disagreement to those values being upheld by those who believe in them. The article is well written and good food for thought but anyone who uses this as a basis to change biblical truths is in for a rude shock. I'd like to see same-sex proponents protesting in Saudi Arabia or Iran.It will never happen, not ever. In those societies they have made up their minds that their beliefs are not to be compromised and no threat of legal recourse, world opinion, gay parade marches etc will change them.
Stealing is a crime. yet we still steal and others even find means to justify it. The minute we become an amoral, godless society we open up a can of worms.
A certain proverb attributed to the Germans goes something like this: My freedom ends where yours begins. I am free to decide on what I feel marriage is and if enough of us decide that it is meant to be between a man and a woman, then it is our right as a society to live with that as our principle. If a few of you would like to live on an island and do what you want fine. We will respect you for that even if we disagree with your lifestyle.

9:24 PM  
Blogger Amy said...

Careful, careful! Any child born to a "legal union" become, in a sense, property of that state in which they were married. A bad marriage is very difficult to get out of. And as one of those anon posts stated: most are doomed to failure. A girl I'm not well acquainted with just married a creepy, deceptive man who admitted to stalking me for several months before my son pointed it out to me. It's been 6 months since I told him this shit's got to stop. They just married last weekend. I feel sad for her and disturbed that other church ladies encouraged her to date him and even a bit outraged that the very abusive church lady really really encouraged her to marry creepy deceptive totally old dude. It's disgusting. It's a very "traditional American Marriage". May it rest in peace when it ends..though they were sealed for time and all eternity. But no matter, I'm sure we'll all enjoy cake at the Coos Bay Stake Center this Saturday evening.

10:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've been married for 1o years, and since I was married by a Justice of the Peace and not in a church, my marriage is not recognized by the Catholic Church, but it is by the United States Government. How is that any different than a same sex marriage which isn't recognized by the church? It's not a religious debate, it's a violation of Section 1 of the 14th amendment.

10:22 PM  
Blogger Mary said...

Lovely article!

The thing which makes me the most curious (you can tell I'm a costumer...) is - what should Queen Victoria's dress have been, according to the customs of the time? Blue, I'm guessing, from what you said later, but what fabric?

6:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Will you bible thumping comment trolls just please shut the hell up?

There are tons and tons and tons of people who don't believe in any god. There are an additional ton who more or less believe in one but don't like him/her/it.

Your books, your thoughts, your values and your opinions are relevant to NO ONE but yourselves. If you don't believe in gay marriage, ***don't have one***

Problem solved. Now GFYS.

Also, the honest woman joke: priceless.

10:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Beautiful! I'm sharing it. Thank you!

10:44 AM  
Blogger emmabina said...

Thank you so much for this beautifully written article. So informative - I wish I could have armed myself with this a week ago during a vigorous argument over same-sex marriage with an ignorant old classmate who openly hates gays. I'm sending this to everyone I know!

12:40 PM  
Blogger Jay said...

Actually, I wish you would have answered your last question without irony. The truth is that the preservation of marriage is not the goal; but to suppress the eventual validation of gay people as fully entitled citizens with rights equal to those of straight people. "Traditional marriage" is the "motherhood" hook on which to hang an ugly hat--legalized prejudice against gay people.

12:57 PM  
Blogger Tad said...

This article makes an interesting read, but unfortunately it falls into the same fallacy that it attempts to argue against. The "appeal to tradition" is a form of false appeal to authority. Whether the tradition is a day old or a few thousand years.

The question that needs to be addressed is whether or not the state has a legitimate interest in regulating marital customs. religious arguments have no place in the discussion in a society that prohibits establishments of religion or restriction on the free exercise thereof.

(Oh, and for those that insist on citing the Christian Bible, I have a great deal of trouble with the allegation that Sodom and Gomorrah's destruction being based on homosexuality, while Lot gets away with pimping his daughters to the rabble and then incest with those same daughters...)

7:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The issue I have with the article is that the author displays a knowledge of wedding traditions, and then tries to say that a wedding is marriage. Anyone can get married, it's stayng together that takes work.
Marriage is outlined in the bible, with Christ and the church as our example. But I can hardly expect those who don't study this faith to observe it's outline of marriage.

11:39 PM  
Blogger Raine said...

One thing that's NEVER changed in the history of weddings and marriage? ONE MAN, ONE WOMAN. That's what it takes to make a baby. Bottom line.

6:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

@raine - what the crap does weddings and marriages have to do with babies? there were babies before weddings.

but i'm fine with your logic as long as you also support banning anyone from getting married who doesn't intend to have a baby; or can't - we'll do fertility tests before the wedding and mandatory insemination within 30 days.

i mean really . ..

6:32 AM  
Anonymous CJ said...

So.... Can I marry my dog or cat? Can I marry the tree in my back yard? Can I marry the computer on which I'm typing? Where is the line? Should there be a line? If I'm allowed to marry a tree, then would it be murder for me to cut it down, killing my spouse? Should the tree I marry give me tax benefits by acting as my dependent? Can I marry the 20 trees in my backyard, and my 2 dogs and 1 cat and have 23 dependents as tax write-offs? If I took seeds from the tree and planted them, would they be my children? I agree with the author in that alot of the "traditions" of the marriage ceremony are very young. Alot of the arguments people give for a "traditional" marriage don't apply. And the fact that 50% is the divorce rate is alarming and gives question to whether or not marriage should even be held as something holy these days under the statement "sanctity of marriage". But, when you get outside of marriage being the union of a man and woman, I think you start going down a slippery slope. And the Bible is pretty clear on that. I think it is obvious that God's intention was that marriage be between ONE man and ONE woman. That's why He only created one man and one woman. That's why Jesus has ONE bride, ONE church. You can't let your bias just pick and choose events throughout history from various cultures and religions in order to support your beliefs about something and come to a valid conclusion. The author completely misses alot of what the Bible is really saying in order to fit his opinions on the concept of traditional marriage. You won't find God clapping in approval for the polygamist lifestyle. There are a lot of things humans do in the Bible that God does not approve of but lets happen because he has given humans the freedom to choose their own way. And just using the behavior of some major character's of the Bible as an example or as permission to do something is not valid since they are all imperfect humans and make mistakes (which is a major point the Bible makes)... Abraham was not perfect, David was not perfect, Solomon was definitely not perfect.... The whole point of the Bible is to show we are fallen and need a savior, Jesus, the Son of God, who is perfect and offers us that perfection as a free gift. You can basically make the Bible say whatever you want if you take things out of context. And to keep it in context, you need to know the whole Bible.

7:58 AM  
Anonymous myimaginaryfriendisbetterthanyours said...

@cj - how about marriage is between two consenting adults? it's not that hard a leap.

so if all these things that are in the bible - the incest; the rape; concubine; polygamy etc happened despite god's disapproval - so be it. let this be something else that happens without his approval.

of course i make that argument pretending that what god wants has anything to do with the law.

8:12 AM  
Anonymous CJ said...

What your last statement is hinting at... I agree, God is not too concerned with trying to get us to follow a law. Most of the new testament, notably Romans 4, is pretty clear about that.

In reference to just making marriage between "two consenting adults", why should it stop there? Who says first of all that marriage should only be between two people, or just adults, or just humans? Again, if history is not a good basis for defining marriage, than that opens the door to whatever our depraved minds can fathom. Honestly, it will eventually go down that road. And if saying that marriage should be between just one man and one woman can't hold up, what makes you think saying marriage should be between just two consenting adults should hold up? Someone will eventually say extending marriage between two living things is "not that hard of a leap".

9:17 AM  
Anonymous myimaginaryfriendisbetterthanyours said...

@cj - apples and rhinoceroses - it is that hard a leap. this is a legal contract (although we can certainly debate that it is one without teeth)and to enter into a legal contract one must be a consenting adult.

you should have gone with the polygamy argument.

9:20 AM  
Anonymous CJ said...

I hear what you're saying... it is quite a leap. But give it another 20 years and things change. We do things these days that are grandparents would not have believed in their younger days.

Now, I think I might be getting off topic a bit, but you don't necessarily have to be an adult to enter into a legal contract, you just need the legal guardian's consent (a 17 yr old can get married). And that aside, if you can legally leave your estate in your will to your pet dog (google it if you don't know what I'm talking about), then animals have legal rights as well and so how is it so far fetched (no pun intended) that the legal rights animals have wouldn't extend into the realm of marriage? It seems obvious to me that relations and marriage were intended between a man and a woman (just based on anatomy and procreation). And all I'm saying is that if you open up the door hear, it's a slippery slope and will eventually go farther than anyone today intended. Baby steps... That's my opinion... I don't think America necessarily has to sign up to it because you are free to believe want you want in this country.

10:05 AM  
Anonymous myimaginaryfriendisbetterthanyours said...

@cj - in both the case of the underage marriage an the pet there is a legal adult who is actually entering the contract. in the case of the underage marriage - the legal adult is in essence sponsoring the minor for 'emancipation' and thereby adulthood. and with the pet someone is charged with the managing - they don't demand that the pet him/her self signs the checks for his own kibble.

in legal matters there must always be one person upon whom the burden falls. take for example, to come back to marriage equality, the attempt in massachusetts to block marriage equality. the group that attempted the block was a church group - but one individual needed to be the one to file the grievance.

so in order to marry your pet we would either have to change the definition of a legal contract or ya know, talk with the animals.

but for now - a legal contract is two consenting adults. homosexuals, since they are no longer considered mentally ill, are consenting adults. therefore legal marriage is something they should be able to participate in. by all means barr them from the sanctity if you like though.

10:23 AM  
Anonymous CJ said...

My original post was not meant necessarily to bar gay marriage. It was meant to say that I believe the author took a lot of things out of context (specifically the Bible) to help support his point of view, rather than letting the Bible speak for itself.

I agree and understand that a legal adult/guardian has to enter this legal contract to sponsor an underage person to get married, but it doesn't mean the guardian is the one who is legally married, it is the underage individual. So what's to stop the same process for someone who is the "guardian" of a pet, sponsoring the pet up for marriage? Again, I understand there are "legal" issues currently in place that would restrict this, but as we are currently seeing, the law can change as the people decide it should be changed. It's only a matter of time...

But again, my main point in the beginning is I believe the author was misrespresenting what the Bible is saying, and therefore, is not a valid source for the claims he is making. I thought he had some good points, but it seemed to me he was more looking for sources to support his beliefs rather than letting the sources speak for themselves… not too objective in my opinion.

10:58 AM  
Anonymous supanigga said...

I enjoyed this quite a bit. However, Mormons did not traditionally support polygamy. It came about after they were strongly prosecuted and fled west. They made it as far as Salt Lake City, and then stopped because they were so depleted, not just in resources, but in men. Most of their men had been killed off. Leaving a whole lot of widows with a butt-load of kids and a bunch of unmarried ladies with no options. So they temporarily allowed polygamy to regain their numbers, and ensure that all their women and children were taken care of. Since then, most Morman prophets have revoked this support for polygamy until it might once again prove necessary.

Still, this goes on to prove your point. Even for the most devout, marriage is something they can adapt if they have a societal need to do so, so there is no logical reason others should not be able to as well.

Over all, I agree with MJ Heiser. Marriage should not be something dictated by the government, it should be a vow between people, or people and religious organization. Domestic Partnerships with rights and responsibilities equivalent to what is now legally binding marriage should apply in order to legally protect those consenting adults who want it, and their children.

In Washington state, only hetero couples over under 62 can get married. And only gay's and old folk can get domestic partnerships under the aforementioned definition. I say to WA, stop lobbying for anyone's right to marry, lobby for young and middle aged hetero's right to domestic partnership and take marriage out of the legal equation. You want legal protection, get a domestic partnership.

8:02 AM  
Anonymous whiteshadow said...

@ Cj

There is a vast difference between two humans who want to build their lives, join their strengths, strengthen their weaknesses, raise their children together, and be protected by the law from anything or anyone that could come between them....and a human who wants to marry a cat who has no idea what is going on, is incapable of signing a contract and incapable of making medical, financial, and any other decisions.

The difference legal and logistical difference between a man and a woman who want to make this commitment, and a woman and an other woman who want to makes this commitment is virtually non-existent.

And I've read the bible cover to cover so many times I could darn near recite it. It speaks for itself perfectly fine, and the writer of this article did a fine job of using supporting points from the bible without skewing them at all. The point that was being made was that if we took everything the bible said literally, our society would be extremely screwed up and extremely hypocritical.
Plus, read your history books bible fan, your King James and New International...and any other version on the bookstore shelf...all re-written and changed to fit the writer's objectives.
So much for letting the bible speak for itself. Please, give me one other historical text that has been altered and changed and molested as much as the bible, and I'll turn my tap water into wine and serve it at your next communion.

8:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think the matter is in the word "marriage" itself. A man of the cloth has often referenced himself to being "married" to the lord. He and his "god" arent having babies, and until most recent times werent allowed to marry or have children.

2:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

continued:
I loved the points of the article. I was amused at some of them and shocked by others. So the write chose to talk more about ceremonial things instead of why we had marriage, and what they were originally used for. The Religious folks who spew off bible passages, or the people who want to talk about the taking on a cat/dog as a PARTNER, you have to learn to separate the teachings of a book or belief and that what should be law. In which we are "created equal" to share the same benefits as everyone. I think what I would have preferred if the author of the article chose leave the religious comments out, because it only gives them more fuel. But to write about that "marriage" is the marring of two things. A joining. I know that its hard for the religious people to put their differences aside and take a peak at just the logically sense of the word. This fight isnt about a homosexual agenda to destroy the "religious" aspect of marriage. This has nothing to do with religion. It has to do with what the joining of two PEOPLE (who are both consenting, able to sign documents, give feedback, and have a say in what happens in their life). A tree isnt going to give feedback. It has no say. A dog cant tell you that she just had labor pains.
Its hard to separate the marriage through the state, and the marriage through religion because they are in essence the same thing because of ONE word. Marriage. If from the beginning they used the word Union, then that is what we would be fighting for, but its not. I am more than okay with the religious rite keeping their word "marriage" sanctified. Make the legal word Unioned and make anyone who wants state and federal benefits, obligations, exemptions, laws the same for all Peoplekind get that documentation. I dont care if they call it chopped suey. When my partner is sick, I wanna be able to see him. When or if I die early I want there to be no interference with him/her in getting the help they need. To make decisions, to comfort, to love. This isnt a ploy to take over what you think everyone thinks. This isnt taking your rights away. This is what should be done.
I wish that the author really focused on the legality of Marriage. The ownership of property, inheritance, acts of war; those are the more the arguments that we need to talk about. This about legal obligation for one another. A contract signed by both parties. A statement that they will love and care for another, with or without children.
Taking religion of the table makes you see that this isnt hurting anyone. This isnt to spite god. This isnt to ruin such a commonplace word as marriage.
If the the state were to believe everything that the followers of Jesus, or God, or any sentient being, what about those people who murder according to the lord. Are they exempt from LAW? No because religion doesnt and shouldnt be the backbone of an argument that has nothing to do it. Spouting rantings again wont solve anything.
I think its awesome how so many people quote the same passages over and over but never really say anything. ONE MAN ONE WOMAN UGH The passages that they often spew or all about sex. Written by MEN and only men. "he "knew" her" they "became one flesh" and after revised and revised it still isnt all that it should be. Love another another. Trust in yourself. Hurt no one.
I dont want your church to approve anything. I dont care about wearing white. I dont care if your "god" or any "god" approves the marriage that I want and deserve. I dont care about whether or not you think its bad for your beliefs. You dont have to like who i lie in bed with, who's shoulder I cry on, who's hand I grab during the scary parts of movies, and certainly who I walk down the aisle with.
Take a stand. Be daring. Accept that we are all just trying to live and love and show it.

2:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

continued:
I loved the points of the article. I was amused at some of them and shocked by others. So the write chose to talk more about ceremonial things instead of why we had marriage, and what they were originally used for. The Religious folks who spew off bible passages, or the people who want to talk about the taking on a cat/dog as a PARTNER, you have to learn to separate the teachings of a book or belief and that what should be law. In which we are "created equal" to share the same benefits as everyone. I think what I would have preferred if the author of the article chose leave the religious comments out, because it only gives them more fuel. But to write about that "marriage" is the marring of two things. A joining. I know that its hard for the religious people to put their differences aside and take a peak at just the logically sense of the word. This fight isnt about a homosexual agenda to destroy the "religious" aspect of marriage. This has nothing to do with religion. It has to do with what the joining of two PEOPLE (who are both consenting, able to sign documents, give feedback, and have a say in what happens in their life). A tree isnt going to give feedback. It has no say. A dog cant tell you that she just had labor pains.
Its hard to separate the marriage through the state, and the marriage through religion because they are in essence the same thing because of ONE word. Marriage. If from the beginning they used the word Union, then that is what we would be fighting for, but its not. I am more than okay with the religious rite keeping their word "marriage" sanctified. Make the legal word Unioned and make anyone who wants state and federal benefits, obligations, exemptions, laws the same for all Peoplekind get that documentation. I dont care if they call it chopped suey. When my partner is sick, I wanna be able to see him. When or if I die early I want there to be no interference with him/her in getting the help they need. To make decisions, to comfort, to love. This isnt a ploy to take over what you think everyone thinks. This isnt taking your rights away. This is what should be done.
I wish that the author really focused on the legality of Marriage. The ownership of property, inheritance, acts of war; those are the more the arguments that we need to talk about. This about legal obligation for one another. A contract signed by both parties. A statement that they will love and care for another, with or without children.
Taking religion of the table makes you see that this isnt hurting anyone. This isnt to spite god. This isnt to ruin such a commonplace word as marriage.
If the the state were to believe everything that the followers of Jesus, or God, or any sentient being, what about those people who murder according to the lord. Are they exempt from LAW? No because religion doesnt and shouldnt be the backbone of an argument that has nothing to do it. Spouting rantings again wont solve anything.

2:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

continued:
I loved the points of the article. I was amused at some of them and shocked by others. So the write chose to talk more about ceremonial things instead of why we had marriage, and what they were originally used for. The Religious folks who spew off bible passages, or the people who want to talk about the taking on a cat/dog as a PARTNER, you have to learn to separate the teachings of a book or belief and that what should be law. In which we are "created equal" to share the same benefits as everyone. I think what I would have preferred if the author of the article chose leave the religious comments out, because it only gives them more fuel. But to write about that "marriage" is the marring of two things. A joining. I know that its hard for the religious people to put their differences aside and take a peak at just the logically sense of the word. This fight isnt about a homosexual agenda to destroy the "religious" aspect of marriage. This has nothing to do with religion. It has to do with what the joining of two PEOPLE (who are both consenting, able to sign documents, give feedback, and have a say in what happens in their life). A tree isnt going to give feedback. It has no say. A dog cant tell you that she just had labor pains.

2:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

continued:
Its hard to separate the marriage through the state, and the marriage through religion because they are in essence the same thing because of ONE word. Marriage. If from the beginning they used the word Union, then that is what we would be fighting for, but its not. I am more than okay with the religious rite keeping their word "marriage" sanctified. Make the legal word Unioned and make anyone who wants state and federal benefits, obligations, exemptions, laws the same for all Peoplekind get that documentation. I dont care if they call it chopped suey. When my partner is sick, I wanna be able to see him. When or if I die early I want there to be no interference with him/her in getting the help they need. To make decisions, to comfort, to love. This isnt a ploy to take over what you think everyone thinks. This isnt taking your rights away. This is what should be done.
I wish that the author really focused on the legality of Marriage. The ownership of property, inheritance, acts of war; those are the more the arguments that we need to talk about. This about legal obligation for one another. A contract signed by both parties. A statement that they will love and care for another, with or without children.
Taking religion of the table makes you see that this isnt hurting anyone. This isnt to spite god. This isnt to ruin such a commonplace word as marriage.
If the the state were to believe everything that the followers of Jesus, or God, or any sentient being, what about those people who murder according to the lord. Are they exempt from LAW? No because religion doesnt and shouldnt be the backbone of an argument that has nothing to do it. Spouting rantings again wont solve anything.

2:25 PM  
Anonymous Robert Rea said...

There are, as has been pointed out, plenty of flaws in the historical research behind this article. However, the general point - that marriage is a continually changing institution that reflects the customs and mores of the society in which it is held - is valid. Specifically as regards legally recognised same-sex unions. Some respondents appear to believe that marriage has always and everywhere been about male/female couples. This is quite simply not so, as even basic research into the subject would reveal. Same-sex marriages were common in Ancient Greece and Rome, for example. There is evidence of formal same-sex unions in Asia, in pre-medieval Europe, and - yes, America - even in some Native American cultures. That's not even mentioning the many informal forms of same-sex union that were common in societies were the formal expression of such a union was prohibited by law. Same-sex unions or "marriages" are a historical fact and cannot be wished away by anyone.

7:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

and never forget the beautiful european tradition of middle european farmers... the couple had to produce a child first before they could marry. to asure that the woman was able to give birth to healthy children...

10:46 AM  
Anonymous C.R.G said...

Whatever your reason for marriage! No evidence of research. However, you want to walk down the isle in a white dress or simply have a concrete commitment or maybe you just want to make a statement to your family and friends or possibly you want to legalize your reason for pedophilia to feel better about your guilt, especially during a marriage. Whatever your reason i simple don't give a damn - it's your life! You're the one that has to live it in your own skin! So good luck! Marriage and divorce overrated! Why bother! Most people are deceitful anyway. I love a great relationship don't get me wrong! Marriage is arson waiting to happen! and the divorce that rips the family apart is the debris of such destroyed scattered fragments! That leave us devastated as children to deal with a insecure adulthood running into the arms of anther idiot! To repeat the cycle!

7:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Correct me if I'm wrong but the article hits hard on "fads" and "false traditions". Well in my opinion it is only stating that gay marriage is just another fad or "growth" with marriage. I completely believe, being a catholic man, that marriage should be between a man and a woman. Not because it has become some stereotypical thing based off of what we think to believe is right, but the fact that: Why would God put a man and a woman on this earth? Why would he not just put one sex one the planet and allow them to reproduce? He put man and woman here to come together to create. Also, in my opinion(yes opinion, I should be able to speak one so do not get defensive), those who are homosexual should not be part of any religion. Not because of the public excluding them, but if they were, that means they would believe in a God(and I mean any God) that would dub them sinners. They would just be a big hypocritical person/people. For the anonymous "queer" as he called himself, yes that is why the legal responsibilities are given to a man and a woman, BECAUSE, they can actually have children! Where in lies the confusion?
“I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11)”. We are Gods plan, why change it? If you do not believe in God then that is YOUR own belief and I respect it.

8:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i imagine you say 'don't get defensive' because when you speak your opinion many people are upset with your opinion. that is their opinion of your opinion. so don't get defensive but not *any* god. some of us don't subscribe to your skyfather and yet, we do have a divine god (and ess).

but i do understand where you are coming from - as a catholic you know that homosexual sex should never occur between two consenting adults. it should only be between the grown adult who has vowed celibacy and the small child he is raping.

9:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very interesting give and take in this discussion, overall.

But wait. Amused Citizen said, "Marriage has only been about love, versus financial security, for MAYBE 50 years."

Huh?

I am 60 yrs old, born in 1950. As a child I remember attending many weddings in our parish where the couples were obviously completely lovestruck.

My parents fell in love and married in the 40s. My grandparents fell in love and married in the 1910s. My great grandparents fell in love and married in the 1880s and 1890s. Certainly my family can't be the only one that married for love in over the past 100 years??

I felt positively ancient reading your remark, Amused Citizen.

6:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rhetorically speaking, since marriage is what I make of it, can I marry my dog? Can I marry my kitchen table?

12:47 PM  
Anonymous Joan said...

Did it ever occur to anyone that God may have intended population control with homosexuality? Just imagine if everyone past and present were breeders...

6:26 PM  
Anonymous myimaginaryfriendisbetterthanyours said...

@anonymous who wants to marry kitchen table - normally my response would be something of the ilk "as soon as you table can give legal consent but i've so had it with these ridiculous questions that instead let me say: yes, YOU can marry your dog who i am sure has a far better grasp of the term 'legal contract' than you do.

@joan - i think that might well be an evolutionary fact but the judeochristian god did specifically say 'be fruitful and multiply' and according to the catholics at least - that means without an impediment.

6:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

you can dance around the truth but the truth is still the truth.God's clear intention is marriage between one man and woman for life.

11:29 AM  
Anonymous this god is your god this god is my god said...

@anonymous spokesperson for god

WHO CARES?

these are not god's laws- give it up for caesar ya know?

12:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fascinating piece, but one historical error. "Sanctity of marriage" as a phrase appears in news articles at least back to 1977. It seems to have surged in 1992, and then again in 1996, and went on an upward trajectory ever since, peaking in 2003 around the time of the Massachusetts court decision in favor of gay marriage. Quotes of George Bush vowing to "defend the sanctity of marriage" may account for the spike that year.

2:48 PM  
OpenID danaelaurm said...

Interesting piece.
And anyone mentioning Sodom and Gomorrhah should note that the episode happens twice in the bible to another pair of cities. In both cases, there is no trace of the historical existence of these cities, they have as much substance as the bretons' Lyonesse.

4:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Excellent article, a perfect example of how people try to change or ban certain practices with having no knowledge of their correct origin or true historical meanings

12:00 PM  
Blogger Mary G said...

You KNOW.... the whole issue would be moot if the government simply did AWAY with laws that are affected by one's marital status. This is the ONLY reason all this bruhaha is necessary.

Do away with the tax benefits, do away with the automatic inheritance stuff (forcing everyone to write a will so the "state" doesn't take all your wealth/property), do away with the "marriage penalty" on IRS taxes, do away with ridiculous rules in hospitals about only "family" being able to be in the room (I'd MUCH rather have any one of my friends visit me than any of my siblings!).

The only reason this has become such an issue is because of laws that favor or penalize people's marital status. Change the laws such that everyone is treated individually, rather than relatively.

4:00 PM  
Blogger gary said...

The real question that we are not addressing is the fact that we allow the state to regulate marriage which should be a community and social institution not a legal one, a practice that also dates back to the idea of the marriage as an exchange of property!

6:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This article claims that the phrase "sanctity of marriage" only came to be in 2004 due to the push against gay marriage. However, I have heard that statement all of my life (which is much more than six years). And while marital customs have changed through generations, it doesn't make them holy or what God intended them to be. Judging God's will by the actions of man is as reasonable as judging someone's home life by the colour of their front door. That said, I think that marriages should not be left to the government to decide, but to the different religious institutions involved. Legal protections should be based on those individuals noted in formal, legal documents, regardless of gender, race, or religion.

9:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The answer is to get rid of marriage all together. It is a ridiculous institution. Love has nothing to do with it. The only reason it exists is for monetary or political reasons. In the past, as mention, for alliances between families or states. Now as a way for the state to collect more taxes and control peoples' lives. If it has to be kept for these reasons, the various religous institutions should be banned from participating in it at all. "GOD" has nothing to do with it so keep it out of religious hands!

5:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What ever happened to "Judge not lest ye be judged"
But Now I'm judging.....
I guess we're all going to hell?

4:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Why do Christians oppose gay marriage, because from what Jesus said, marriage is to be between one man and one woman as it was in the beginning."

I just love this. I call it the I'm-not-the-bigot-it's-Jesus-who's-the-bigot argument.

11:02 AM  
Blogger Carla said...

I found this to be rather freaking amazing. Bravo. I SHALL be sending it on.

7:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Since marriage is a legal concept and not bound by religion in most nations (eg. atheists can marry), then why is it surprising that equality is the word of the day?
I do not propose that all people sharing belief systems that require abandonment of rational thinking 'must' obey the rules of logic. Why, then, will those who chose to live without questioning not let the rest of us be? Being ignorant is a lifestyle choice.

9:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sure, open all the doors. Let people marry their dogs, their 7 year old brother, and people in a coma. Who are we to dictate what is right or wrong? If part of the ceremony they choose includes publicly consummating the union with their cat in front of children, then by golly no one should be allowed to stand in the way of their right to do so. If you want a line drawn anywhere, you are no better than someone who simply wants the line somewhere else.

7:01 AM  
Blogger Carla said...

"Sure, open all the doors. Let people marry their dogs, their 7 year old brother, and people in a coma."

Ahem, this would be called the slippery slope argument: http://lifeofcarla.blogspot.com/2010/08/slippery-slope-argument-and-gay.html

There are in fact logical reasons why bestiality and marrying children or coma patients are now and will always be illegal - consent.

11:48 AM  
Anonymous myimaginaryfriendisbetterthanyours said...

what part of "consent" gets confusing for you chuckleheads?

1:16 PM  
Anonymous Jesse said...

I am curious about the sources you used for your research. Please post sources. Your article sounds like a lot of spin.GOD bless

2:58 PM  
Blogger G-Force said...

I'm not against a diffrent view point but come on!!! Some of his facts are outright fabrications. It's okay to have a different view point but don't try and re-write history (not that some of what he says is wrong, they called it the dark a...ges for a reason) or change what the Bible does say about marriage. God doesn't refer to the Church as His bride and liken His relationship with mankind to a marriage because he wants cattle, or is hoping for some kind of strip tease. Come on folks... Just because he writes well doesn't mean you can ignore hundres of scriptures on marriage or forget that Jesus choose a wedding ceremony as the place for His first miracle. Lets use some common sense for Pete's sake.

3:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2gsGsN7J6vY

This video is relevant to this debate but it focuses more on the different types of marriages in different cultures.

1:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great article.

Marriage is a civil institution that strengthens society and that has nothing to do with the delusions of religion or hetero-dominancy. If the Christianists feel they need the sky fairy's magic touch they can go hire a priest-for-rent to enable their madness and perform that little drama.

Christianists use marriage in an attempt to subvert the separation of church and state, trying to forcefully institutionalize both heterosexuality and their sky fairy psychosis into society. They attempt to enforce the institutionalization of their dualistic psychosis through legislation and the corrupt politicians that they pay to represent them, in order to blur the lines between their psychosis and secular law.

Definition of psychosis: delusional belief system. Abnormal condition of mind. Loss of contact with reality. An illness that prevents people from being able to distinguish between reality and an imaginary world. Symptoms include irrational thoughts and fears, and often includes aggression.

2:28 PM  
Anonymous Victoria said...

What is a Christianist?

3:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Christianists are those people that attempt to impose their particular brand of sky fairy psychosis and the agendas/narratives that arise from it onto society as a whole through threats, aggression, bullying, violence, propaganda, political activism, political corruption, and the deliberate blurring of the boundaries between church and state for the gain of power, control, and oppression.

6:22 PM  
Anonymous myimaginaryfriendisbetterthanyours said...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christianism

"Christianism (or Christianist) is a pejorative term for the ideology of the Christian right, meant as a counterpoint to "Islamism".[1][2] Writing in 2005, the New York Times language columnist William Safire attributed the term (in its modern usage) to conservative blogger Andrew Sullivan, who wrote on June 1, 2003:
“ I have a new term for those on the fringes of the religious right who have used the Gospels to perpetuate their own aspirations for power, control and oppression: Christianists. They are as anathema to true Christians as the Islamists are to true Islam."[1] ”
The liberal bloggers Tristero and David Neiwert used the term shortly after.[3][4] Sullivan later expanded on his usage of the term in a Time magazine column.[5] Uses of the term can be found dating back to the seventeenth century, but these are unrelated to its modern meaning.[1]"

6:24 PM  
Anonymous Victoria said...

I couldn't figure out whether Christianist meant a particular Christian group or was just insulting in general. Though the use of sky-fairy should have tipped me off to the rude and insulting part. Funny how people who want everyone to be tolerant of their views can be intolerant of anyone who disagrees with them. I'm a believer in civil discourse, where everyone is free to express their views and yet remains respectful of others and their views.

7:11 PM  
Blogger Mike G said...

Doing a quick google scholar search, "sanctity of marriage" was used in a book in 1708.

http://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=6bwIAAAAQAAJ&oi=fnd&pg=PR1&dq=%22sanctity+of+marriage%22&ots=G1jOq-EfKm&sig=VKByuDJHo-qye2jhXQp8yJeN6eo#v=onepage&q=%22sanctity%20of%20marriage%22&f=false

Google's resources have grown in the last decade, so it's not surprising you missed this in earlier searches. I didn't bother to fact check anything else because the only difference in events would be that they have happened earlier or some interesting variations depending on location. It's frustrating to determine the veracity of facts in writing without citations.

11:34 AM  
Blogger Daniel said...

I have found a great product cure for this problem or to learn this Marriage Savior System.  My friend recommended me to visit http://tinyurl.com/urmarriagesaved

11:01 AM  
Blogger StylinGirl said...

Interesting read, if not original. What I just do not understand about this debate is why we have this debate to begin with.

"Marriage" is actually TWO processes - or rights- that should be separated. The religious "marriage" can be however your church wants it to be but the "marriage" that is viewed under the eyes of the law should not pry into the details- it should merely allow one human being to petition the court to allow another trusted human being to speak for them in matters of property and health, giving your trusted person access to your wishes and rights pertaining to those wishes under the law. That's it. No "Under God" needed at all unless you also choose to have this union recognized by your particular church with whatever language and implied meaning that church prescribes to.

2:11 PM  

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