This is my monthly column about our life, life in a triad in general, or whatever rants & raves I feel like talking about at the time.
Previous editions of this column can be found in the Monthly Columns Archives.
What makes a marriage?
As the debate surrounding same-sex marriage continues, I find myself beginning to question the very institution of marriage itself.
It's not that I don't believe in marriage, or think that it's something that should be done away with entirely. I think that marriage is something that can be sacred and beautiful. The symbol of a bond between two (or more) people, a joining of the souls. I also think that it's something that should be allowed to anyone who wishes, regardless of gender.
Unfortunately our society has taken the steps to ensure that the general population will eventually get married, at least once. From our youngest days we are raised to believe that our eventual goal is to meet that "someone special", settle down in the house with the white picket fence and raise 2.5 kids. Our economy is also established in such a way as to "dangle the carrot" of marriage in our faces. We allow tax breaks for "head of household", we make it easier to get a home or auto loan with two incomes, and child rearing is definitely looked upon more favorably in two parent households. Apparently children grow up to become homicidal maniacs when raised in single parent homes. Let's face it folks, marriage is much more than an institution - it's an industry.
This industry becomes even more tangled when religion enters into the picture. Who says that two people can't join hands (and souls) to live together as partners for the rest of their lives unless they do so "under the eyes of god"? The Church does. Who refuses to recognize said bond unless it's overseen by a duly authorized official or member of the clergy? The Church does. Who prohibits (in most of the United States) any union between members of the same sex? The Church does. Who, for all intents and purposes, defines what marriage is supposed to be? The Church does.
I'm not a particularly relgious person, I'll be the first to admit it. However, somewhere in the Bible there are references to "God is Love". If god is love, how can the love of two people be limited to only members of the opposite sex? If a man chooses to love another man, does that make him "evil" in the eyes of his god? If it does, maybe he should find another god. If two women feel themselves to be soul mates, and wish to spend the rest of their lives together, who are we to tell them they can't? Is our society so full of itself that we can presume to dictate what two consenting adults can do with their lives? I, for one, don't want someone telling me what I can do with my life. In a society where so many marriages are done solely for convenience, where the partners have no love whatsoever for each other, in which they sleep in separate beds, shouldn't we allow two people who truly love each other do so openly and honestly?
A citizen of the United States with no criminal record can own a handgun in less than three days, no questions asked. Yet two consenting adults of the same sex cannot publicly proclaim their love for each other and have it be legally recognized? Does anyone else see the flawed logic here?
Organized religion can be (and is) very benefical to many people. I would never presume to tell someone that their chosen method of expressing their spirituality is wrong. They, on the other hand, have absolutely no problem in telling me that living in a polyamorous relationship is not only wrong but sacrilegious. I'm damned to the eternal flames of purgatory simply because I have chosen to express my love as an individual, as I see fit.
The institution of marriage is definitely an integral part of our modern society. However, as so many other things have changed and adapted over the last several hundred years, so has what marriage means. Just as there are many archaic laws on the books in numerous states, perhaps the institution of marriage is long overdue for a redefinition. For people to continue to proclaim that marriage is solely a religious bond is no longer accurate. It's time for the marriage industry to operate the same way as other industries. Just think how much more revenue same-sex or polyamorous marriages would generate for the industry. Of course that would also hold true for the divorce industry, but that's a chance I'm willing to take.
~ Chias, January 30, 2007
folks have read this article.