Marriage Myths Busted

D’oh! Some more kooky myths bite the dust…

It’s heartening to hear people of faith speaking out against the bigotry that discriminates against legal equality for those with different sexual orientation.

18 Replies to “Marriage Myths Busted”

  1. My American Episcopal (Anglican) church has a gay priest who has been in a 12 year relationship. Our newly elected bishop is asking that all gay clergy in relationships to get married/civil unioned so that their relationships are taken as seriously as straight priests.

    In Canada, the Anglican Church is still struggling over what to do with gay members who have been married. Right now the bishops allow clergy to have a celebratory Eucharist, but not administer a blessing or marriage ceremony. But most expect that to change within a few years.

    It’s pretty sad that only the shrill right-wingers get all the attention.

  2. I’m not sure why they get so furiously exercised over it.

    There are basic rights that everyone is entitled to and if society is going to institutionalize some of those around marriage then it seems unfair to exclude some people strictly on the basis of gender-based sexual affiliation.

    Really, it’s just as simple as that.

    Now, whether those “basic rights” (which are in some cases preferential) should properly be attached to marriage is another, more complex and probably legitimate question for debate.

  3. It’s the revisionist history that drives me crazy.

    Marriage wasn’t a religious, and particularly not a Christian, institution. St. Paul said that marriage was for the weak willed, and early Christians generally frowned on sex because they thought the Second Coming was imminent.

    The church was finally forced to perform it as the Roman Empire collapsed and the church took over many state functions. Even then, most people simply formed “common law” marriages. Clergy started blessing common law marriages in the 12th Century but it wasn’t until the Council of Trent in the 16th Century that the church proclaimed that marriage ceremonies must be performed, and in the presence of a priest. In the 18th Century the English parliament passed the Marriage Act of 1753 the same thing, though with a Church of England priest (Jews and Quakers exempted).

    So this idea that somehow it is a God given institution is bogus.

  4. Indeed, 6 years of de facto legal or fully legislated legal gay marriage in Canada and the sky hasn’t fallen.

    It lays bare the lies and bald bigotry. For most of those against it, stopping gay marriage punishing people for being gay, not protecting marriage.

    How far has marriage come in even 100 years?

    A century ago, rape was a tort – you were stealing sexual property of a husband or father – not a crime like assault. Because marriage was almost always about property and wealth, not love and children. It was until about a century ago, about maintaining familial or clan wealth and power.

    Historical revisionism usually comes from people who forget that they forgot (as Jane Jacobs liked to put it) they knew something.

    And someday, they will forget what all the fuss around gay marriage was.


  5. Same sex marriage I think has gained way to much press and too much, well, notariety, from the right side of the political spectrum and in society generally.

    The problems of the loss of marriage and family as an “institution” may be affected, indirectly, by the concept of gay marriage – only insofar as it trivializes the concept of marriage and family to a simple arrangement where two people (or more in a polygamous relationship) decide to live together..without more.

    In reality – it should be so much more – however (speaking as a lawyer who profits from it) Divorce and Family Law generally have probably been a much more catastrophic change to our social environment than gay marriage could ever be.

    The idea that marriage is an arrangement of temporary convenience for the immediate gratification of the participants, and that, in fact, our government gives very real financial rewards to leave a marriage is a much more funadamentally damaging issue that we really ignore at our peril.

    It is curious that the speakers in the video suggest they can “prove” the sky isn’t falling. The problem is, subtle social change doesn’t reveal it’s true impact until many, many years – sometimes generations – later.

    Will same-sex marriage have negative impacts on the broaders society? By itself, probably not – but such is the problem with connecting government with theology – it misses the real point so often. Better we perhaps seriously look at the way in which we deal with the disposal of marriages than their creation – and other anti-family initiatives that governments have created and which they seem to be intent on creating in the future (have you read “It Takes a Village”?)

  6. Rob — I’ve tried tackling this issue before from the perspective of divorce and, funnily enough, social conservatives seem inclined to walk away from that aspect as being something a lost battle…

    Essentially, my point was that maybe straights need to get our own house in order before condemning those who (it’s claimed) would undermine the moral foundations of marriage… Which, of course, is always equated with “family” and other wholesomely good values.

  7. How can the “concept of marriage” be further trivialized? For most of human history, marriages were arranged to cement family alliances. Whether the couple had any feelings toward each other or desired to have children was irrelevant. It has always been a property arrangement or political alliance first and foremost.

    The “concept” of marriage being love-based is a recent development, thanks to the Troubadours of the 12th Century.

    As for marriage being a “temporary” arrangement, that is still a better arrangement than in the past when unwanted wives would simply disappear, or as in the case of Henry VIII, lose their heads.

    Finally, the economy is much more anti-family than the government. Kids are expensive to have and no longer provide a return on investment in terms of free labour. So they are a net burden, rather than a blessing, from a materialistic point of view. Until the economic system changes, the incentive to have children will be low. (Which on our overcrowded planet, probably isn’t a bad thing.)

  8. The United Church has been on top of this issue (even ahead of the average Joe Canadian for the most part).

    I find it highly interesting how there are indeed many churches that support same-sex marriage. Yet, with characteristic liberal reservation, these churches have not been overly vocal about this support. Many of us fear the accusation that we’re “forcing our beliefs” on the general populace or mixing religion and politics–which is mostly frowned upon by the so-called secular left.

  9. According to the Canadian Council on Social Development the cost of raising a child (0-18 yrs. old) is $167,000. By this estimate, I’ve expended $.7 million thusfar in my lifetime on kids.

    Well, that certainly explains a lot…

    So no, there’s not a great deal of financial incentive to have kids. Not a good ROI there.

  10. “The idea that marriage is an arrangement of temporary convenience ..”

    I’m not sure whom you think really believes this. Most gay people who wish to marry are in it for the long haul…and have been together even with out equality before the law regarding marriage.

    Of course the ultimate answer is to get the government and the state completely out of the marriage business and provide incentives to individuals only. It is really none of their business. As for benefits, merely allow someone to designate whomever they want to be their dependents and beneficiaries. For every person with 3 wives and 12 children, there will be 10 single people with no dependents to even it out.

    People should be free to make whatever social arrangements they choose without state interference.

    Social engineering is a bad idea whether its done by the so-called left or the so-called right (rules and incentives that favour one brand of social arrangement such as monogamous opposite sex marriage are, by definition, social engineering).

  11. Of course the ultimate answer is to get the government and the state completely out of the marriage business and provide incentives to individuals only.

    *rolls eyes*

    Do you ever get tired of this?

  12. Negation can’t be the answer to everything. That way simply leads to anarchism… or nihilism. I’m not sure which — maybe both. This seems to be a problem that libertarians stumble over all the time.

  13. Rob,

    I think the biggest problems with marriage and divorce and custody in our society are not caused by the attitude that marriage is temporary, but from two problems; by the left over attitudes from hundreds of years ago that women and children are property to be fought over or punished for leaving; and by the lawyers and courts that make it an adversarial process.

    I know several people who have had divorces and custody fights and the process is so mind-crushingly slow and horrendously painful for everyone concerned, it really does make it worse.

    The laws are pretty damn clear with regards to property assets and debts splits and spousal support and child support and yet I know more people than I can count who have spent YEARS in court settling this crap. Simple and easy has cost them thousands in fees. And more emotional bullshit than I care to tell.

    Custody fights are even worse with people yelling about how they have a right to their kids like they are some sort of prize pony, and then the kid goes to visit for the weekend and ends up sitting in the basement staring at the walls, not allowed to do what they want.

    Cause they are property, no opinions allowed.

    Lawyers are worse, allowing clients to think they can suggest leaving their ex in poverty if they just keep fighting. Taking on clients who clearly only want revenge and have no intention of settling.

    If gays and lesbians want to be married, great, but let’s not pretend that there won’t be many of the same issues in their community and in their divorces and custody fights.

  14. The reality is that we have hundreds of years of legislation, jurisprudence and corporate policy built around the ‘institution” of marriage. If you got rid of it, many laws and court decisions would have to be revisited.

    A few U.S. states tried to declare civil unions equivalent to marriage, but couples (straight and gay) who tried to access the same rights as married couples were denied, for all kinds of reasons.

    It is what we have in place and from a legal standpoint, it works well enough.

  15. It is what we have in place and from a legal standpoint, it works well enough.

    That’s because you’re a product of social engineering that has engineered you to adopt a system of thought that prevents you from seeing that you are slave to the State.


  16. “If gays and lesbians want to be married, great, but let’s not pretend that there won’t be many of the same issues in their community and in their divorces and custody fights.”

    Umm. Duh?

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