Undermining marriage

Tom Tomorrow’s This Modern World on the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision (yesterday) guaranteeing marriage as a right for same-sex couples throughout the United States:

Scalia insists that marriage has been unchanged for centuries, so that it must continue to be unchanged; two observers dispute the claim of changelessness. (Meanwhile, essentially all of the Republican candidates for President frame their opposition as being to “a redefinition of marriage“, as if this were a matter of words rather than things, and appeal to a definition that they see as given by God — He doesn’t recognize same-sex marriage — and not by lawyers or judges.)

Note the observers’ objections to the claim of changelessness: the repeal of miscegenation laws (obviously) and (equally important, I think, but not sufficiently appreciated) “that whole ‘wife as chattel’ business”: the long, hard history of women’s rights, in which a woman gradually moved from being viewed as the ward, or even property, of a man — her father, until she marries (“who gives this woman to be married to this man?”, with no parallel role for the groom’s father, or mother, for that matter, in the wedding ceremony), at which point she becomes the ward, or property, of her husband — to being viewed, for the most part (the revolution is not yet fully over), as an independent actor, equal to the men in her life. Over a great many years, as women gained rights (to enter into contracts on their own, to vote, and so on), the nature of the marital relationship changed profoundly.

One Response to “Undermining marriage”

  1. Diogenes Arktos Says:

    (1) I remember a recent comment (notorious RBG, I think) who said that marriage equality qua LGBT needed to have sufficient marriage equality qua M/F established first.
    (2) Technically, there were some straights who did not marry but only because there was no marriage equality — but that was really a horse of a rainbow hue.

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