Gay marriage. Lesbian marriage. Transgender marriage. "Irregular marriage." "Non-traditional marriage." Lord, its becoming so that this marriage thing is more complex than understanding the inner workings of the atom or Einstein's theory of relativity. But the fact is that Marriage Equality is now the law of the land and the so-called "Queer Community" must be thrilled. Me? I think that the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) just handed a great victory to a minority strata in the country whose "rights" were routinely violated.
Whether the SCOTUS got it right or wrong only time will tell. But, its added another confusing set of complexities to the national marriage debate. Now, let me say from the onset that I'm not against any individual as consenting adults marrying each other or cohabiting and engaging in whatever sexual practices they are inclined to -- in the comfort of their bedrooms.
My rights, as an individual, and my rights as a member of the MAJORITY in the United States must also be respected. Gay marriage, although a legitimate right granted by the SCOTUS, does not and cannot supersede the rights of the majority. The gay community has not reached enough "critical mass" that it constitutes a majority of the US population of over 350 million. I can respect your rights as a gay or lesbian couple, to marry, adopt children etc., - but I don't have to like it or embrace it. That's my personal choice.
The Gay Rights Movement is the product of an affluent, non-grassroots population with disposable incomes and strong media contacts. It is a movement founded in the "better neighborhoods" of the United States by people who wanted legitimacy to live together in unorthodox -- from a traditional societal position -- relations and be accepted by mainstream society. That's the crux of the struggle.
And don't ever; ever tell me that the Gay Rights Struggle was just as the Civil Rights Struggle. Not even close. I did not see police dogs, water canons, vicious police dogs, lynchings, beatings and gays and lesbians refused to be served in Manhattan's swanky restaurants. That's because this was a small, but vocal and organized, section of the population demanding that they be heard.
At its core the gay struggle was against traditional, religious based concepts of marriage and the unorthodoxy of gay marriage with all of its complexities. In a corresponding and symbiotic way this struggle also mirrored the historical issues of traditional marriages. But I can't help but be concerned about the slippery slope that the SCOTUS may have created.
The SCOTUS ruling, besides giving a victory to the gay community had fundamentally has radically redefined and interpreted the very notion concept of the institution of marriage. And, in my humble view, it's a slippery slope because there will be other minority groups who will want their marriage rights upheld and recognized by US laws and validated by the Supreme Court.
What, for example, is to prevent closet polygamists from wanting their strong and religious based belief in having two or 10 wives, validated and blessed by the SCOTUS? As farfetched as this seems now, remember, it was the same with gay marriage and marriage equality. 15 years ago nobody felt or could imagine that in 2015 the SCOTUS would deliver this kind of ruling in favor of gay rights and marriage.
Indeed, marriage has gone through many evolutions and still mean different things to different cultures and peoples. The popular moonstruck view of a man and a woman pledging eternal love may be the current definition of marriage, but this starry-eyed picture has very modern origins. Though marriage has ancient roots, until recently love had very little to do with it.
What marriage historically had in common was that it really was not about the relationship between the man and the woman. It was a way of getting in-laws, of making alliances, and expanding the family's labor force. So the fact is that early the forms of marriage had to do with economics and prestige in society, rather than love and affection.
In this pre-modern scenario traditional family plots of land gave way to growing market economies and ruling monarchs ceded power to budding democracies, transforming the notion of marriage. Today, most Americans see marriage as a bond between equals that's based on love and companionship. That changing definition contributed to the rise of same-sex marriage culminating in the SCOTUS striking down the narrow Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and dismissed a case concerning Proposition 8.
Here are some of the complexities of marriage and the roles they played in today's modern concept of marriage and its ever-evolving construct. Marriage Equality is therefore just one more milestone, change or, if you will, evolution, along the road. We can be sure that other dispensations and constructs will be forthcoming and develop out of changing social economic and class relations, as we deal with the socio-economic structure within the United States.
Early marriage was a strategic alliance between families, with the youngsters of both families having no say in the matter. This form of arranged marriage is still prevelant in some Eastern countries and religions. In some Eastern cultures, parents would regularly marry one child to the spirit of a deceased child in order to strengthen familial bonds.
Keeping alliances within the family was also quite common and formed the bedrock of many early forms of marriage. For example, in the Bible, the forefathers Isaac and Jacob married cousins and Abraham married his half-sister. Cousin marriages remain common throughout the world, particularly in the Middle East. In fact the majority of all marriages throughout human history were between first and second cousins.