Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Ruth Institute Redefines Marriage

Ruth Institute (a division of National Organization for Marriage) is stuck with the same problem that the US Conference of Catholic Bishops endures. There does not exist a coherent secular argument in opposition to marriage equality. Ever since Massachusetts legalized same-sex marriage, more than eight years ago, the Church has been trying to convince everyone else that gay marriage puts an end to civilization as we know it.

When the very Catholic country of Spain passed marriage equality a year after it went into effect in Massachusetts, the Church lost its collective mind. After all, Spain's constitution even recognizes the importance of the Roman Catholic Church. What could possibly be next?

Somewhere along the line, some guy had a "eureka." The Church should redefine marriage to create a secular objection to marriage equality and claim that gays were intent on redefining marriage. It's actually a pretty intelligent form of cognitive dissonance except that it has a limited shelf life. As time goes by, the tactic is increasingly less successful as more people figure out what the Church is doing. Furthermore, with time, it becomes increasingly obvious that the world is not coming to an end.

Now I don't pretend to know what Adam and Eve had in mind     other than good sex of course. What I do know, to a reasonable degree of certainty, is that the purpose for marriage, for about 2,500 years (or longer), has been to create a marital estate. The prime property of that estate, for a considerable portion of recorded history, was the woman herself. Around the time that Mark Anthony and Cleopatra discovered oral sex (at least I'll give them credit for that), a woman was the property of her father. Upon marriage, ownership of the female participant was conveyed to her new husband along with any property that she had, or would have in the future.

The assets have changed     women are no longer chattel     but marriage remains first and foremost about shared assets and their disposition should the marriage fail or if one partner died. Unfortunately for the Church, it's hard to make a compelling case to oppose gay marriage out of asset conveyance.

The "eureka" was to claim that the reason for
marriage was procreation.

That guy was an evil genius because this introduced the potential for all sorts of soapy appeals "in the interest of defenseless children." Not only does marriage have nothing to do with procreation but children have absolutely nothing to do with marriage equality. Gay marriage doesn't change the custody of a single kid. Yet, an awful lot of people seem to  believe otherwise.

Back to Ruth Institute, in a blog post today, manufacturing all of the calamities of same-sex marriage, they have a chance to put some boots into the bullshit. Indeed they are already into the next batch of fertilizer with "gendered" vs. "genderless" marriage:
Unfortunately, the change from gendered marriage to genderless marriage will bring about the most sweeping and uncompassionate power grab of the State into family life we have ever witnessed.It’s because we will be replacing an objective, pre-political reason for marriage (procreation of children, and public recognition of parents’ attachment to them) with a subjective, state-defined one (love, equality, time spent with the child, etc). 
 I don't claim to know what a "pre-political reason" is. I do know that men and women have a gender irrespective of whom they marry. I also know that, eventually, even the Church must come to the realization that things change. They don't have to like gay marriage but they can stop looking so damned foolish through mindless and purposeless opposition.
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