Now is not the first time marriage has come under sanctimonious scrutinyI recently was asked why I didn’t write about real societal issues. I then asked what they considered a real issue these days.
By: Bernie Hughes, Superior Telegram
I recently was asked why I didn’t write about real societal issues. I then asked what they considered a real issue these days. The answer was marriage. The problems, she said, was that more people are living together and for longer periods without the legal authorization. Some are not legally since they are not a male and female couple; two of the same sex just isn’t right. I thought this was a church issue, but was told that wasn’t always a necessity.
I don’t feel truly qualified to discuss marriage although I’ve been married for 64 years of my life. I lost my first wife, Jean, after 54 years when a brain tumor took her away. After three plus years, I was fortunate enough to find another great woman, Joyce. Marriage has been very good for me; I heartily endorse it, but I decided to give it additional thought. Heterosexual marriage is a recent issue but there have been others as I learned from a 1998 sermon by a North Carolina minister:
For a long, long time blood relations (incest) has been seen as an impediment, except for royalty .(Did that help or hinder them?)
During the Spanish Inquisition, marriage rights were denied to Jews and slaves.
In Colonial Virginia, the only people who could get married were Anglicans.
Slaves in America weren’t allowed to get married and people thought it was immoral when done under rites of their native lands.
In 1887, Pennsylvania raised the minimum age from 10 to 15.
In 1924, Virginia passed a law against interracial marriage to preserve the integrity of the white race.
In Hitler’s regime, Germans were forbidden to marry Jews and required to prove they were “genetically clean” to marry.
In 1997, Congress passed the Defense of Marriage Act defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman.
So it hasn’t always been smooth sailing for the sanctity of marriage. There have always been more taboos for women and expectations for those who bear children and do hard work.
We know that it has become legal for homosexual couples in certain U.S. states. They have been thought of as “gay” couples and for a long time many people thought that this was unnatural and an adopted behavior they chose, rather than innate.
After more study, it was agreed this was true in the animal kingdom as well and so innate has became more generally acceptable.
From my point of view, this relatively new practice has a long range benefit. Jared Diamond in his book, Collapse, points out that as the population of earth is increasing more rapidly and resources are increasingly depleting, this collapse is inevitable unless we change course. The same sex couples will seemingly assist in slowing down our population increase although adoptions will be a limiting factor.
The other aspect of the instigator of this column was the increasing number of people living together without marriage. From my point of view, this is only a matter of importance to the two individuals. Unless we come to believe that laws or church practice prevents this option, why become excited?
Conservatives are constantly condemning the growing aspect of government and rising taxes. Legal and additional enforcement practices would certainly add to government costs. My conclusion is to leave well enough alone.
Bernie Hughes, Ed.D, is a retired educator who resides in Superior. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.