Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Love, Marriage, Civil Unions, and Sex

Not necessarily in that order.

It seems to me that marriage as we know it is getting phased out. Everyone is arguing about legal unions vs. marriages,  and fighting over the meaning of the word marriage, whether it does or does not require the presence of both sexes in it for it to be called a marriage. It should not be so complicated, and I have invented a future in which all these issues are simplified. Remember the Fifties of the last century? It was simple then too. There was a song then that went (you have heard it):

"Love and marriage, love and marriage
Go together like a horse and carriage" 

Frank Sinatra sang this in 1956, and it was a hit.  I was about twelve.  I think probably in 1956 love and marriage did go together like a horse and carriage. In fact in those days there were people alive who could actually remember horses and carriages to compare them with love and marriages.  But since then Big Change has happened:  women don't need men anymore to get pregnant, just their sperm; men and women no longer unite to complement each other's life-generating skills--both spouses, whether straight or gay, can earn money and buy the things and services once made at home or provided by their spouses, and neither possess the skills needed for living without money (few do, anymore).

And another fundamental change has occurred.  Traditionally, marriages have been for raising children:  why then should not gay couples raising children claim the marriage state as their own?  Isn't a loving couple who raises children the very definition of a marriage?  No, it is not.  Many married people do not have and do not want children. Yet I would want to call them married simply because they want to be with each other, and love each other.  May the marriage of true minds never admit impediments--like that.

Currently, all sorts of disparate relationships unite disparate people, yet marriage must mean one thing, and one thing only, for all to comprehend the word's meaning. In my future post-apocolyptic world, I would limit rather than expand the meaning of marriage. Marriage would be strictly reserved for one thing, and that would be love. Only those who love each other would actually marry (regardless of sex or age or other irrelevancies), and they would do it in a wholly private ceremony, one which is never governmental or legalized in any way.  Marriage would be society's most honored, highly sought, and cherished state, for it would be based on love.  Love would be held that high.  Get politics out of love's domain.

Governments, on the contrary, would preside over and legalize civil unions.  Of these there would be unlimited kinds.  Both married and unmarried couples who feel their relationship might benefit from governmental and legal protection might seek civil unions--voluntarily of course.  Unions of the married and unmarried kind involving children would be given the name parental unions--as in "they have a parental [understood civil] union:"  Families are the products of these. Anyone raising minor children would be eligible for it--and its members need not live together, though they might do so if they so choose.  Couples or larger groups (such as four unmarried siblings raising a child) who would be eligible for these are various, and precedents exist in literature in abundance:  Anne of Green Gable's adoptive parents who become her mother and father certainly would call theirs a parental union in my new world; but they are brother and sister, though the author does come out and tell you this to begin with.  The young couples' "marriages" in The Count of Monte Cristo are basically social and economic contracts arranged by their parents, which reflecti an 18th century world view for aristocrats which discarded love as an essential for marriage.  Not in my future world--to my mind, Monte Cristo style "marriages" would be just one of many kinds of civil unions which sometimes do and sometimes do not involve sex, and sometimes do and sometimes do not produce heirs to inherit family wealth and pass it along.

Sex (by which is meant sexual relationship) in fact really does not enter in, as far as considering it prerequisite for marriage in my new world goes--in that world marriage considers only love, remember. Sexual expression of love between married people, on the other hand, is wholly a private matter, and only that. Get politics out of sex's sacred domain.

In that world, as now, some people would love each other and want to live together and not bother getting married. But in that world, not as now, only civil unions would be legal, for these alone would  grant legal protection for the married and unmarried people and their children alike. In that world, no one would ever have to disclose to anyone--especially not governments--whether they were married or not; and when parents had raised a tax-payer to adulthood under a civil union (married or not) they would qualify for a pension. What? It would increase the deficit? But isn't it pure abuse of the parental instinct, plain and simple,  to expect parents to do the huge job parenthood entails without remuneration, just because they would do it anyway, pension or no pension? Are not parents at the mercy of their instincts? Expect such long, hard work from parents for nothing? I think not! Get politics into supporting parents' hard, hard work!

Now you get the picture.

No comments:

Post a Comment