Beyond The Patriarchal Structuring of Marriage

I want to marry my partner.  It’s funny in a way we regularly propose to each other, asking each other, “Will you marry me…”

We are secular humanists to the core, atheist most of the time with perhaps a twinge of agnosticism.  My closest relationship with anything that anyone might remotely consider spiritual is my using Gaia the way others use “Mother Nature”.

The only times we have ever been in a church together was for Tina’s mother’s funeral…  Oh and we saw Kate Clinton perform at the Dallas Unitarian Church on Preston…

As churches go the Unitarians are perhaps the least obnoxious, their secular humanism refreshing.

Since we haven’t any relationship with religion that means we aren’t likely to ever say vows before a minister and ask some imaginary sky fairy to bless our union.

Tina put her foot down to my idea of getting married by an Elvis impersonator in “The Chapel of Love”

California or perhaps Massachusetts.  I know people in both places who I could ask to act as a witness and take pictures. Civil ceremony and perhaps dinner with friends afterward, perhaps even strung out over the year with any “honeymoon” being in the process of getting there and back.

We’re two old women so those hoping to cash in on the Bridezilla straight super hyped phenomena lose out.  So do the “Wedding Planners” and the “Wedding Industry”.

No overpriced gowns… Perhaps something nice that we might wear to dinner in a fancy establishment or to a special event such as a museum show opening.

I’ve never understood the parodying of straights with one woman in gown and the other in a tux.

One of the subtexts of the anti-same sex marriage messages is that gender i.e. husband and wife roles are vital to maintaining “traditional marriage”.  It is helpful to unpack the subtext to understand this one. In traditional marriage the role of the husband is as head of the house and the role of the wife is as subordinate to the husband. He gets to make the decisions; she gets to obey the husband in what is a very hierarchical structure.

Back in the progressive 1970s, before the rise of the Christo-fascist ultra right wing, when feminism was actually taken seriously, women started to challenge these patriarchal religious mandated roles.  Ms. became the title for many of us and Miss/Mrs. started looking rather dated to say the least.

With both men and women working, housework and child rearing  were subject to negotiations, rather than the automatic presumption that both were the task of  women.

One of the reasons the religious fanatics object to same sex marriage is that it is also seen as “same-gender” and offers an example of how egalitarian relationships can function rather than gender mandated hierarchical  relationships.

The John Lennon/Yoko Ono song “Woman is the Nigger of the World” made the point that no matter how lowly the status of the man he can still look down on and order his wife around.

What lesbians and gay people bring to the table is the history of relationship between equals.  This is affirmed in our using the term, “life partner”. I for one would hate to see us buy into the heterosexual model of husband and wife. Particularly as I want a partner who is both and neither.        With Tina I have a life partner who loves me as an equal.

I have noticed how the supporters of inequality seem hesitant to talk about love in a relationship.  Instead they prefer to babble on about tradition and the importance of different sex partners as parents.

Perhaps the fact that so many conservative religious folks are such utter failures at marriage as reflected in the far higher rates of divorce in the red states of the Bible Belt than in the supposedly licentious blue states of the liberal north east and west coast.  Maybe those liberals are on to something with their talk about love and equality rather than tradition, rigid roles and duty.

Rather than love and relationships among equals the traditional marriage seems almost an anachronism, a throwback to the days when marriages were based on economic inequality and were used as a means to unite family alliances and property.

One custom I find particularly anachronistic is the idea that women should take their husband’s last name.  This idea hearkens to a past when marriage united two people into one and that one was the husband, therefore the wife became part of him and carried his name.

In a marriage of equals there should be no need for either to take on the name of the other. The granting of all the legally recognized privileges that assist people in maintaining a long term relationship should be validation enough.

Beneath all its ritualized and ceremonial trappings marriage only a  legal contract. People should be free to enter that legally binding contract in a manner that is austere or elaborate. The license is “civil marriage”, nothing more, nothing less.

The rituals and ceremonies are just that, meaningless as far as legal standing without the civil marriage part.  Ask all those gay and lesbian people who found they were legal strangers in spite of their commitment ceremonies.

On the other hand if a “Story Book” “Princess Bride” fantasy floats your boat… Go for it.

Climate Change

It has been near or over 100F since the beginning of July.

Here in Texas we have a standard summer greeting, “Hot enough for ya?”

Well here’s a couple summer theme songs.

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