On an earlier post, I asked what justified denying committed homosexual couples the legal benefits and privileges of the civil marriage contract.
Basically the answer I got was because Homosexual relationships are fundamentally different and that the traditional concept of marriage was exclusively heterosexual.
At the time, I tried to focus the discussion on the simply legal issue. Those opposed to Gay Marriage kept coming back to their view of the traditional definition of marriage.
So what is marriage?
There is no argument that no society has defined marriage to include an exclusively single sex couple.
But that being said, the "Traditional" definition of marriage that the opponents of gay marriage is not that old.
Plural marriages, where a single husband had multiple wives, were common in the old testament, and polygamy was practiced in this country, mostly by Mormons, as recently as the 19 century. Polygamy is still practiced in many countries, particularly in some Muslim nations.
But even marriages between two and only two people have changed dramatically over time. We are not that far away, in our society, from arranged marriages, where the daughter was given in marriage by her father without ever having met her husband. We are not that far in time from legal structures where women were barely more than chattel in a marriage.
The "Traditional" definition of marriage that Gay Marriage opponents refer to was a reflection of the times. The status of women has changed dramatically changed over time. The availability of divorce has changed over time. The availability of marriages as civil contracts that were not consecrated before a cleric in an religious setting is relatively new as well.
Marriage is not an institution that has a fixed and immutable history or definition.
And Society has changed. Millions of committed gay couples live together with all the emotional commitments of hetero couples. They share lives, raise kids, and grow old together. Society accepts gays as fully capable and responsible members of society in ways that it never has before.
So why should the definition of marriage not change to reflect that change in society in the same way that the definition has changed over time as the status of women has changes?
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