Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Redefining Marriage (History)

I always get a good rise whenever I hear some archconservative say that gay marriage "redefines" marriage. Oh, really? Well, what exactly is marriage? Just one man and one woman who love each other? Because that is not the way it has happened throughout history. In fact, marriage, for most cultures outside of the West, is not simply a contract between 2 heterosexuals in love.

In Kenya, for instance, there actually is a form of gay marriage (although it's not purely gay). In this ceremony, an infertile woman from the Nandi tribe can "marry" a younger, more fertile woman, and that younger woman will have sex with the man to have children (or produce boys, if I remember correctly). However, the 2 women who "marry" aren't actually in love, and it's more of a contractual arrangement for convenience. The younger woman, after she gives birth to at least one boy, is allowed to have sex with the man, and the older woman can no longer. She's more like a servant or caretaker now.

In many different cultures, like the Imbonggu in New Guinea, marriage is hardly for love. When children reach the ages of 7-10, they are initiated by the elders and trained to be warriors. At the end, they are selected wives. These wives, as all women, are considered inferior to the man in Imbonggu culture, and thus, she is limited in the marriage. The main purpose for the man is to have sex and have kids, as well as the woman serving as partially his "servant." There's not a lot of affection shown between the 2 spouses. And Imbonggu is one of many polygamous cultures, as men are allowed and even encouraged to have more than one wife.

Polygamy is still widely practiced in the developing and underdeveloped world. Men can have as many wives as possible, or they can have multiple, but there's a limit (such as Arab states that allow up to 4). Western romance and marriage rituals are not the norm worldwide. They are relatively new throughout human history.

In many cultures, marriage is more of an arrangement to unify and align different tribes. A member of one tribe marries another, and they form a bond of protection and kinship. They are allies.

In places like India, marriages are arranged, not necessarily for alliances, though. Many husbands and wives do learn to love each other later on, but oftentimes they do not at the beginning.

I could go on and on, but you get the picture. Western marriage rituals and traditions have hardly been normal. They are pretty new in the whole of human history. So, all this crap about "redefining marriage" is just nonsense! Marriage has been defined and redefined dozens of times throughout history. Not every civilization has the same definition. There is no "5,000 years of recorded history" of Western marriage. It's just not there. Where these cretins get this idea is beyond me.

Maybe if they'd take an anthropology class or something, they'd finally understand.

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