The Electric Commentary

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

What Is The "Institution of Marriage?"

It sounds like a place where they lock you up with your spouse and monitor you for signs of mental illness. I spent much of the last two days bothering conservatives from Wisconsin on their blogs and attempting to get them to answer the following question:

If gay marriage was legalized, would it have any effect on your marriage?

Only one person (Dean), actually answered the question. (He correctly answered, "no.") But everyone else (including Dean) cited the damage that it would do to "the institution of marriage." I am unclear as to what constitutes the institution of marriage. Is it some generic term for the sum total of marriages in the country? I don't get it. I can't even think of any other non-ridiculous possibilities.

The question that I always ask is part of a deeper question. If it doesn't effect your marriage, why would it effect anyone's marriage? (Except for the marriages of gay people, obviously it would effect those.)

I make this point to argue against the point that banning gay marriage somehow "protects marriage." If no actual marriages are effected by the ban, than what exactly is being protected?

Well, Wisconsin went out and added a Constitutional amendment banning gay marriage anyway. This was not surprising, but I'm still shocked that enough fuss was made about this issue to actually amend the Constitution. I look forward to repealing this amendment in 20 years or so.

At least I got my gridlock. I predict that the gridlock will make the Dems look great and propel them into the presidency, at which point they will control the executive and legislative branches and start screwing stuff up.

But hey, two years are better than nothing.


  • i'll take a stab at the "institution of marriage" thing.

    first, i'll say that i don't think marriage should be legislated in any way, so i don't actually believe what i'm about to say, but i guess i can kinda sorta see peoples' points (not really, but i'll pretend to).

    the thing about marriage is that it's basically just a contract. except that it's much worse than a real contract, because it's a fuzzy contract, whose definition changes by state decree over time. (why anyone would want to sign such a contract is a bit beyond me, but i digress). my assumption is that when people talk about the "institution of marriage" they're actually referring to the "terms of the marriage contract as i understood them when i signed".

    i guess i could see how maybe it was an important (to them) part of their understanding that this contract set them apart from other people (and specifically gay people) in some way-- which added to their utility derived from signing the contract. now that the contract has changed (in their perception), maybe they feel they wouldn't have signed it?

    yeah, nevermind... that doesn't make any sense either. people are stupid.

    By Blogger ahren, at 11:55 AM  

  • On the gridlock: Uh, go McCain? The best hope for continued gridlock in 2008?

    As for "the institution of marriage", they probably can't explain it because "institution of marriage" is probably mainly rhetoric, but I think I can hypothesize why the rhetoric resonates with some people. Now I'm not saying this is my position, but this is what I've picked up from my conservative taunting:

    I think "the institution of marriage" is the tradition of marriage and its reflection of conservative values. To them marriage is a holy and sacred bond that represents family values and how society should be structured. Because many of them view homosexuality as immoral and dirty, calling a homosexual union "marriage" would marr this view of marriage. To them marriage is seen as the "moral" and "pure" love between a man and a woman and not a "sinful" relationship between two people of the same gender. So marriage would be damaged like an institution just as the church could be damaged by sexual molestation by priests and the cover-up.

    So you probably struggle to get see their point because your underlying views (of marriage and of homosexuality) are so far from theirs.

    By Blogger Scott H, at 12:13 PM  

  • I think that marriage - and particularly monogamy - are really just around to mitigate the female demand for alpha males. This is probably a good thing though, because it would seem to encourage more diversity in the gene pool.

    By Anonymous Rashid Z. Muhammad, at 2:02 PM  

  • What's sad is, the day that 7 states passed amendments to "protect marriage" from committed gay couples, there were bigger news headlines about Britney Spears' filing for divorce, ending her second marriage. Well at least this one lasted more than 55 hours!

    By Blogger pirschen43, at 12:23 AM  

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