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March 09, 2004



I think you're on the right track in your take on Eve's ideas, but both of you ignore - or seem to - the long-range historical differences in what marriage is. If we really want to talk about foundational structures then I think other forms of families that have existed in history are important. They have not been as widespread as the more familiar one-man-one-woman form we recognize today, but they have existed.

Polygamy, polyandry, group marriage, rotating marriages, harems and acceptance of homosexual lovers in addition to marriage.

What has come down through Western law, tradition and religion has been highly modified by those entities; it has changed throughout history. So any claim that marriage is somehow a static, Platonic ideal handed down from antiquity is absolutely flawed.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that there is no one "old" world view of marriage, but many. We just happen to be in one of those strange historical periods where only one view is predominant.


That's a good point. EJ Graff has written a wonderful book discussing the history of marriage (focusing mainly on "the West"). One point that comes across strong is every change in marriage is accompanied by people saying "but, it's always been this way and if you change it you will destroy marriage", etc. Yet marriage has adapted, and the very fact that it has adpated is what has allowed it to survive and maintain its importance.

In this post, I was trying to focus on the current "views" of marriage as it relates to same-sex marriage. In partiuclar I tried to focus mainly on my own view of marriage since I don't want to put words in others' mouths. The varied historical views, though, are important to keep in mind. Thanks.

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