Saturday, September 7, 2013

Same Sex Marriage vs. Traditional Marriage

Created on: February 12, 2008   Last Updated: January 19, 2009

Marriage is a hot topic on the political scene these days.  On one side, people are fighting in order to force the government to allow same-sex couples to marry.  On the other side is a group of people fighting to preserve so-called "traditional marriage", even going so far as to demand a Constitutional Amendment to defend the sanctity of marriage as they see it - "one man, one woman".

The problem with both sides of this argument is that both groups see the U.S. Federal Government as the defining authority on the proper structure of a family.  The notion that people must get special permission from politicians they have never met before making a personal vow to another person of their choice should strike everyone as being completely insane!

Those who seek to "legalize" gay marriage are not doing so by demanding that the government get out of the marriage business, but by begging them for approval and the ability to acquire a license.  These are the arguments of slaves.

On the other side, are a group of people who are under the erroneous assumption that marriage has always been as it is now, and this is patently false.  Many of these people use their Christian faith as a justification for marriage being between one man and one woman.  From a historical perspective, this is complete nonsense.

The oldest forms of marriages were marriages of families or clans not merely two people. Often they were conducted more for the benefit of the families, their businesses, their farms, their estates, and inheritance rights than for the happiness of the couple.
The Judeo-Christian concept of marriage which is the foundation for marriage in the west has evolved far from its original concept. Originally Jews as well as Christians were free to practice polygamy. Today, certain sects of Jews as well as many Muslims continue the practice.  In fact, the law of Moses (the Old Testament for Christians), in some cases REQUIRES polygamy for sake of protecting widows and orphans.  
Polygamy was banned by the Vatican after several centuries of Christian practice.
Later, a German rabbi announced a ban on the practice. This ban was accepted by Ashkenazi Jews, but no other sects accepted it... nor were they probably even aware of it.
Three reasons are given for the Jewish ban on polygamy. One was that because of their state of exile it was difficult for men to provide for more than one wife (this seems an unlikely reason). Another was that because of the exile, men were having multiple wives in different countries, and thus not taking care of their obligations to their previous wives. Lastly, the Christian ban on polygamy resulted in persecutions against non-Christians who continued the practice, and the decree was made for the sake of the safety of Jewish populations. It is also generally accepted that since Jews consider themselves to be "exiles" living in host countries, that they are bound to the laws of those countries. The latter reason seems to be the most likely reason for the ban, considering that there are several situations where the Bible/Torah REQUIRES polygamy (e.g. the Leverite marriage, where a brother is required to marry his brother's widow should he die or be killed). It's unlikely that Jewish halakhic authorities would negate a commandment from the Bible, without threat of death.
Early American settlers were of many different belief systems and sects and practiced many forms of marriage. The modern bans on polygamy are very recent and are designed for the sole purpose of simplifying tax law!
The idea that "traditional marriage" is one man and one woman is erroneous. We have allowed government authorities and bureaucracies to dictate the terms of a religious practice and whether one approves or disapproves of polygamy, polygyny, gay marriage, or any other variant, one must admit that the doctrine of separation between Church and State is clearly violated through the approved modes of marriage found in Title 26 USC (the Internal Revenue Code).  That's right, the delegated Constitutional power that government uses to claim authority over who can marry whom is the authority to levy a tax on income.  This should make people on both sides of this issue sick to their stomachs.  This should cause us all to stop and think "how in the hell did we get here?"  

The solution to this issue is in the adoption of the idea that we do not own other people, nor are we the property of others.  No one has the authority to tell two consenting adults whether they can vow to spend their lives together, nor does any grown adult have the obligation to seek permission from anyone before doing the same. 

Learn more about this author, Larry Smart.

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