Today, the Supreme Court will hear a challenge to the federal Defense of Marriage Act, a day after it heard Hollingsworth v. Perry, about California’s Proposition 8, which outlawed same-sex marriage in that state. The Hollingsworth audio is worth a listen if you have an hour. There are a lot of things that stand out about the arguments, and I’ll be writing about them in various places around the internet (hopefully) today and tomorrow. But one piece that, unsurprisingly, was hammered by Mr. Cooper, the attorney for the anti-marriage-equality side, was the idea that marriage has always been a certain way, and allowing same-sex couples to marry would change the entire institution in a way that had never been seen before. Which is kinda true, except of course that same-sex marriage is already legal in a bunch of places and Armageddon has not arrived. And also, marriage has been fundamentally changed in ways never seen before dozens (hundreds?) of times over. The vast majority of folks who crow about their support for traditional marriage are in (or seek to be in, or support) decidedly un-traditional marriages. So for all the female proponents of “traditional marriage,” I hope you are following these rules:
1. You were a virgin before marriage. If not, you should probably be put to death.
2. Upon marriage, you meld your entire identity into your husband. That means you have no checking account, no credit cards, no personal property and no right to file a lawsuit. That includes suing for divorce.
3. You cannot say no to having sex with your husband. If you do say no and he rapes you, it’s not really rape.
4. If your husband hits you, that’s his right, and it’s a personal problem, not assault.
5. If you’re raped before you’re married, you’d better have been a virgin — otherwise it’s not really rape. In any event, your rapist will pay your father for property damage, you’ll marry your rapist and all will be well.
6. If your husband dies and you haven’t given birth to a son, there’s an easy fix: You have to marry your brother-in-law. Oh and he has total sexual control over your.
7. You can only marry someone of your same race and religious faith; interracial or interfaith marriages are immoral and unnatural. Which shouldn’t be a problem, since your dad will choose your husband anyway.
There are many more, but the take-away is this: There’s no such thing as traditional marriage; it depends on when you want to stop the clock. Marriage has been evolving and changing for centuries. Allowing same-sex couples to marry will be one of the least disruptive changes marriage has ever seen.
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