Much is in the news lately about marriage. Exactly whom can one marry? Can a guy marry a guy, a doll marry a doll, a man marry two women, or a woman marry two men?
My question is, "Why not?" Most arguments against non-traditional marriages (though polygamy is certainly traditional, isn't it?) are one of two types:
1. Marriage is ordained of God to be between a man and a woman.
2. Non traditional marriages would wreck the institution. I mean, what would happen if a gay couple married and then decided to separate?
Argument number one is simply not so. Religious texts seem to support a rather more open idea of marriage. One in which, if you're a king, you can have 1000 wives and concubines, or as in the case of more recent times, 27. All the fulminations against anything but one man one woman are all fairly recent, and in fact, God hasn't commented on it at all, at least not to me.
Marriage has until recently been about property rights and bloodlines and inheritances. If you were the Duke of Omnium, you needed to know who was yours so you could decide who got the money and who had to go into the priesthood. Nobody cared about the lower orders; they weren't much more than animals anyway, and if they married, why, jumping over a broomstick was good enough for them. It's only recently, in fact, that love has even entered into the occasion.
Argument number two is bogus also. How can we wreck something that is in shambles anyway? When two younguns get married, it's with a 50/50 expectation that they'll be divorced before it's all over. I suspect that statistics among gay couples are certainly no worse, and probably better.
We might even speculate on when marriage began. Currently, the earliest true human is believed to be a woman, puckishly named "Eve," who lived 800,000 years ago, give or take,
Was she married? Certainly not (who would perform the ceremony?). What about her offspring. Nope also.
So, when did marriage enter the picture? I'd guess, shooting from the hip, that it was about the time that two ideas emerged: property and clergy. Which would mean that for most of the time we've been human, there hasn't been such a thing as marriage.
It would be scary and tragic if the same flowering of humanity that gave us Lascaux also gave us marriage.