Ever since Obama finally announced he supported legalizing gay marriage, a firestorm of requests for me to post on my blog about this have come cropping in over Facebook. Everybody knows I do my homework on this topic and have extensive knowledge when it comes to gay rights, history, the marriage and even the Bible in relation to marriage.
I can go over some concepts I have already discussed on this blog, such as how different translations change the meaning of expressions. As such, those English translations the religious love to throw around in defense of bigoted ideals, are actually the product of thousands of years of playing the “telephone game” with scripture. We do not know the exact wording of the Bible, in English, because the Greek, Hebrew and even Aramaic translations do not always form into direct English ideals. Therefore, the Bible translators had to guesstimate at the intent of the original writers of the Bible. Man had to guess at what ‘God’ meant and therefore, no one knows for sure what God really meant. I could discuss how the Bible was written by man, though it is supposed to be the word of God. We have no proof of this, so for all intents and purposes the Bible could be the will of the Biblical creators and not God. We do not know these people, and therefore only have their word that it is the word of God.
I will not go into further detail on either, as that has nothing to do with what I have to say in this post. The most interesting part of all of this bickering is one tiny thing that those who claim they follow the Biblical definition of marriage fail to consider. Marriage is not just a Christian concept. It is not only Christian. It belonged to other religious sects prior to the rise of Christianity. There was marriage in the Ancient civilizations of Greek, Egypt, China, Rome, Japan, and India. Pretty much anywhere there was civilization, marriage became a recognized practice. The idea of marriage back then is so unrecognizable from marriage of today I hasten to classify them as the same ceremony. I get irked whenever I hear the definition of marriage hasn’t changed in (insert random values from between 4000 to 6000 years). Honestly, it has changed so much it is virtually unrecognizable from the contractual obligation of power and continued bloodlines it was up until even the past century.
Even Christian marriages are different from the times of the Bible. Back then, men could have multiple wives. Wives were subservient. Love was not a reason for marriage. It was a contract and also a way to continue on the bloodline. Those who married and ended up unable to have children were not seen as someone who suffered from a medical condition. Rather, they were castigated and treated like outcasts. Some families even ripped their married partners apart, blaming the other for the lack of children (and, in turn, ruining their reputation), or others with even more power, like Henry VIII, who had his wives imprisoned or murdered for failing to bear him children.
Today, continuing on bloodlines is no longer of the same concern. Thanks to modern science people previously unable to have children are sometimes able to have children. In vitro allows for those unable to carry their own children to use donors to do it, and same-sex couples are even able to have biological descendants. Adoption is also an option that is looked upon in a much better light than it was in Biblical times. Those who opt to adopt as opposed to rearing children from their own bloodlines are looked on favorably, while those who cannot have children are no longer shunned from their communities and/or families.
If, indeed, the sole purpose of being married is to have children then anyone affected by the ban on same-sex marriages should be able to fulfill this duty. The point is that some couples do not want to have children, even those that are heterosexual. If having children was a requirement of marriage, then anyone beyond their birthing years would be forced to be single. A lot of people who choose to not have kids would be banned from the institution. The reasoning behind this is not logical because we all know, deep down, marriage is for so much more than bearing children! It is for companionship, love, security and sometimes even power, money, or to link powerful families. Some cultures even arrange marriages for the same reasons marriages once existed. However, today, love often seems to play a pivotal role in why people marry. Same sex couples HAVE that.
This brings me to why I am writing this. Marriage is not a Christian or Biblical institution. Marriage has been around long before the Bible was written. Ancient civilizations used marriage as a contract to bind together powerful families, to create dynasties, to elevate the status of certain families, and to forge alliances. Sometimes, love was an option, but this was usually reserved for the lower classes. Love existed often between men and their male lovers. Wives were for having children, making allies, and keeping their homes tidy. We have changed so much from this idea. We even let women vote, today!! What a fancy concept. We believe in equality. Our founders, even thought they did not practice it themselves, wrote into our Constitution about equal treatment for all. They believed everyone deserved the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Well, pursuing happiness does include marriage. So denying any specific pairing of consensual adults does not allow for the pursuit of happiness.
What is even more is that many cultures allowed gay marriages, gay coupling and saw such pairings as sacred. The early days of Christianity saw same-sex pairings as a Christian rite. They were not seen as negative, but rather, seen as something to celebrate. In America, same-sex marriage has been a part of life prior to the Europeans coming and taking over. The Native Americans, the true ancestors of this nation not only support same-sex pairings they looked HIGHLY upon those they called two-spirit. While two-spirit is now more closely associated with transgenderism, in some instances, it was the pairing of a same-sex couple, where one member took on the roles and responsibilities of the opposite gender. Two-spirits have married Native tribal chiefs and have been important members of the tribe, for as long as Native American tribes have been documented historically.
With this in mind, we can conclude that not only was same-sex marriage once an American tradition, but that it was an authentic tradition of the original inhabitants of America. Same-sex marriage may not be as American as Apple Pie, but it is as American as playing cowboy and indians, or watching westerns. For that, we must get over our convoluted belief that same-sex marriage is a new phenomenon. It’s not. The sooner people realize this, the sooner they can end their ridiculous opposition to two grown, loving, consenting adults sharing their lives and love with one another.
[tags]same-sex marriage, american tradition, marriage, marriage equality, history, native american, two-spirit, christian rite[/tags]