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How important is marriage to you?


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I'm wondering how important you all think getting married is.

I agree that we (everyone on the planet) should have the right to be married, and we should fight for it. but nonetheless if this was a perfect world and you had the right, would you actually get married?

The concept of having my love, my partnership blessed by a stranger seems weird. I don't have a faith per se. I was brought up C of E (Church of England) which is protestant ... whatever that means. Now, if anything, I'd consider myself a Buddhist.

Surely marriage is just a bygone social convention?

It's nice to have a day to celebrate. And it might be nice to cough up vast fortunes to have people you don't really know, and don't really want to know, fly in from all over and eat your food. If that's your thing fine. But it's not mine.

What are your opinions?


edited to correct bad English :omg:

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I think that you need to define 'marriage' before you decide what it means to you.

Are you thinking of the ceremony? Or are you thinking of the committement to your partner?

If you think total committement to your partner is marriage, then a ceremony is redundant, but if you think the ceremony itself is marriage, there may be a good reason for 'tying the knot' in that way.

If you drive carefully and safely on the roads without considering 'the law', it is a wholly different way to drive than if you drive while only considering 'the law' and its consequences on you if you get caught breaking it. You may drive the same way, but the committement is totally different. I think the ceremony need is the same as needing traffic laws in order to keep you behaving 'correctly'.

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To me, marriage is three things:

a) A public statement that two people want to share the rest of their lives together,

b) A ceremony (often religious) that provides the 'blessing' of the community on the relationship of two people,

c) A legal state providing a wide range of benefits and obligations (both to each person in the relationship, and for any children that may become involved).

The last of these is what same-sex marriage advocates are campaigning for, and it is the second that is used as a major objection. Until people can separate out these, there will always be confusion and arguments.

Technically, the first two of these are already available in any country where homosexuality is legal. It is the third, and the social impact in giving same-sex relationships a legal standing, that is the contentious issue.

As for the original question... I'm married and have been for almost 16 years and I see no reason to change that. I believe that being "married" has helped our relationship as it provides an extra incentive to keep things together for those times when things got rocky. Without the legal complication of separation/divorce and the societal expectation of marriage, it would've been easier to throw in the towel when there were difficulties.

When I came out to my wife, she saw a counsellor that specialised in helping women married to gay men. One of the things the counsellor said is that many gay relationships are less stable because when they have a fight, one of the guys would go off an have an affair. I personally objected to that broad generalisation, but I have to concede that without the societal pressure for fidelity implied by marriage, it would certainly be easier for same-sex relationships to break-up. I don't believe gay relationships are intrinsically less stable, but marriage and the general expectations of society support "traditional" relationships and they don't do the same for same-sex relationships, and that is a significant difference.

All my opinion only, of course.


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My boss, knowing that my partner and I have been together for over 30 years, asked me only last week what I thought about gay marriage. She wanted to know if I would marry him.

My rather short and somewhat terse reply was:

"Only as a political statement and of course for any economic benefits."

This had desired effect of getting her to shut-up.

I too tend towards a Buddhist philosophical approach to life,

So I guess if it does no harm I don't have an objection to marriage.

My partner is somewhat more resistant. To this question he replied, "You're joking! Right?" And we both burst out laughing.

Marriage is something that grew up in societies so men could keep (mark) their property (the wife).

Most societies have attached some kind of (at least) common law benefits to a couple being married.

Religions by their very nature use marriage to enforce doctrine, and doctrine to enforce marriage.

The most repugnant being to "marry for the sake of the children," as this marks the kids as the property of the marriage.

Some societies also have marriages where multiple partners can be married.

Sounds like a legal orgy room doesn't it?

I think it is also important to remember that faithfulness is something that is often not followed, married or not. I have seen people remain faithfull until they marry.

My grandparents would never have considered not marrying or being unfaithful.

My mother and her sister really believed in marriage. They both did it 3 times.

Elizabeth Taylor believed in marriage.

Marriage to me seems to be used to try to keep two people in a civilised bond.

At present marriage is a emotional bond manipulated by day time soap operas to keep viewers hooked to watching the show.

Relationships are many and varied. I think we should allow each other the room to grow.

For an old hippy like me, "Love is setting another person free."

That is not always easy or possible especially, if they feel trapped as so often happens in a "marriage."

So divorce can often be the first steps to personal liberty.

Ah well there are a few thoughts to fuel the debate.

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Marriage means nothing to Tim or I. Apparently it means nothing to the Straights, who are so against 'Gay Marriage', either tho as they've turned it into a turnstyle for new wives and husbands.

We believe in commitment and the word marriage doesn't mean that. We prefer the term 'gay union'. I think if we dropped the demands to use the word marriage, we'd find it easier to gain number three on Graemes list. The other two we have through our own actions.


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It's interesting that this topic has come up on the AD forums, as just the other day, I had a similar discussion with the president of my university. He had some interesting (but radical) views on the subject of marriage, and I found myself agreeing with many of his points.

He (I shall sometimes refer to him as LBott) feels that marriage should be completely removed from the state, for all sexes, genders, races, etc.

Rather than just remove religious or secular connotations from marriage or from civil unions, the government should simply remove all economical, federal and social benefits to being married. Meaning, either tax benefits to married couples should be extended to couples who have been co-habbiting for a certain amount of time, or simply withdraw it all together. LBott was of the opinion that social values of marriage put undue pressure on people to enter into marriage.

He was in favor of private religious ceremonies, but he felt that the state should have no part in them and they should have no effect on state bearings.

Though radical, if you consider the subtle differences from other proposals, LBott's idea makes significantly more sense. Religious groups would have no grounds to base their claims of opposition on. After all, we live in a SECULAR state (well, we're meant to anyway). It would also mean that straight couples would have no extra benefits that weren't avaliable to gay couples and vice versa.

It is extreme, to simply do away with deeply entrenched tax benefits and legal rights such as inherritance tax and next of kin issues, but it would lead to a more equal environment. Perhaps even a more stable one, once people stopped prematurely entering into legal contracts which they're not prepared to adhere to. And by that of course, I'm referring to the growing divorce rate in Western culture.

Anyway, what do you think about it?

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I can certainly see the point, and it is valid, but how would you 'start the ball rolling' on this. There are so many people who have decades invested in marriage and the benefits therefrom, that it would likely be a nightmare to achieve this.

On a vaguely similar note, I don't think young people and old people should get cheaper admission prices: they take the same room/seats as middle aged adults.

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My understanding is that there is at least one European country (I think it's the Netherlands) where marriage is strictly secular. A couple can have a religious ceremony if they want, but they will not be considered legally married until they attend the appropriate government office and fill in the paperwork.

We're diverging from the original purpose of the thread, but the local politicians and other community leaders here in Australia have made a lot of noise about marriage before the purpose of raising children. I've looked at this and I can see the point. I then have this lovely daydream about changing the legislation to not allow couples to get married until either one partner is pregnant, or they have children (eg. adoption, fostering or children from a previous relationship).

After the various religious leaders have a fit of apolexy at the idea of REQUIRING sex before marriage, they'd realise that the religious ceremony of marriage can still take place even if the government doesn't recognise it. Once that happens, then society starts to split the two concepts (the religious institution and the raising of children) and the focus goes back to what they claim marriage is all about.

It's only a daydream. I would prefer society to recognise all commited relationship, not just those with children, but if marriage is about raising the next generation then it should be open to all who are doing so (regardless of the sexes of the couple concerned) and should be denied who are not doing that job.

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I can certainly see the point, and it is valid, but how would you 'start the ball rolling' on this. There are so many people who have decades invested in marriage and the benefits therefrom, that it would likely be a nightmare to achieve this.

Well, obviously, we could start by electing him president of the US, not just my university :icon13:. Ahem. But seriously, you're right. It would be a nightmare to try to coordinate and achieve. But not impossible. I doubt though that such a plan could ever be put into action, at least not any time in the near future, due to all of the resistence that would no doubt be kicked up by religious organisations and by supporters of current marriage policy.

On a vaguely similar note, I don't think young people and old people should get cheaper admission prices: they take the same room/seats as middle aged adults.

I think this is a very different subject. Young and elderly people are offered cheaper admission prices and amneties based on the (usually correct) view that they don't earn as much (if any at all) and so have fewer resources with which to support themselves than regular adults. Student fares exsit because people realise that students can't have full time jobs and can't afford to pay such high prices with such regularity. Therefore, it makes sense for companies to have amneties for students and the elderly to gain a smaller proffit--but still a proffit.

Marriage can't really be compared to something like this as it's not based on financial status or ability to earn.

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