Contributor Post Created with Sketch. No-Fault Divorce and Prenuptial Agreements

 

I have written next to nothing on same-sex civil marriage — not because I am thrilled at the prospect, but largely because I regard it as a relatively unimportant symptom of a much larger malady. Take a look at this brief but telling piece on the blog of The Spectator, and I think that you will see what I mean. Here is a taste of the argument on offer:

A friend of mine, quite a distinguished lawyer, takes the view that marriage ceased to make sense after no-fault divorces came in. What, he says sternly, is the point of a contract when there’s no sanction if you break it? Well, quite.

But if no-fault divorce pretty well invalidates marriage after the event, prenups do quite a good job of undermining it beforehand. The point of marriage is that it’s meant to be a lifetime affair – the hint being in the ‘til death do us part’ bit – and the point of prenups is that they make provision for the thing ending before it even gets underway. You’re putting your assets out of the reach of the spouse before you’ve got round to endowing her with all your worldly goods, if the Anglican service is your bag.

And here is a bit more:

The one thing, though, that prenups do have going for them is that they encourage an element of frankness in conversations between engaged couples which is, I think, rather healthy. It would be rather useful if couples were to talk less honeymoon and more money, income, assets and who’s earning what when children turn up, before the event. (And in this context, view me as an object lesson; it didn’t even occur to me to think finance before I married.)

Indeed, it’d be handy if would-be spouses talked more about all sorts of things. A friend of mine runs Catholic pre-marriage courses and one trick in his book is that he gets the assembled couples to shut their eyes and hold up their fingers to represent the number of children they’d like. And it’s remarkable, not just that couples differ – four versus two say – but that, when they open their eyes, they’re rather surprised by what their intended seems to want. As for the religion, if any, of the offspring…you’d be surprised how rarely they get round to talking through that too.

Prenups are an outward sign of one of the most troubling elements of the culture: our collective inability to make binding promises, ones that commit us into the future. But the plain speaking involved…that’s something even the properly committed can learn from.

If I do not regard same-sex civil marriage as a great threat to the institution, it is because I think that we lost sight of what marriage is all about quite some time ago.

Here is something further to chew on. No-fault divorce had its origins in the early 1950s in Oklahoma —”the buckle on the Bible belt” — and its chief advocates were Baptist ministers who feared that making divorce awkward and difficult would promote that worst of all evils — drum roll, please: fornication.

What resulted was a system of serial civil monogamy. When I left Oklahoma for Hillsdale seven years ago, Oklahoma ranked first in the nation in divorce — not because Oklahomans were especially given to fornication and adultery, but because they were especially given to what we now mistakenly think of as marriage. Those who merely shack up never end up in divorce court.

The last time I checked, however, the Baptist ministers in Oklahoma were beginning to have doubts as to whether serial monogamy is the best response to Wanderlust, and they were talking about introducing something akin to the pre-Cana conferences required of Catholics who want to get married in the Church. Having gone through these conferences when I was preparing to marry the woman who became the mother of my four children, I can say that we were forced to confront all of the practical questions singled out in the quotea above — and, let me add, it was a damned good thing. Erotic longing may be necessary for forming a lasting marriage, but it is far from sufficient.

One final comment. In ancient Greece and Rome, the marriage ceremony (which had legal force) consisted of an agreement between the bride’s father and the prospective husband — in which the former said to the latter, “I give you this woman for the procreation of legitimate children.” This is surely not the entire story. There is a reason why the Christian Church shoved the bride’s father aside and grounded marriage in a covenant between husband and wife. But the the logic underpinning pagan Greek and Roman practice is, I believe, an essential part of the story, and all of the Christian churches used to be in agreement in this regard (along with Jews and Muslims of every stripe). To this day, Catholic priests refuse to marry a young man and a young woman unwilling to declare that they are open to having children.

Think about the matter from a purely political perspective. Why would the political community have any interest in marriage at all were it not somehow bound up with the polity’s survival? Why would marriage not simply be an entirely private matter unworthy of public notice? And if the procreation and rearing of children is, from a political perspective, the end and purpose of marriage and the only reason why it receives public sanction, how could it be sensible to make provision for no-fault divorce and prenuptial agreements?

After all, children need stable homes in which marriages last for decades. When we substituted for “until death do us part” the rubric “until things get awkward or inconvenient for at least one of us,” we decided to subordinate the welfare of our offspring to our own whims and desires, and we in effect abolished civil marriage as it has existed from at least the time of Hammurabi and put something else in its place.

If, as now seems to be the case, wedlock is nothing more than a temporary arrangement designed to serve the convenience and pleasure of the parties concerned, then there is no reason why it should not be available to any two, three, four, or five human beings who think that they might gain advantage or amusement from it. Same-sex civil marriage is nothing more than a ratification of what we as a nation have already done — and, as the folks who run the entertainment industry seem to understand, legalized polygamy comes next.

Perhaps the real reason why so many Americans find same-sex civil marriage anathema is that to accept it is to acknowledge what we have already done.

There are 140 comments.

  1. Paul A. Rahe Contributor
    Paul A. Rahe

    Here is another way to make my point. These days most Americans worship at the equivalent of the place on the outskirts of the Stanford campus that calls itself Ananda: The Church of Self-Realization. Marriage — if you can call it — is merely an instrument for self-realization.

    • #1
    • March 3, 2014, at 5:10 AM PST
    • Like
  2. Merina Smith Inactive

    Well marriage isn’t meaningless for many rather large communities, some of which are looking at a tremendous loss of religious freedom. We are also seeing lots of odd things going on in schools in the wake of redefining marriage, regarding choosing gender and bathrooms, counseling about sexual issues, interfering with parental authority and all the rest. As many of us have been arguing in thread after thread, this does matter. It is not just a small thing in a long line of worse things. It means fewer kids will be raised by their own Mom and Dad. It means an explosion of artificial reproductive technologies that will them be considered normal as the Hanby article on The Federalist pointed out. Sorry, Paul, but I just can’t agree with you.

    • #2
    • March 3, 2014, at 5:16 AM PST
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  3. flownover Inactive

    Thanks Dr.Rahe

    I appreciate your argument as much as I rue it. Can we add a very lazy judiciary to the overall ease of divorce ? 

    As for the SSM portion and the erosion of our defense , it goes hand in hand with the declining numbers of the church partially assisted by an active government program of substitution for their services . 

    I imagine that redemption is a concept that a couple of the DC secular clerisy is working on it right now.

    • #3
    • March 3, 2014, at 5:16 AM PST
    • 1 like
  4. Profile Photo Member
    Paul A. Rahe:

    Perhaps the real reason why so many Americans find same-sex civil marriage anathema is that to accept it is to acknowledge what we have already done. · · 13 minutes ago

    Quite. Still, I’d be a bit more careful with the “we” talk. I think a lot of the opposition comes from people who were not around during the changes to marriage in the 50s and 60s, but who grew up once it was too late and suffered a great deal in their childhoods as a result. If they could go back and fix what previous generations did, they would; as is, they can only fight the current fight, and they fight it with passion because they have seen the damage already done.

    Maybe it is too late, maybe what’s done is done, but “we” weren’t around to fight for marriage then, so we will at least try to get some shot at closure, if not victory, by fighting for what remains of marriage now.

    In any case, thank you very much for a great post!

    • #4
    • March 3, 2014, at 5:23 AM PST
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  5. KC Mulville Inactive

    In addition, one must ask that if the legal and social understandings of marriage do not require or even address procreation … what does?

    If the proponents of SSM successfully remove procreation as an integral part of the idea of marriage, what do they propose in its place? 

    Of immediate practical concern – without marriage, does the law or society place any responsibility on the man for the procreation of children? Or on women, for that matter? If we remove the notion of family responsibility from the marriage contract, from where is it supposed to come?

    • #5
    • March 3, 2014, at 5:25 AM PST
    • 1 like
  6. Matt Bartle Member
    Matt Bartle Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    When NY State was debating SSM a while back, a familiar argument was something like, “How could same sex marriage be worse than what we already have, where celebrities get married for a week and then divorce, or people have multiple divorces and remarriages?”

    It was hard to argue.

    • #6
    • March 3, 2014, at 5:26 AM PST
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  7. Profile Photo Member
    Merina Smith: We are also seeing lots of odd things going on in schools in the wake of redefining marriage, regarding choosing gender and bathrooms, counseling about sexual issues, interfering with parental authority and all the rest. As many of us have been arguing in thread after thread, this does matter. It is not just a small thing in a long line of worse things. It means fewer kids will be raised by their own Mom and Dad. It means an explosion of artificial reproductive technologies that will them be considered normal as the Hanby article on The Federalist pointed out. Sorry, Paul, but I just can’t agree with you. · 11 minutes ago

    Right on. The true progressive goal wasn’t to destroy marriage, they wanted to destroy the family, and marriage was just a very close substitute. Now that they have succeeded in undermining marriage, the idea of family lingers on, so they have to go further, and undermine even more basic realities, like the male-female distinction, the parent-child bond, or the right to act out your religious principles. They will never stop until there are no intermediaries at all between the individual and the state.

    • #7
    • March 3, 2014, at 5:34 AM PST
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  8. Paul A. Rahe Contributor
    Paul A. Rahe
    Merina Smith: Well marriage isn’t meaningless for many rather large communities, some of which are looking at a tremendous loss of religious freedom. We are also seeing lots of odd things going on in schools in the wake of redefining marriage, regarding choosing gender and bathrooms, counseling about sexual issues, interfering with parental authority and all the rest. As many of us have been arguing in thread after thread, this does matter. It is not just a small thing in a long line of worse things. It means fewer kids will be raised by their own Mom and Dad. It means an explosion of artificial reproductive technologies that will them be considered normal as the Hanby article on The Federalist pointed out. Sorry, Paul, but I just can’t agree with you. · 16 minutes ago

    Same-sex marriage did not create this system. It was in place already. In any case, in a society in which 40% of children do not know their father . . . well, think about it.

    • #8
    • March 3, 2014, at 5:34 AM PST
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  9. Paul A. Rahe Contributor
    Paul A. Rahe
    KC Mulville: In addition, one must ask that if the legal and social understandings of marriage do not require or even address procreation … what does?

    If the proponents of SSM successfully remove procreation as an integral part of the idea of marriage, what do they propose in its place? 

    Of immediate practical concern – without marriage, does the law or society place any responsibility on the man for the procreation of children? Or on women, for that matter? If we remove the notion of family responsibility from the marriage contract, from where is it supposed to come? · 9 minutes ago

    Excellent questions. Those who worship in the church of self-realization do not like responsibility.

    • #9
    • March 3, 2014, at 5:36 AM PST
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  10. Paul A. Rahe Contributor
    Paul A. Rahe
    Matthew Bartle: When NY State was debating SSM a while back, a familiar argument was something like, “How could same sex marriage be worse than what we already have, where celebrities get married for a week and then divorce, or people have multiple divorces and remarriages?”

    It was hard to argue. · 9 minutes ago

    Alas, what is needed is a general societal recovery of the traditional understanding of marriage and its connection with procreation and the rearing of children.

    • #10
    • March 3, 2014, at 5:40 AM PST
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  11. L.T. Rahe Inactive

    The view, promoted by the media, that emotional gratification is the fundamental purpose of marriage, will give rise to these problems.

    • #11
    • March 3, 2014, at 5:54 AM PST
    • 1 like
  12. D.C. McAllister Inactive
    KC Mulville: one must ask that if thelegal and social understandings of marriage do not require or even address procreation … what does?

    If the proponents of SSMsuccessfully remove procreationas an integral part of the idea of marriage, what do they propose in its place? 

    Your’s is one view. There is another, just as legit, I believe. Marriage is a covenant before God that the two people—a man and a woman (not a man and a man, or a woman and a woman)—will become one flesh not only in body but in spirit to bring glory to God through bearing his image in the oneness and completion that comes from the masculine and feminine joining. This is a vow, a contract, that is rooted in a commitment to find companionship only in that other person. This completion, this oneness, can only be had between a man and a woman. Then, together, they rule over the earth as its stewards. This committed joining, this completion, this covenantal union–for the purpose of bringing glory to God by reflecting his image–is the primary purpose of marriage. The secondary purpose is having children. You can have a marriage without children.

    • #12
    • March 3, 2014, at 5:54 AM PST
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  13. Ed G. Member
    Ed G. Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member
    KC Mulville: In addition, one must ask that if the legal and social understandings of marriage do not require or even address procreation … what does?

    If the proponents of SSM successfully remove procreation as an integral part of the idea of marriage, what do they propose in its place? 

    Of immediate practical concern – without marriage, does the law or society place any responsibility on the man for the procreation of children? Or on women, for that matter? If we remove the notion of family responsibility from the marriage contract, from where is it supposed to come? · 17 minutes ago

    KC, I’ve been beating that particular drum for quite some time. I suppose that necessity will mean we create a new institution from scratch that will deal with such matters as family and biological obligation. I fear, though, that the classically liberal types like we at Ricochet won’t like the replacement one bit.

    • #13
    • March 3, 2014, at 6:02 AM PST
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  14. Israel P. Inactive

    I agree completely regarding “no-fault” divorce. Butdisagree regarding pre-nups. What SP says below is correct but not complete.

    Scarlet Pimpernel:

    Those more versed than I am in Jewish law would know more, but I believe that it’s fair to say that the Ketubah is a pre-nup of a particular kind. It was a protection for the wife, I believe. Perhaps it equalized things more than Bloom admits.

    A ketubah is also (chiefly!) protection for the children of the wife, in the event that the man takes another after her death or divorce.

    Of course the problem today is that the ketubah is treated as a ritual document rather than a serious contract and that is largely the result of other developments in modern society, modern jurisprudence and a whole load of cynicism.

    • #14
    • March 3, 2014, at 6:03 AM PST
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  15. Goldgeller Member
    Paul A. Rahe: 

    If, as now seems to be the case, wedlock is nothing more than a temporary arrangement designed to serve the convenience and pleasure of the parties concerned … and, as the folks who run the entertainment industry seem to understand, legalized polygamy comes next.

    Great post. Really! One thing I wonder about with marriage and children– does welfare have anything to do with it? Your point about marriage being about children rings true to me, but hasn’t the state “picked up the tab” on the children? Or at least, claimed to do so? “You don’t need both parents, we [the State] will send you some money.” In that sense… a woman has a great incentive to kick a dead-beat father (I hesitate to say “dad”) out and a dead-beat father has less of an incentive to try and get his act together. What for? If anything, getting a good job in many cases may mean losing more in benefits than his wage makes up. 

    • #15
    • March 3, 2014, at 6:03 AM PST
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  16. Merina Smith Inactive

    That does not mean it cannot make things infinitely worse.

    Paul A. Rahe
    Merina Smith: Well marriage isn’t meaningless for many rather large communities, some of which are looking at a tremendous loss of religious freedom. We are also seeing lots of odd things going on in schools in the wake of redefining marriage, regarding choosing gender and bathrooms, counseling about sexual issues, interfering with parental authority and all the rest. As many of us have been arguing in thread after thread, this does matter. It is not just a small thing in a long line of worse things. It means fewer kids will be raised by their own Mom and Dad. It means an explosion of artificial reproductive technologies that will them be considered normal as the Hanby article on The Federalist pointed out. Sorry, Paul, but I just can’t agree with you. · 16 minutes ago

    Same-sex marriage did not create this system. It was in place already. In any case, in a society in which 40% of children do not know their father . . . well, think about it. · 36 minutes ago

    • #16
    • March 3, 2014, at 6:06 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  17. Fredösphere Member
    Fredösphere Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Paul, your point dovetails neatly with an argument I’ve made regarding covenant marriage (which is a proposal to allow couples to enter into a binding marriage contract, 50s-style). Which is, that the greatest advantage to the covenant marriage option would be to force couples with mismatched expectations to confront their differences before the wedding. (“Wait, what do you mean youdon’t want a covenant marriage?!”) I believe at least one person unimpressed by covenant marriage had a change of mind when I put that argument forward.

    • #17
    • March 3, 2014, at 6:06 AM PST
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  18. Ed G. Member
    Ed G. Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member
    D.C. McAllister
    KC Mulville: one must ask that if thelegal and social understandings of marriage do not require or even address procreation … what does?

    If the proponents of SSMsuccessfully remove procreationas an integral part of the idea of marriage, what do they propose in its place? 

    Yours is one view. There is another, just as legit, I believe. Marriage is a covenant before God that the two people—a man and a woman (not a man and a man, or a woman and a woman)—will become one flesh not only in body but in spirit to bring glory to God through bearing his image in the oneness and completion that comes from the masculine and feminine joining. This is a vow, a contract, that is rooted in a commitment to find companionship onlyin that other person. …..

    DC, you’re speaking of the perspective of the spouses and perhaps of religions while KC is peaking of the societal perspective. Spouses and religions can do what you say whether or not there is any such thing as “official” or “legal” or “recognized” marriage; society offers the law, status, privilege, and protections (we used to, anyway) for its own reasons.

    • #18
    • March 3, 2014, at 6:08 AM PST
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  19. Fredösphere Member
    Fredösphere Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Another angle is the sheer insulting nonsense of allowing only no-fault marriages. It says to responsible adults that they can’t be trusted to enter into a binding contract. It’s really just another step in the long process of infantilizing everyone.

    • #19
    • March 3, 2014, at 6:10 AM PST
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  20. Merina Smith Inactive

    But actually, Paul, redefining marriage does seem to me to have been the catalyst for a lot of these things–they started in MA and are spreading to other redefining states but NOT to states that have not been forced into genderless marriage. Sorry, but I just think it’s silly to say that things are so bad, how could this make them worse.

    I read up on the history of NFD in James Q. Wilson’s book on marriage, BTW. It was kind of sneaked in under the radar with, of course, all kinds of lies about what it would do. We should be looking to roll that back instead of hugely magnifying all kinds of problems by making marriage genderless. If for no other reason, everyone should be screaming bloody murder about the way it has been forced on the nation undemocratically. Now it has turned into a witch hunt–disagree with the gay lobby and you will pay. No witch hunt in history has ended well. 

    • #20
    • March 3, 2014, at 6:11 AM PST
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  21. Paul A. Rahe Contributor
    Paul A. Rahe
    Fredösphere: Paul, your point dovetails neatly with an argument I’ve made regarding covenant marriage (which is a proposal to allow couples to enter into a binding marriage contract, 50s-style). Which is, that the greatest advantage to the covenant marriage option would be to force couples with mismatched expectations to confront their differences before the wedding. (“Wait, what do you mean youdon’t want a covenant marriage?!”) I believe at least one person unimpressed by covenant marriage had a change of mind when I put that argument forward. · 4 minutes ago

    I almost said something about this in my piece. The Louisiana law is, indeed, interesting — and you are right: the existence of the option would promote sobriety by forcing the question: Are we really just shacking up? Or is this for real?

    • #21
    • March 3, 2014, at 6:15 AM PST
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  22. Paul A. Rahe Contributor
    Paul A. Rahe
    Merina Smith:

    I read up on the history of NFD in James Q. Wilson’s book on marriage, BTW. It was kind of sneaked in under the radar with, of course, all kinds of lies about what it would do. We should be looking to roll that back instead of hugely magnifying all kinds of problems by making marriage genderless. If for no other reason, everyone should be screaming bloody murder about the way it has been forced on the nation undemocratically. Now it has turned into a witch hunt–disagree with the gay lobby and you will pay. No witch hunt in history has ended well. · 10 minutes ago

    Edited 8 minutes ago

    I do not see how SSM makes things infinitely worse. NFP seems to me to be closer to the heart of the matter. Were it to be repealed, I suspect that SSM, which is merely symptomatic, would shrivel. Childless marriages (of all sorts) tend to be unstable. Making exit more painful would put a damper on entrance.

    One other thing could and should be done. The tax advantages associated with procreation and child-rearing should be restored to what they were in, say, 1950.

    • #22
    • March 3, 2014, at 6:25 AM PST
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  23. Merina Smith Inactive

    Oh my goodness, the implications of this are just so huge. I don’t think anyone can really get their minds around it. It just opens the door to a lot more gender bending of every sort, to unfettered recruitment by the gay lobby–and yes, some people can be recruited to gayness, to a huge rise in ARTs and many more children with no connection to one or both biological parents, to a far weaker connection between marriage and parenthood and likely an even futher dip in the already sinking birth rate. ARTs alone should give everyone pause even without all the rest of this. Designer babies, anyone, particularly from 3 parents? And that’s not even talking about religious freedom.

    NFD is terrible. I agree it was one more horrible thing on the road to here. But this is just as horrible, perhaps more so.

    • #23
    • March 3, 2014, at 6:43 AM PST
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  24. Sabrdance Member
    Paul A. Rahe
    Merina Smith:

     ago

    I do not see how SSM makes thingsinfinitelyworse. NFP seems to me to be closer to the heart of the matter. Were it to be repealed, I suspect that SSM, which is merely symptomatic, would shrivel. Childless marriages (of all sorts) tend to be unstable. Making exit more painful would put a damper on entrance.

    One other thing could and should be done. The tax advantages associated with procreation and child-rearing should be restored to what they were in, say, 1950. · 24 minutes ago

    I’m in larger agreement with Merina, but nonetheless, I could see something to this last part.

    Abandon state support of marriage per se and instead focus our attention on an expanded child tax credit provided parents were married-ish.

    I don’t know that’s tenable, but I’d have to think more on it.

    • #24
    • March 3, 2014, at 6:52 AM PST
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  25. Merina Smith Inactive

    Is NFP meant to be NFD? If so, I don’t think that there’s a chance in the world that it can be repealed with genderless marriage in the picture. It might be true that if it were, genderless marriage would be seriously reduced, but I don’t think it would go away. I can imagine that people will find a way to distinguish between the two types of marriage because it just helps to have that extra information in the language. So they might say a couple is gay married for example. Still that leaves a whole lot of other negative consequences in place. It will also weaken the ability of religion to do anything about the negative consequences of redefined marriage and NFD, though in some ways it will probably strengthen religion. I can also imagine the children of Millennials becoming more conservative than their parents and going back to some older traditions, almost as a way of being rebellious.

    In the end, the conversation that has been squashed because of the bullies cannot be avoided. It will just be a lot more painful and a lot of people will suffer unnecessarily, particularly children.

    • #25
    • March 3, 2014, at 7:19 AM PST
    • 1 like
  26. Profile Photo Member

    Think about the matter from a purely political perspective. Why would the political community have any interest in marriage at all were it not somehow bound up with the polity’s survival?

    Exactly, and which political force wants the decline of the family and why? Let’s just give up. Again.Also, there is the myth that there is consensus and ‘it’ can’t be stopped which is always how the Left presents things and we always seem to fall for it. Most people wish this, and all of the weird consequences, would just go away but do not want to be attacked. We also continue to fall for people calling themselves Conservatives but holding all the social views of the Left and believe we can reason them into moderating. Time to wake up.Thuggishness and bullying on the Left are rampant (and totally evident in the SSM issue) and have consequences in society. I personally have decided to call them out on it- all of the Left, but especially the bullying homosexual lobby. Party of thugs.
    • #26
    • March 3, 2014, at 7:30 AM PST
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  27. Scarlet Pimpernel Member

    Interesting and vigorously argued, as usual. A few comments.

    I have been re-reading The Closing of the American Mind lately. Bloom argues, along the way, that women naturally bind with their children, but men, as a rule, need some kind of convention to keep them around. For quite some time, men were taught that women and children were their property, and they protected and cherished them as such. There was injustice in that way of doing things, Bloom notes. The trouble is that we did away with it and did not come up with a substitute.

    Those more versed than I am in Jewish law would know more, but I believe that it’s fair to say that the Ketubah is a pre-nup of a particular kind. It was a protection for the wife, I believe. Perhaps it equalized things more than Bloom admits.

    Finally, and to push it a bit, perhaps. When we redefined “sodomy” as “anal sex” we fundamentally changed the way Americans think about sex. Or perhaps that was an effect as much as a cause.

    • #27
    • March 3, 2014, at 7:30 AM PST
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  28. Scarlet Pimpernel Member

    P.S. In many orthodox Jewish communities, the law is sometimes interpreted as suggesting that a couple have two beds. They are to be separate during the half of the month when the woman is not ovulating, and together when she might be.

    • #28
    • March 3, 2014, at 7:37 AM PST
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  29. ThePullmanns Inactive

    Let’s imagine you are in a boat with a gaping hole in the side and you are furiously trying to patch it to save the ship. Along comes a man and says: “Let me pull one more board from the side of the ship. After all, the ship is already sinking and that hole is the real problem. Why are you getting all hung up on this one small board?” 

    This to me seems to be what is happening now. Perhaps some of the outrage against SSM has to do with recognizing that we have already let marriage be destroyed or contributed to its destruction ourselves. I think, however, that some of it is because while some of us are doing our best to fix the problem, along comes this garbage which can only make things worse, even if only slightly.

    -Nathaniel

    • #29
    • March 3, 2014, at 7:39 AM PST
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  30. twvolck Member

    The Soviet Union in its very early days made divorce possible by sending your spouse a postcard saying you were divorced. They later made divorce far more difficult. It would be interesting to see why. There may well have been problems getting parents to support their children (the State had orphanages but it couldn’t have them for all children). There is probably a fair amount of Russian literature on this, but I am not aware than anyone has looked at it. It might give us some clues as to how a system in which the State pays no attention to marriage would work. Any bright graduate students interested?

    • #30
    • March 3, 2014, at 7:46 AM PST
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