The Bog of Lost Scholars

December 10, 2004

Will the Real Threat to Marriage Please Step Forward?

Filed under: People, Culture, and Society — castiron @ 7:00 pm

When it comes right down to it, I don’t get the people who say “we must utterly ban same-sex marriage because it’ll weaken the institution of marriage”.

Folks, you want a poster child for weakening the institution of marriage? That’d be me. That’s right, this straight woman has personally weakened the institution of marriage, because I chose to get a divorce. And now, I’m happier, more financially stable, a better mother, more socially active, and better able to get my head out of my rear and help other people than I was when I was married.

Which makes my example dangerous. Someone might look at me and say, “Hey! She’s divorced, and she seems to be doing fine, even as a single mother of a disabled kid! So I’ll probably be fine if I get divorced too!” That person doesn’t know what my decision process was, what was happening in my marriage, what circumstances were in place that made divorce recovery easier. If they actually sat down and talked with me about their own marriage and its problems, I might very well say, “You know, I really think you should stick with your marriage at least for a while longer, because while it’s not great, the problems sound manageable, and single parenthood will likely be worse.” But they probably aren’t going to do that, unless they’re a really good friend.

Now, I certainly don’t think that I (or anyone!) should’ve stayed miserably married for the sake of being a good example for the people around me; however, the fact that I’m doing well post-divorce could influence some people to make the wrong decision about their own marriages.

And yet, the people ranting about threats to marriage are pointing at the same-sex couples who’ve been together longer than I was married (I can think of at least five in my general acquaintance alone). I don’t get this.

If anything, those unmarried same-sex couples threaten marriage in another way: These folks have been able to stay together for years without getting a piece of paper from the government. Why should I ever get married again, if I’m not in a position to want/need the legal benefits thereof?

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