What Do Horses and Carriages Have to Do With It?

[Originally published on MySpace on October 18, 2010. This blog first appeared as a comment in response to Just Jeff on Homosexuality and Identity Crisis (et al).]

Certainly marriage can be and usually is a civil contract. There are laws determining the distribution of property within a marriage, as well as other financial obligations and benefits (i.e., taxes, inheritance, debt and credit, etc.). It is essentially a business arrangement. Woo hoo! Cool, let us incorporate, if it serves to provide for fiscal security, eh? I mean theoretically if this is what you’re after in a partnership, then marriage is not the only civil contract that can be entered into that will serve quite well. In fact, there are likely BETTER ways on the books right now to organize one’s finances in a partnership than marriage, in which the benefits are greater.

Marriage as a civil contract also provides governing for child custody and legitimacy, as well as some aspects of custody-like responsibility for one’s partner in the event of health issues (up to and including death). In this realm, marriage tends to differ somewhat from other business contracts, and also tends to more directly intersect with human relationships other than financial considerations. Okay, now we’re in trouble. Outside of certain rarefied sub-cultures, we generally have feelings about our children and spouses that are not directly and solely related to business as it is known in the market place or halls of fiduciary government. These feelings are most often, if I’m not entirely mistaken, the REASON people enter into marriage. So, marriage ALSO represents a subjective commitment to specific relationships on a purely social basis, which people often take even more seriously than the miscellaneous business arrangements provided for.

In fact, people generally ignore, or at least take as an incidental given, the business side of marriage in favor of the rite of passage and statement of personal commitment that it represents within our culture. People most often enter into a civil marriage contract as a means of ratifying in the eyes of the community an interpersonal relationship. It’s a social statement. Having done so, both parties in a civil marriage gain a certain status within the community that legitimizes not only their relationship, but also legitimizes both parties as bona fide members of the community in his and her own right.

I offer the observation that a purely religious ceremony of marriage, without involving the state, does not do this for most people. In other words, in our culture, we are not required to take seriously a marriage which is purely on spiritual grounds. With the separation of church and state (which incidentally had nothing to do with spiritual matters per se, but with the distribution and dissection of political and secular power within governing bodies), suddenly spiritual life had no (or at least significantly reduced) authority as mandate in our social relationships in concrete terms (i.e., the material).

What does that tell you, friends and neighbors? In effect, the spiritual side of being human was rendered marginal. Human interaction was denormalized to account for the anomaly of love, as it were. And it doesn’t stop there. The spiritual as social mandate was not merely marginalized, it was rendered subordinate to the material. In other words, we’re put in the position of having the secular state be the authority for legitimization of our spiritual lives.

Most of the time, this can be ignored, and usually is. But what happens when an out-group, such as gay and lesbian communities and individuals sadly still so far represent, attempts to gain the right of marriage as a civil contract, and not solely as a personal and private spiritual commitment? Suddenly certain in-groups who usually tend to quietly (and yes, all too often not so quietly) object to homosexuality are faced with being required to regard as legitimate something to which they are adamantly morally opposed. In effect, their hands are now forced. And what happens, proverbially, when you back a wild animal into a corner?

In terms of marriage, this may explain a little more “Why does it matter to you who loves whom?” Whereas the public and the private have whole realms that never touch each other, they are nonetheless interactive and have strong effect on each other.

Does this need to be fixed? How? How can we break this down a little further? Or, is there any way we can add dimensionality to the problem of a power struggle between public and private that serves as an end-run around it? (Hint: be careful not to throw the baby out with the bath. Separation of church and state exists for some pretty damned good reasons. Are these reasons still operational…?)

10:47 AM  12 Comments  5 Kudos

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This entry was posted in Critical Thinking, Epistemology, Homosexuality, Humanism, Religion and Philosophy, Sociology, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to What Do Horses and Carriages Have to Do With It?

  1. Thea says:

    Just in case there’s any question, I do NOT think one’s sexual orientation is rightfully to be considered a criteria for a legitimate marriage. Folks can marry whoever they want, butt out. But then, I think marriage in this country is largely bullshit to begin with. Hope that doesn’t put too fine a point on it for anyone.

    Posted by Thea on October 18, 2010 – Monday – 6:32 PM

  2. Thea says:

    ROBERTOelDRAGÓN&IDYs!:

    ON MARRIAGE & MORE GENERALLY, HUMAN’S GREGARIOUS NATURE, AND ALLOWING IT AND UNCOUNTED OTHERS. TO MAKE ONE “NICER”?:
    BUT! FIRST, ONE (OF MANY?) DISCLAIMER(S)?
    I’M NOWHERE -NEAR- THE ROAD TO COMFY OR KNOWLEDGE-PROTUBERANT; INVOLVING PLODDING ABOUT, IN THE MIRED AND MUCKY GLENS OF, ACCEPTABLE CHURCH AND/OR STATE; NEVER MIND BOTH? SO, I HAVE KINDA SIDLED AWAY FROM IT, AND NOW, SPOTLIGHT MY DOING SO???? “SAY, ‘LAR VEE‘.“
    NOW THEN, THESE THINGS, ABOUT THE FIRST SENTENCE, COME TO MY, OVERTAXED-w-DOOR-HANDLES, STUCK-IN-THE-COLD, FROZEN MIND:
    “STATISTICS“; THAT ARITHMETICALLY, WICKED CONTRIVANCE, FOR BEWILDERING ANY CRUSADER FOR TRANQUILITY AND RATIONALITY, IN A DISCUSSION, SEEM; IN THEIR DEVILISHLY TREACHEROUS MANNER, TO INDICATE, OR, @ LEAST, SUGGEST, THAT THERE IS SOME, SUBSTANTIATING EVIDENCE OF THE FOLLOWING REGARDING CONNUBIAL CIRCUMSTANCES:
    NOW! TO REMEMBER! HAAA
    1. MARRIED? PERHAPS, IN MISERY (JOKE??!), BUT YOU -WILL- LIVE; LONGER? (MUCH, IF NOT, ALL, OF THE REMAINDER, COULD BE DEEMED AS REASONS, FOR THIS? BUT, HAVING DONE NO RESEARCH, OTHER THAN TO TAP, THRU THE ICE, n2 MY, FREEZE-DRIED MIND, AND ATTEMPT TO FIRE ITS, NOT MANY, SYNAPSE-CHALLENGED, MEMORY CELLS, FEEL MORE THAN FREE TO, PROVIDED; YOU SUPPLY SUPPORTING EVIDENCE OR GOOD “ARGUMENTS“, CHALLENGE ANY AND EVERY?)
    2. YOU ARE LESS LIKELY TO:
    a. BUMP YOURSELF OFF.
    b. TURN; A GROUND-HUGGING HOOCH SOT.
    c. HAVE AS MANY “TRACKS”, AS THE “BALTIMORE AND OHIO”.
    d. AWAKEN, IN THE EVER-DISMAYING (BUT, LIVELY?) NUT HUT.
    e. ENDURE VIOLENCE OR BE VIOLENT.
    2A. AND, MORE LIKELY TO:
    1. (I, ALSO, MAY HAVE ERRED HERE, w THE CORRECT NOMENCLATURE SYMBOLS, I.E., THE NUMBERS; I AM USING, OR THE “CAP ‘A‘”, HERE w THE 2? YOUR INDULGENCE, PLEASE?) INDICATE; YOU’RE MORE SATISFIED, w YOUR LIFE.
    2. INDICATE, ALSO; YOU’RE A HAPPIER PERSON. (SIMILAR, BUT NOT THE SAME AS, 1.)
    3. AUTO-MANUFACTURE, ON DEMAND, AS IT WERE (OR ONCE WAS? HUH?), MORE ANTIGENS, WHEN NASTY, LIL GERMS ATTACK.
    4. SCOFF UP GREATER AMOUNTS OF $MOULIN ROUGE$.
    5. ENJOY GREATER SELF-ESTEEM.
    6. MANIFEST ABOVE-AVG. PRODUCTIVITY IN GEN POP HAPPENINGS, SUCH AS PRODUCTIVE INVOLVEMENT IN THEIR CULTURES AND SUB-CULTURES.
    7. I KNOW THERE’S MORE, BUT I FORGOT OR NEVER SAW/KNEW ’EM?
    GEE NOTE: IS THERE A WORD/TERM, THAT IS NOT EVER-FLUXING AND HEAVING UP NEW MEANINGS, AND WILL YOU FAVOR ME, BY CONSIDERING THIS, IN ITS ENTIRETY, AND NOT DISASSEMBLING IT; SUCH THAT IT WOBBLES, HUMS, OMINOUSLY, AND IMPLODES? IF, HOWEVER, YOU FIND SOME VERY SPECIOUS OR, SIMILARLY, WRONG AND MISLEADING CHUNK? DO TELL?! Bc, YOU SEE? LANGUAGE IS SO ARBITRARY AND INDIVIDUALLY SUBJECTIVE AND GENERALLY IMPRECISE! YOUR BLUE SKY MAY BE MY, SUNSCREEN-MANDATORY, BLACK MOOD, AS A -VERY SILLY- EXAMPLE?
    “’WHAT’S’ ON FIRST?

    I THOUGHT TO SEEK THIS (BELOW); HARKENING BACK TO MY ”INITIATION” n2 THE STREETS AND ALLEYS, OF LEARNING TO BE OMNISCIENT, bc COLLEGE DID THIS! NOW, SADLY, AS TIME SEEMS TO, SO OFTEN, MAKE THE OUTCOME, I AM -VERY- HARD PRESSED, TO, ACTUALLY, DETERMINE, WHAT IS MEANT TO BE “FUNNY”, IF ANY, AND WHAT IS SOME GUIDE TO UNDERSTANDING?! < – (PART OF MY “CRUSADE” TO MAKE THESE A TRUE, AND NEEDED, TO MY MIND, END PUNCTUATION.) IT REMAINS, bc IT COULD BE A VERY (WE’RE TAKIN _VERY- !) RUDIMENTARY BEGINNING, OF SOME KINDA, THEA-CULTURE-SHARED, SET OF AGREED-UPON (DARE I SAY?) “RULES”?

    I DIG IGNORING? EASIER, LESS SUBJECT TO ANY CRAP, AS OPPOSED TO WORDS, OF ANY KIND, AND A WONDERFULLY EFFICIENT MESSAGE BEARER, BY ITS NOT BEING ONE? HAAA
    BUT, I’M HAPPY, IF ABLE, TO ANSWER A SOUP QUESTION, AS WELL AS, ANY!

    AND, SPEAKING OF MY PASSAGE n2 “UNIVERSITY”, IT TOOK ME SOME SIGNIF TIME, TO RECALL THIS, BUT IT HAS BEEN TRICKLING THRU MY THOUGHTS AND NEAR-THOUGHTS, FROM THE FIRST. GIVEN THE ABOVE, PLEASE, JUST, READ IT, AND, WHETHER IT SMACKS A FEW BELLS OR PASSES THRU YOU, LIKE BAD VINEGAR, JUST READ IT? IT’S NEVER SEEMED TO BE SO PERTINENT FOR ME, b4! I HOPE; IT RAKES A FEW OF YOUR LEAVES, TOO? BUT,
    -NOT- A DISCUSSION ITEM! LORD, NO?! HAAA
    “All these things have you said of beauty.
    Yet in truth you spoke not of her but of needs unsatisfied,
    And beauty is not a need but an ecstasy.
    It is not a mouth thirsting nor an empty hand stretched forth,
    But rather a heart enflamed and a soul enchanted.
    It is not the image you would see nor the song you would hear,
    But rather an image you see though you close your eyes and a song you hear though you shut your ears.
    It is not the sap within the furrowed bark, nor a wing attached to a claw,
    But rather a garden for ever in bloom and a flock of angels for ever in flight.
    People of Orphalese, beauty is life when life unveils her holy face.
    But you are life and you are the veil.
    Beauty is eternity gazing at itself in a mirror.
    But you are eternity and you are the mirror.”
    Rainstormsong -Kahlil Gibran
    SPOKEN OR UNSPOKEN, I DIG EVERY ONE OF YAa! -EVERY- ONE!
    THANK YOU,
    TOMMY < – HOW MANY TIMES HAVE I PUT, “NO, REALLY,” HERE? YA’D THINK I’D LEARN, HUH? HAAA

    Posted by ROBERTOelDRAGÓN&IDYs! on October 26, 2010 – Tuesday – 5:21 AM

    • Thea says:

      ROBERTOelDRAGÓN&IDYs!:

      PROLLY -NOT- THE REASON(S) YOU WILL THINK, DEAR THEA. BUT, COULD YOU -BRIEFLY- ELUCIDATE WHY MARRIAGE IS B S? BE A GREAT HELP IN RESPONDING, BUT NOT,I BELIEVE, AS YOU MIGHT SPECT?
      KNOWING ME, YOU MIGHT THINK I WILL PARROT THIS HOLY MAN? MAY TURN OUT; I AM CLOSE? NEVER NOW! HAAA

      Princess Bride – The Wedding

      OH! -TAKE YOUR TIME-? I WILL NEED TO!
      “YOUR, SINGLE, SMILE = MY, ENDLESS, JOY!” IDY! TOMMY GEE (RtD) >=~:

      Posted by ROBERTOelDRAGÓN&IDYs! on October 19, 2010 – Tuesday – 12:03 AM

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