Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Conjugal Rights & Rites

Marriage, marriage, marriage. It's everywhere here, right now, due to the New Jersey legislature giving gay couples union rights, but not marriage.

We had a long talk with friends at dinner last night about what that meant, precisely. Why not the word marriage? Is it simply that it's a religious thing? If so, why do you have to register your marriage separately if you get married in a Hindu ceremony, for example? Therefore, maybe we should separate out the church's and the state's role in sanctioning a union. Nonetheless, I can't help thinking that behind this is actually the belief that gay unions are somehow "lesser" than straight unions.

Anyway, I then read the G2 this morning and found this horror of an article about men asking permission from their future fathers-in-law for the hand of their daughter. Some of my political concerns about marriage stem from the ongoing idea of "property", and this article tapped straight into those fears. Why is asking a father "about respect"? If it's about a parent's relationship with his daughter, what about a mother's relationship? Why isn't she asked? Because she's his property, obviously. Any other answers...? Postcards to the usual address...

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