Monday, January 13, 2014

How marriage equality opposes unequal relationships

Interesting article from the Financial TImes argues that commitment to equal relationships (which is the basis of marriage equality) is actually providing a force against unequal or exploitative relationships-- read the whole thing!
Paedophilia had thrived largely unchallenged for millennia – indeed, for much of history girls married at about age 13. But with the equal relationship as new ideal, paedophilia has become indisputably taboo. ...

Another unequal relationship, prostitution, is in trouble too. ...

Even unequal marriages are under attack. Once upon a time, when a rich older man married a young woman, they might both have expected congratulations from friends. Now they can expect mockery.
The article also cites data saying that many more people disapprove of adultery now than did  40 years ago.  They argue that a "wink wink nudge nudge" in the days of unequal marriages tacitly approved of men seeking discrete sex outside marriage, but now, the legacy of the 60s is that equal partners deserve equal commitment.

This agrees with the writings by marriage scholar Stephanie Coontz that the real "redefinition" of marriage came when we de-genderized unequal relationships and made husbands and wives equal (see our discussions of her research here and here).

So, marriage equality is a force for GOOD.

1 comment:

Glenn Ingersoll said...

If marriage required one partner to be legally subservient to the other, if marriage meant in effect only one of the partners had all the decision-making power and owned all the property, both of these being aspects of an older version of marriage, precious few gay people would be interested. I'm married but I know I wouldn't have even considered it under the uglier terms of the past.

I don't even know how those unequal terms could be applied in same gender marriage. I'm glad I don't have to entertain hypotheticals.