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DISPATCH: In A Family Way
Posted on September 15, 2003 by Anita

Well, you certainly have opinions! I have received some very interesting mail in response to my dispatch on gay marriage. Here's one from Catherine Caine of Australia:

Hi Anita!

In my opinion, the definitions of marriage have been gradually shifting for many years, and the Christian fundamentalists are frantically (and understandably, I think) trying to prevent the most obvious manifestation of this change, the same way many of them opposed The Pill and the way it altered the family dynamic.

Once, the institution of marriage meant a stable foundation on which to raise children. Love was not necessarily involved or important; the only aim was procreation. Gradually, especially after the romantic love movement and the introduction of family planning, people started marrying for other reasons, including couples who could not have children.

Nowadays, the link between children and marriage is a lot softer. Unwed mothers are no longer the shameful thing they were, and many parents never marry their partners, or even meet them in some cases. Marriage is no longer necessary to the idea of having children and raising a family.

Many religious people are unaccepting and angry about this change, despite the fact it has been happening all their lives. They choose the most obvious example of how our ideas of marriage have altered and lambast it. Generally, they are not doing so on scriptural grounds, but because they believe it represents unacceptable change.

What marriage means now has become a very individual concept. Within my definition, and the definition of many people, is the linking of two individuals of whatever gender or background in a union of mutual trust and helpfulness. While "civil union" is an unattractive term, you may be right: perhaps such verbal sophistry will convince the religious right that it is possible to have two people join together in a commitment that does not threaten their ideas of family.

Catherine Caine

You can read my original dispatch on gay marriage here.

Topic : Friends & Family
Posted By : Anita
Posted On : September 15, 2003



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