How Does Gay Marriage Redefine "Marriage?"
The Definition of Marriage
According to the Oxford Dictionary, marriage is defined as:
"the formal union of a man and a woman, typically recognized by law, by which they become husband and wife"
While we're on the subject of gay marriage, I wish to address the issue of "redefining" marriage in this country. This morning, shortly after rising, I noticed a post on my Facebook wall about how gays (liberals) wish to take away the current (considered by some conservatives to be "our") definition of marriage and replace it with "their" (the gay and liberal's) definition of marriage. This is often accompanied by the most extreme photographic examples of homosexual couples, sometimes in drag, but often in head-to-toe leather getup.
If you haven't noticed, I have a problem with vitriol. I'm a sensitive person. I cry when I read articles that make fun of me because I'm a conservative, and I get angry when I see people making assumptions about what I believe because I'm an "out" Tea Party supporting libertarian conservative constitutional preservationist.
Truth is, right or left, these kinds of memes are generally harmful. It's possible to state an opinion without vitriol, and I think that we should be doing more of that. Those people who can't should probably stick to pure facts.
As always, this piece is my opinion and reflects only the opinion of the individual, not the corporate opinion of the Tea Party or conservative candidates for election. I don't expect that I'll be able to influence anybody, but the purpose of writing this is to take my viewpoint public in the hopes of reaching enough people to perhaps begin making an impression on those who think that we're "all alike."
Again, I am a far right-wing, Tea Party supporting, constitutional preservationist Christian.
I also have a mind of my own. You should too. Read on.
Let's Start by Defining Marriage
In order to make the most of this, we do need to look into the roots of the term marriage. Let's start here, with the Online Etymology Dictionary's definition of Marriage. Note that this is the second part of the etymological definition of the term. The emphasis is mine.
Meaning "a union of a man and woman for life by marriage, a particular matrimonial union" is early 14c. Meanings "the marriage vow, formal declaration or contract by which two join in wedlock;" also "a wedding, celebration of a marriage; the marriage ceremony" are from late 14c. Figurative use (non-theological) "intimate union, a joining as if by marriage" is from early 15c.
I'm not ignoring the part of this definition which says "between a man and a woman." It's inconvenient for my purposes, but I'm not ignoring it. I will, however, be making use of the latter part of this definition, which says (and I repeat here for clarity's sake):
Figurative use (non-theological) "intimate union, a joining as if by marriage" is from early 15c.
So let us be clear that this "figurative" definition goes back to the 15th century, almost as far back as the roots of the word marriage itself. This isn't a redefining of the term "marriage," this is an alternative to the term "marriage."
I want to address two things about this before I move forward with this article.
Redefining Marriage through Divorce
If you look at the etymology of the term "marriage" you'll see that the word originally referenced the coming together of a man and a woman in life-long union. This meant that the vows "until death do us part" were intended to be taken literally and that marriage was a union that could not be torn apart.
First of all, let me be clear in that I agree with this definition of marriage. This will become important later, but the fact of the matter is that I view marriage as the combination of two things which cannot be separated once combined. I'll be writing about this later on (but on my relationships account and not this account).
However, "marriage" has already been redefined so that it no longer has to pertain to a lasting, life-long union between a man and a woman. Marriage is now a temporary union between two people until they stop loving one another.
I don't like it, but facts are facts: Divorce has changed the definition of marriage.
Do you believe that modern divorce redefines the term "marriage?"
How Marriage Has Already Been Redefined
I've already mentioned that marriage has been redefined to include divorce. Where the term once meant that a man and a woman were married for life, it now includes the understanding that if the couple no longer loves one another and chooses to divorce, they are permitted to do so. Marriage also encompasses marriage to a second spouse in the case of divorce, which is a true redefining of marriage in that in its original form, married couples weren't allowed to divorce at all, and surely not to remarry. This is, after all, why King Henry VIII executed his wives: So that he could remarry legally under the previous definition of marriage.
Marriage has already changed in the United States. In fact, it's seen some huge changes. Allowing gays to marriage may change the written definition of the term "marriage" in its original form, but it doesn't undermine any society more greatly than divorce -- also a change in the definition of marriage.
Sin and Marriage, as Defined by Christian Scripture
I am a ring-wing, conservative Christian. Before I say anything else I want to make it clear that I am a Bible-believing Christian woman. This is important for me to state because I don't wan to blur any lines. My belief in sin is defined in the Christian scriptures, but it does not come to bear on my political beliefs. Religion and politics can be like oil and water, in my opinion. Theocracy isn't the way for the United States.
That being said, I would like to talk about sin as it pertains to marriage, and the redefinition of marriage. Many Christians take the stance that homosexuality is Biblically wrong (this is true) and that it should therefore be banned in the U.S.
Homosexuality is a sin, according to the Christian Bible. Those who know what the Bible has to say about it either have to reject the scriptures entirely or separate their church and their state from one another. The Bible also has something to say about divorce. (To add to the bit about divorce, you should also look at the entry on adultery.)
To summarize, the scriptures say that adultery is a sin and that remarriage is committing adultery.
This is how marriage (heterosexual and homosexual) looks to Christians from a biblical standpoint. While I do entirely separate my politics from my religion (because they are, in my opinion, apples and oranges), I wanted to put this into perspective for those who are accustomed to the religious argument against gay marriage.
Allow Me to Summarize: If Divorce is Okay, So is Gay Marriage
It's simple, isn't it? If we support (and endorse) divorce and remarriage as a society, there's no reason at all why we shouldn't support (and endorse) gay marriage. Adulterers were stoned in the Bible the same way that homosexuals were stoned in the Bible. Both still are in some world cultures.
If you're seeking to ban gay marriage, you should also be seeking to ban divorce.
Perspective on Homosexual Promiscuity
Men are known for having a higher sex drive than women do. The myth of homosexual promiscuity largely stems from the idea that two men are more likely to be driven to engage in sexual activities than a man who is forced to pursue a woman with a lower sex drive.
- So you think gay men are promiscuous?
Patrick Strudwick: It's time for the media to stop peddling myths and realise most gay people's sex lives are every bit as dreary as heterosexuals'
Speaking of Divorce, Won't Gay Marriage Increase the Number of Divorces in America?
That depends on your perspective on divorce. If you're looking at sheer numbers, there's no doubt that it will increase the number of divorces in the United States purely because there will be more couples with the potential to fall out of love and divorce one another. After all, straight couples divorce too.
If you're looking at percentages, the percentages should theoretically remain roughly the same as before.
Homosexual individuals aren't more promiscuous than heterosexual individuals. A particular culture may promote promiscuity, but there is no direct correlation between being gay in America and being promiscuous (or more likely to get a divorce).
Christian Redefinition of Marriage
The video to the right expresses quite succinctly why marriage has already been redefined (including redefinition by Christians). While I disagree with some of the points made in this video, it's certainly the best that I was able to find on the subject of redefining marriage.
Watch, and let me know what you think.
Continue Researching Gay Marriage
If you wish to continue to learn more about gay marriage and the views of people on both sides of the aisle, you should continue reading about gay marriage and continue doing research. I'll be adding to the list of links to the right as time goes on, in order to support this article. You may also want to see more of my own writings on gay marriage and politics. For example, you can read Reasons to Support Gay Marriage in the United States.
© 2014 Becki Rizzuti