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Marriage - Essay Example

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Date The History of Marriage and What It Means for Gay Marriage Introduction Marriage has been a bedrock of every society since the dawn of time. This is really indisputable. However, has it been unchanging and unevolving throughout the years? If it has, then this might possibly be an argument against marriage equality in the United States…
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Download file to see previous pages... Moreover, the arguments against same-sex marriage almost exactly track the arguments against interracial marriage, which shows that the evolution of marriage should go in the same direction – just as interracial marriage is accepted by the majority of people, so should same-sex marriage be. The History of Marriage             The history of marriage, of course, would be the topic of a much longer discourse, so this section will only review the pertinent aspects of heterosexual marriage which impact the arguments for and against gay marriage.  Fox-Genovese (49) traces the history of marriage, stating that marriage began as a relationship between families, tribes and clans, as opposed to uniting individuals.  Marriage was transformed, however, into a right to enjoy certain benefits and privileges, along with community approval and recognition.  Fox-Genovese (50) begins her analysis of marriage by stating that Adam and Eve were created and ordered to be fruitful and multiply, which was the basis for this original union.  In the Old Testament, women suffered greatly, as their husbands took concubines and fathered children with many other women.  At that time, marriage was mainly about families and tribes, not about the individuals themselves.  This motivation continued in pre-modern societies, as primitive groups, such as Hebrew tribes, used marriage as a way to strengthen their house.  Marriage was also typically used as a political solidification practice, as ruling families used marriage to strengthen their political rule.  Therefore, for most of millennia, marriage has been a pragmatic institution, not based upon love, but, rather, based upon economics and power consolidation.  This is shown by the pragmatics of marriage in consolidating power, and is also shown by dowries and bride prices, in which the potential husband literally paid for the privilege of marrying his future wife (Fox-Genovese, 53).             Throughout these historical eras, women were subjected to patriarchy.  The man ruled the home, and, at least in the Old Testament cases, was able to take on multiple wives, concubines and lovers without censure.  Fox-Genovese (60) states that this patriarchy was lessened, somewhat, towards the end of the 19th Century, as women gained more equality in and outside the marital unit.  Eventually, marriage evolved from its pragmatic status to one that is more egalitarian and ostensibly based upon love.  Marriage is no longer merely a way to solidify power, or a way to gain economically. It is now considered to be a sacred bond between two people in love. The emphasis is now on personal happiness, not economics, power and social ties (Fox-Genovese, 61).             Fox-Genovese (62) makes the case that marriage, historically, has been based upon practical concerns, and these concerns do not necessarily focus upon what anti-gay marriage advocates insist are at the core of marital unions – the family and procreation.  Marriage has traditionally been based upon economic, social and political concerns, which seem to undermine the arguments against gay marriage. Another sound argument which is based upon an analysis of heterosexual marriage, which profoundly undermines the current bias against ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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