Dear the internet:
Marriage is not a religious ritual.
It may be a ritual in your religion. It may be treated as a ritual in common implementations of your religion in order to 'pass' under the hegemonial status of Christianity. You may be sufficiently swamped in the hegemonial status of Christianity that you can't imagine a religion that doesn't treat it as a matter of theology.
Your ignorance is not the same thing as historical fact.
You know when the Christian religion held sole sway over marriage in England (the law of which supplies the backstory for the legal systems of many and probably most of the people who might have a chance of reading this rant)? Between 1753 and 1837. There's your historical basis for the exclusive ownership of marriage by the Church (with exceptions for Jews and Quakers, IIRC).
Before that, in England, people could, if they so desired, get married by claiming they were married and fulfilling certain social parameters (common law marriage). Afterwards, there was established a public registry of marriages (civil marriage). In England's colonies, things varied widely - my Puritan ancestors were totally squicked out by marriage as a religious thing, as I've noted before, not that anybody damn well noticed. Various other cultures have treated marriage as falling under forms of trade, of contract law, of sundry other things.
I don't want to hear anymore about how this upholding Prop 8 separates church and state. I don't want to hear anymore about how this religious thing should never have gotten legal status in the first place. I don't want to hear anymore about how the government - enforcer of contract law - should be out of the business of enforcing the contract of marriage because somehow marriage is magically different because the right-wing asshats think they own it.
Marriage is a human universal. Anthropologically, it is the formation of a family under the witness of the community, with the creation of the responsibilities and benefits that that community considers a part of that process.
You may think it weird that I don't consider marriage a religious thing.
That's fine, I think it weird that the loud religions in my vicinity don't consider childbirth a religious thing.
27 May, 2009
Dear the internet: