Marriage is a tradition, yet the “traditional” marriage cited by conservatives is a myth. The marriage tradition started as women being property and a commodity traded among men. The bible says (among dozens of other examples):
- If however the charge is true and no proof of the girl’s virginity can be found, she shall be brought to the door of her father’s house and there the men of her town shall stone her to death ~ Deuteronomy 22:13-21.
- Women should remain silent in churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission. ~ 1 Corinthians 14:34
- Wives submit to your husbands, as is fitting to the Lord. ~ Colossians 3:18
- But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery. ~ Matthew 5:32
- Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety. Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. For Adam was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression. ~ 1 Timothy 2:11-15
We need to make conservatives answer this: should America have traditional marriage? Or modern, equal, loving civilized marriage? Here are some fun marriage traditions*:
- Raping one’s wife wasn’t outlawed in England until 1891. The Times bemoaned, “One fine morning last month, marriage in England was suddenly abolished.“
- Under the Napoleonic code of France and Louisiana, women were considered the same legal status as children and mental defectives.
- Under English common law, women did not legally exist and were forbidden to any personal property. Even her clothes were her husbands.
So when people urge ‘traditional’ marriage, why don’t they include all the traditions of western marriage like the right to rape, beat, imprison, enslave wives, refuse property ownership, refuse legal existence, consider women as incompetents and baby factories?
*Quotes on ‘Traditional’ Marriage
By marriage, the husband and wife are one person in law, that is, the very being or legal existence of the woman is suspended during the marriage, or at least incorporated and consolidated into that of her husband, under whose wing, protection and cover, she performs everything. ~ William Blackstone, Commentaries on the Laws of England, 1765
In the nineteenth century (1891), when a judge ruled that a husband could not imprison and rape his wife the London Times bemoaned, “One fine morning last month, marriage in England was suddenly abolished.” The phrase rule of thumb descends from English common law that said a man could legally beat his wife with a switch no thicker than his thumb. ~ Naomi Wolf, Radical Heterosexuality
The 1804 Code Napoleon, influential throughout Europe [and Louisiana; remember Streetcar?] recapitulated the old terms of the marriage contract, proclaiming a husband head of his household and dictating the arrangement as one of male protection in return for female obedience. Under this code women were classified with children and mental defectives as legal incompetents. ~ Jaclyn Geller, The Marriage Mystique