I've been "complaining" for years now that marriage is under attack. The first torpedo hit broadside when the 60's generation pushed "free love". Sex was no longer a marriage issue. But marriage is a big ship and it kept going. "They weren't really shooting at us" we told ourselves. The next hit was when "no fault" divorce became the norm. But marriage is a big ship and it kept going, lower in the water. "Really, it wasn't marriage who was the target" we told ourselves. Then, there was another sustained barrage culminating in California in 2008 trying to create a new version entirely of "marriage" by adding in same-sex relationships. The court itself, in approving the measure, recognized that marriage had a "longstanding tradition" of being solely between a man and a woman. The big ship, listing badly now, shuddered again. But they keep telling us, "We're not attacking marriage." And we believe them.
Now Newsweek comes out with a June 11, 2010, article titled 'I Don't' and subtitled "The case against marriage". Now, please, let's be reasonable. You may try to tell me that "free love" and "no fault" divorce and "same-sex marriage" are not actual attacks against marriage -- you may try to tell me that no one is attacking marriage at all -- but when the article is exactly "The case against marriage", can you really keep up that front?
From the authors, Jessica Bennett and Jesse Ellison, we read, "Once upon a time, marriage made sense. It was how women ensured their financial security, got the fathers of their children to stick around, and gained access to a host of legal rights." Of course, things have changed. "Marriage is — from a legal and practical standpoint, anyway — no longer necessary." To what do they ascribe this development? The feminist movement. And what has feminism provided that has obsoleted marriage? Well, today, "Women now constitute a majority of the workforce; we’re more educated, less religious, and living longer, with vacuum cleaners and washing machines to make domestic life easier. We’re also the breadwinners (or co-breadwinners) in two thirds of American families. In 2010, we know most spousal rights can be easily established outside of the law, and that Americans are cohabiting, happily, in record numbers. We have our own health care and 401(k)s and no longer need a marriage license to visit our partners in the hospital."
So, what is the case against marriage? Well, to start with, women don't need it anymore. They can do it all on their own. (The authors never explain how they can get "the fathers of their children to stick around", so apparently that is no longer of any importance.) It's clear that the primary purpose of marriage was financial security and legal rights. Now there is a new definition of marriage. (Do you see, by the way, that the flood of women in the workplace is considered one of the primary causes of the termination of marriage? What started largely as "We both need to work to provide for our family" has turned out to be one of the key assaults on the family.)
Another argument is the modern divorce rate. As everyone knows, it's up around 60% in America today. (That's a popular number you'll hear.) Now ... do you know where that number comes from? It's fairly simple and wholly flawed arithmetic. What you do is take the number of divorces in a year per 1000 people divided by the number of marriages in a year per 1000 people. In 2009, for instance, the marriage rate was 6.8 and the divorce rate was 3.4. Look! Do the math! That clearly tells us that the divorce rate in 2009 was 50%, right? Well, that's a loose and misleading number. If you calculate the number of people who have ever married against the number of people who have divorced, the rate drops to something more like 40%. Now, this it still an unacceptable rate, but it isn't the much-touted 50 or 60% rate you hear. You see, when you just count "marriages" and "divorces", you fail to take into account those people who divorce and remarry multiple times versus those who never divorce, and this skews the numbers. Now, the authors do make a good point: "When conservatives argue that same-sex couples are going to 'destroy' the 'sanctity' of marriage, we wonder, wait, didn’t we already do that?" (emphasis in original). Yes, we have.
There is another running theme inherent in their definition of marriage. You find it in phrases like "we’ll take reason over romance." In this definition, part of the definition of marriage is "romance". That puts a crimp in the need for marriage, doesn't it? I mean, you don't need marriage to find romance, and marriage does not insure that romance will last. (Hint: It won't.) Another reason they pile on for obsoleting marriage is "we identify as secular." It used to be bad to have kids out of wedlock. No more. It's all good. I mean, "in 2008, 41 percent of births were to unmarried mothers", so you surely don't need marriage for that anymore. The concept of "saving myself for marriage" is all but gone. (I knew a guy who did just that, and instead of congratulations, he was mocked.) One quote on this was from a 28-year-old male who said, "If I had to be married to have sex, I would probably be married, as would every guy I know." So that issue is dead. And we certainly don't need marriage to have legal rights anymore. "Thanks largely to the efforts of same-sex-marriage advocates, heterosexual couples have more unmarried rights to partnership now than ever."
I think the evidence is overwhelming. In the last 50 years a sustained and largely successful assault has been waged against marriage. It came from the "free love" advocates in the 60's who pushed at the need for sexual morality. It came from the feminists who pushed away any biblical sense of male and female roles. And, let's be clear, the desire of women to rule over men isn't a product of feminism. It isn't a new thing. Nor is it right. It is a direct product of the Fall. Every support holding marriage up has been eroded. It has been eroded by sexual immorality. It has been eroded by feminism. It has been eroded by "same-sex-marriage advocates". Let's face it; it has been eroded by sin. In fact, when marriage finally falls to the current onslaught of same-sex advocates, it won't be much to surrender. The genuinely sacred, God-given, male-female union used as the fundamental building block of the family, of society, of the human race is no longer acceptable -- even recognizable. It's outdated and unwanted. This ship is going down, and this, dear readers, is a slap in the face of God.