18 November 2010

Marriage = Obsolete

I suppose I'm hung up on the terms and therefore think this whole phone survey is a bit off-kilter.

Pretend we're calling a more liberal household for just a moment. If one is asking about marriage and whether it's obsolete, would the person answering the survey think "traditional one man, one woman marriage" and therefore answer yes? But the same person might not think that marriage *itself* is obsolete, and that gay people ought to be able to marry. Just this old-fashioned idea that it marriage ought be confined to traditional boundaries might be "obsolete" in this person's eyes.

Now let's pretend you're calling my house and I feel like answering your nosy question. Yes, marriage is pretty obsolete in societal terms. If you're taking into account what a "partner" earns when someone wants to qualify for aid, food stamps or other tax breaks, it's a real liability to get married in the lower classes. Factor in some extraordinary circumstances that happen to people more often than we'd like to believe, and it's downright sad.

Marriage is pretty obsolete, too, in that it is no longer required for respectability. How often do you see people shunned for having a baby out of wedlock? The worst you might get is an "oh," or a nasty look. The days of outright persecution are over in almost all circles. You can still get a job and it won't hold you back from having many friends.

But is it "obsolete" as in "worthless and outdated?" And what exactly defines a "marriage?" Do you mean "a marriage conducted in a church," or "a certificate issued by the state," or "two people who have decided they are married"? Terms are important here. I know some people who would say that if you aren't married in a church (and maybe even ONLY their church if you want to be officially sanctioned by God/sealed in the afterlife/ whatever) that it doesn't count. But in most Christian circles, the arguing over "gay marriage" is really an argument about tax breaks and state-issued marriage certificates. We want the government out of our religious expression, but in our marriages. I've yet to hear of a pastor who will marry couples without a license. I don't get it.

Is THAT, a state-sanctioned union, really "marriage?" Or a "legal arrangement?" And aside from not wanting brothers and sisters to marry and have children, WHY is the state's involvement in who can marry even necessary?

So... suffice to say... I'm confused. I'm not really sure what surveys like this prove. So WHAT if 69% of people surveyed think single women having babies is "bad for society?" My question would be, "Are the single women pregnant NOW?" I mean... are they asking if abortions would be "good" for society? For real? They're asking that?

I also want to know, with every "survey result" we see reported, how many people hung up on the caller, answered only some questions and how many answering machines/disconnected phones were reached. I don't know why, but I think that would help me understand these incoherent surveys better in that there would be some objective data.

Ok, thanks for reading if you got this far. :)


  1. From my Oddly Enough news feed...

    Another story on the same TIME magazine article

    I vote that we only license couples who are raising children together. I really don't see any other reason for the state to be involved in our life. And, while I don't want brother and sisters marrying either, while I was a clinical instructor, I ran into a brother-sister couple who had been raised in separate homes. They were a couple and said they didn't "feel" like siblings. She had just given birth to a child. Brother or not, he is legally, morally and ethically financially responsible for that child.

  2. This survey is a gem!

    I think the government has had a HUGE hand in taking the value out of marriage, and in making it obsolete.

    Growing up our neighbors were married (man and woman) and raising 5 girls. We got into high school and the Mother was diagnosed with cancer. She battled it for 7 years. One year before she died she divorced her husband....to be able to get medicaid to pay for the outlandish medical bills they had. They qualified for no help if they stayed together. Ten days before she died, they spoke their vows to eachother in front of their girls so that she could die his 'wife' in their eyes. It was heartbreaking. How many other families has this happened to? Out of 5 girls, today one is married, the other 4 live with their 'partners/boyfriend/house boy/ what-have-you.


Non-troll comments always welcome! :)