Let’s start a real debate about marriage, not just a question of if gay marriage is acceptable or not. Marriage is certainly an interesting concept, mostly a religious one. Religions, great at making official for the record these unions, a task eventually also espoused by the State, and can now be given legally, almost administratively. In this millennium, after so much liberation in the Western World, is marriage not becoming a past date concept, obsolete? And what about baptism? They are religious institutions we desperately need to free ourselves from.
I will get straight to the point, I am gay, I have been in a stable relationship with another man for 15 years. We are in love and are faithful to each other. I didn’t say free from arguments and problems plaguing our existence, I said faithful. Not because we hold dear to this concept, but because not being faithful brings more troubles than it is worth. And I guess there comes a time when, well, you don’t see the point anymore of going to clubs and meeting people.
My sister has been in a relationship for perhaps ten years now, she had two children with her boyfriend, with a third one from his first marriage which failed spectacularly. The Court, the irrationality, the nightmare. After that he does not want to marry again, and she, never saw what marriage was good for, she never believed in this sort of institution. I’m proud of my sister.
And you should have seen the crisis when they decided that their kids would not be baptized, you would have thought they had simply declared that the Third World War was on. It is possible to get un-baptized these days, I would seriously be considering it, if it were not acknowledging this institution in the process. I do not believe in any of these institutions, neither should you.
What is marriage exactly? The union of a man and a woman together, supposedly for life, unless somehow you can find a way to cancel it or terminate it. We are getting expert at that, and there is nothing wrong with this state of affair. It is in fact significant, you can only wonder if marriage is truly necessary nowadays.
At the moment, the challenge is to extend this marriage to gay couples, and perhaps also eventually to people living together in some sort of interdependence without any sexual interaction. These unions are now acknowledged in Common Law by any government for legal purposes, making marriage obsolete. Still worried? You don’t need to get married to sign a contract similar to a pre-nuptial agreement.
Most people only wish to get married because they have this romantic religious idea that this is what we have always done, tradition, and so, let’s do it, let’s make it big, let’s spend 100,000 on it and cherish the memory forever. Until the divorce comes at least, when finally the horror and mistake of getting married will hit you full blast, disgust you for life, of what it really meant to get married. Before, divorce was not an option, but now it is.
Also, we are pushed into marriage not only by everyone around us, but by the government (preferential treatments if you are married) and religions as well (fear of going to hell if you do not get married). It is contrary to any idea of freedom to get married. And freedom is important, more than marriage, is it not?
As soon as gay marriage is official everywhere, you will see, we will have to marry, it will be like an obligation. I would never have been able to remain in the UK without first getting married. At the moment, it suffices to prove that we are a couple. I don’t like this idea of marriage, you are forced into it, and then forced into divorce eventually. Now, whenever a gay couple breaks up, it is not bloody, but throw a marriage and a divorce in there, and let’s see how bloody it will become, just like with heterosexual couples.
More exactly, to whom does marriage profit? Perhaps you can help me answer that question. It does bring security I suppose. With marriage comes a whole branch of the law, to insure some sort of fairness and security to both parties, very much like a contract between two business partners. And remember, contracts are usually drawn between people who do not trust each other. You do agree to it all in theory, even though most people fail to see the extent of that contract. They finally understand when the divorce comes.
Marriage was a good idea before, when women were not working and there were children in that union. Marriage ensured stability, it was harder for anyone to just bin the family and leave for the other side of the planet. If someone else came to break that marriage, in theory the other person and the children would be catered to.
It is different now in this modern world, rare are the marriages that will last a decade. Women do work, often earning more than their husband. And the children, well, not only the nuclear family has finally exploded, the law has taken over to ensure both parties will cater to these children one way or another, marriage or not. So, why would you wish to get married now, apart from “this is tradition”, or a romantic idea of what it once meant?
Who came up with this idea of marriage? I am trying to imagine here how it came to be, why it was felt it was important to have marriages at the time, when it burst out upon this world and became an absolute necessity embraced by everyone.
Is it purely a religious concept, or was it incorporated within those Bibles and religions from a tradition that already existed? Perhaps some pure people thought that having sex with more than one partner was disgusting, even, enjoying sex was unthinkable. Might as well separate the sexes for life, have your babies in a test tube in a laboratory, and bypass marriage and sex altogether. Men in America, Women in Europe, gay people… might as well kill them all.
If I was at the beginning, and could decide how this world would be organized, I do not believe I would have wanted to impose any kind of marriage concept. I don’t think I would have thought it wise to ensure that a man and a woman had to decide early on that they would need to make their union official and that they would need to die together.
I would have thought it common sense that you remain with someone for as long as both parties desire it and feel they get something out of it, and once this is no longer true, you move on. For example, if you are within an abusive relationship, with shouting and beatings, why should this relationship continue? Maybe the abusive person would be peaceful outside that relationship, within another relationship perhaps.
This idea that marriage was for life was a bad idea, and I provided only one example, there are many more. Love is a mystery, and why it is here one day and gone the next, is also a mystery. No wonder there is so much hatred in this world, when most people living together in marriage despise each other, enough to think of murder, and of course the ones suffering then are the children.
The only reason this institution of marriage lasted so long, was because it was at the heart of most religions. And once the religions lost their grip on the modern world, and people started to live more freely, gain some liberty, and started to think for themselves, suddenly marriage did not seem such a wonderful concept anymore.
Divorces multiplied, and I cannot fathom why people would want to re-marry. They should know better by now that it is not necessary, and they could avoid so much trouble by making it a Common Law relationship instead, or just: we are together now, let’s see if in a few years this is still working out. No need to make it official, or making it permanent.
Today many people just get married because it brings more benefits. In many countries you save a lot of money just for being married, and I wondered why for a very long time. What purpose is it of the government to encourage marriage, by giving you perks for being within a marriage? Especially if many young couples just got married to save a bit of money, like students, and hence, ensuring an early divorce once the incompatibility is discovered. This incomprehension has been corrected in the United Kingdom recently, you do not save on taxes any longer for being married, you do if you have children, which is far more sensible.
Today many people get married for some bureaucratic reason, for example a visa, a passport, the right to live in another country, the right to obtain certain rights within the law which are only accessible to you if you are married. You would be surprised about how many marriages only take place as rational decision to obtain something which would be otherwise denied. We should eliminate those reasons, because it is clearly discrimination.
You can see this more clearly in a gay relationship when both parties are from different countries. I am Canadian, my same-sex partner is British. By some miracle we are still together, because the law has changed in the UK in the last 15 years, just at the right time in our case. Before that, dear me, this relationship would have been over a long time ago, I would now be back in Canada.
I needed to be with my gay partner for four years in order to be allowed to request any kind of visa and remain in the UK. This was impossible, because no initial visa extends that long. The law changed just in time, it was reduced to two years, so I’m still here. Straight couples can get married after one day of meeting each other, and the other partner can then request a British Citizenship and live here forever legally within the year.
It took me 14 years to reach the point where I can now ask for my British citizenship in my gay relationship, and now that I can, I am so appalled by all this bureaucracy, and it costs so much money, and takes so long, I have not requested it yet.
My partner had a good job with a company that provided a lot of things for the partner of their married employees, like insurances and other benefits. As I was gay, I had no access to these benefits. The law has changed now and I would be recognized as his partner, and would have access to these benefits. But you see, we only recently became openly gay at work, and then again, it is not guaranteed that we will in future jobs.
For example, my partner is now working in the motoring industry, very homophobic, and so he has not declared himself openly gay in those last jobs he had. I never do tell anyone I am gay straight away in any new job, because then I would never get it or become permanent.
And now, what if one of us dies and there is no will? Apparently all his assets including the flat go to the government! I would be left stranded on the street. If we were married, it would automatically go to me, there would be no question about it.
What if this relationship ends? We discussed it. It is his flat, it has always been, though we bought most of what it contains together in the last 15 years. Do we share everything equally? Would it stand in a Court of law that I am allowed to half of this content purchased since the relationship began?
This is where marriage comes in handy, I could easily then leave with half of it. Of course, I have no intention of doing so. I would get my computer and that would be it, I would leave with nothing else. He has talked about giving me a cash settlement if ever this happens, but I only need the minimum, to get the chance to move out and find somewhere else to live.
Unlike married people, we are not blood thirsty to cause as much damage as possible and gain as much as we can from a failed marriage. It is one of the main reasons people do get married, part of this security clause.
So you can see that many people just get married in order to get something which otherwise they would not get. This is why many people still get married even when they don’t want to, and even though there is not much point to it, if you exclude religious beliefs and tradition, and the chance to claim assets and money.
I have to come back to this idea of who benefit from all of us being married for life and building those traditional families for which most laws and regulations apply to? The authorities, governments and religions.
What has the government to gain if we are married, single, in a gay relationship, or not? Nothing. In the United Kingdom they recognized that, finally, and now, it does not matter much what is your marital status, although they do ask you the question on all the forms you need to fill out, the same for all those employers when you seek employment.
I don’t know what they do with this information, if it influences any decision about your future, if it is used for discrimination against you. A bit like most high profile politicians, it seems to be a pre-requirement in order to get elected to be married, have a family and to believe in God. I am going to be sick.
Remain the religions. Why is this idea of marriage, and most importantly, only between a man and a woman, stability, order, so central to religions? What do they really gain by this? Why is it justified for them to spend millions on promoting marriage, and anti-gay, anti-abortion and anti-contraception laws? Oh! This is a large can of worms, it strikes at the heart of any religion, an overall philosophy of life wildly opened to conspiracy theories. I could not possibly discuss all this here.
I have a few of those theories, conclusions I have reached in time. Religions not only want you to have as many babies as possible, and hence gay relationships are vilified, but on top of it, those children need to be legitimate, hence bastards won’t do. This explains why bullying has always existed not only for gay people, but also for illegitimate children. Bastard is after all a common nickname today, how shameful it was once to be an orphan.
Nowadays those children are recognized by their parents, but before, not long ago, when religions still had a stronghold on our life, it was not possible to recognize those children. They were truly orphans, and the mother had to go into hiding to have that baby before giving it away, or marry as soon as possible, as soon as she became pregnant.
Forced into marriage once again all for the wrong reasons, where love would rarely come to fruition. Religions never cared about love within any marriage, they only cared about more babies, the idea of sin and providing more rules to obey.
Why would this idea of having as many babies within marriage be so important to religions? Well, let’s see where it leads. Overpopulation, unsustainable society, incapable of providing for everyone. Not a problem, let’s have 30 billion human beings on the planet, as it will quickly become after a few more generations, as it grows exponentially.
Moreover, they all need to be legitimate, meaning we can track down exactly where they come from and their lineage. Something openly highly important to the Mormons, but less openly in Christianity, but still there at the heart of it.
It is the ultimate tool of surveillance, against your own privacy, the only way they can tell who you are just by looking into their own records. Born here, baptized here from those parents, married there with that person with those witnesses, died there. We know who that person is, we can hold that person accountable.
What then, what is the point? Well, the point has been proven in Québec, Canada, the French Catholic part against the English Protestant part. This example could be extended to Ireland. The course towards colonization in America was plagued with wars, and who will ultimately win that war. Spanish Catholics won in the South, American Protestants and all the derivatives won in the middle, the Royalists Protestants and others won in the North.
The French Catholics still in Québec are an anomaly. All the laws for assimilation were in place. Not only it was carefully drafted in the Constitution for all people to eventually speak English, it was also designed for Catholicism to disappear once and for all. And you wonder why, when you consider that Catholics and Protestants follow such a similar faith, it is ridiculous to even have thought of fighting over this.
It did not work that way, religion was merciless in Québec. Driven by fear, the population did exactly what all the priests had been told to preach by the Vatican. Having 16 children was a normal occurrence for most women. And those laws about having to give up one’s religion and language in order to get into politics or move up in the social hierarchy, to gain any kind of power, never worked. Results? Québec and the French speaking population around it, is reaching today around 10 million of the Canadian population, a third of the country, all still Catholic. It has not come to that, but Québec could easily have recruited an army and fought anything coming its way.
So you see, it is not a stupid idea to have as many babies as possible, it ensures the survival of a religion. Within a few generations, 100 years, 200, 300, you end up with quite a sizable population, all Catholic, capable of defending itself, and even, attack in order to convert others.
This is why religions want as many babies as possible, are against abortion, against contraception, against gays, and also, as it was still popular in Eastern Europe until recently, sterilizing mentally challenged or physically deformed people. Of course, if the population has sex with only one partner within marriage, diseases are less likely to decimate your glorious and powerful nation. All to ensure the survival of a religion. It is a question of power and supremacy of the world, and purity of the races.
Now, this part about legitimate babies is interesting. How do you explain that it is important that those children are born within marriage? What does it matter if one million children are born outside of marriage in, for example, a population of 10 million? You still have 10 million Catholics, you still have possibly one million more soldiers who can all rally to your cause of spreading your religion around, until all of America is Catholic, if that could still be a reachable goal.
Let’s study what happens to illegitimate children then. They are lost in the system, they have always been. This is Biblical stuff, the great families at the origin, tracking down without doubt your ancestors and descendents. Power has always been a family matter, being part of a powerful family, with money, capable of taking control, being justified in doing so. Look at the Bush family, perfect example that even outside of a monarchy, it is still ongoing today in an American republic.
It made a difference before, not today. In a monarchy context, only legitimate children could inherit fortunes, only people with established past could get into politics or achieve great things. But this was the result of religious philosophies and teachings.
Apart from the fact that those children could not be tracked down, recorded for posterity exactly where they came from, which families, etc., well maybe there was a question of honor. If you do not have any purpose in protecting the honor of your family, perhaps you were more likely to go astray. And there is this question of not transmitting diseases by sleeping around with many partners. It does not cut it though.
The Germans were high on espousing all of those religious concepts, at the height of their power. I do not claim here that they were intent on pursing this idea of a superior race because of religion, but perhaps they reached somehow the same conclusions based on the same arguments.
The Super Man was once an important concept, and though it could openly be admitted by the German Nazis, it could not from the Vatican. It would mean acknowledging that evolution does play an important part in humanity’s development, that with each new generation, you get better bodies and minds. Until the very day you have the ultimate new generation of perfect human beings, and then perhaps a savior can be re-incarnated, Jesus-Christ can come back and accomplish more impressive miracles.
The idea is to produce as many babies as possible, all legitimate, all more intelligent with any new generation, no possibility for deformity or infirmity. It was also essential that they should be strong built, great soldiers for the nation. Blond with blue eyes as a bonus, would mean perfection, purity of the races. Who knows, closer to God maybe. All in the name of the survival and continuity of a nation, a religion. Power and supremacy.
All these concepts and ideas were once important, but no longer. Religion is not, and should not, be central to anyone’s life, if we can hope for any kind of freedom and real democracy in this world. With it should go concepts like being anti-gay, anti-abortion, anti-contraception, anti-women, and the last stronghold: marriage. No more control and power over us! Not interested in fighting those wars for you, ensuring your continued power hold on anyone, least of all us.
In conclusion, I do not support gay marriage, because I do not support marriage at all. I support one law for us all, based on civil rights. No discrimination of any sort based on if you are married or not, if you are a bastard, if you are handicapped, if we can trace you to any important family, if you are gay, if you smoke and drink alcohol or not. One law for us all, without discrimination. As the French adage goes, it should all be about: liberty, equality, fraternity.
Only in the name of romanticism and tradition, would I still support marriage for anyone who still feels like getting married. In that case, well, it becomes the liberty to do so, a question of equality, and so, being in a straight or a gay relationship, or even in a common law relationship, should not matter.
You should have the right to marry anyone you wish, but not gain anything in return. It should not make any difference whether you marry or not, because the law should be the same for everyone, for every single relationship that exists on this planet or even if you are single. And then it becomes a question of fraternity, accepting it as such, eliminating discrimination of any kind.
Marriage, forced marriage, getting married because you might gain something, all this need to disappear. Marrying because you want to, in the name of tradition, because of love, no problem. It should be meaningless, it is becoming more and more meaningless by the day, but you should be allowed to do so.
And if you do want to marry your pet, this is also acceptable. I have no problem with you marrying your parrot, and by law, giving it all away to him or her upon your death. My parrot is after all, much more intelligent and talking much more sense, than many people I meet everyday. This is a real love story, the kind you would rarely witness in real life.
So if you wish to marry a rock, go for it! Because this is where we need to be, where we need to go. Marriage is an institution that was first established for reasons unknown, for reasons that do not seem to benefit us in any way.
It should not matter, or make any difference to your personal security or advantages you should get anyway within this life depending on if you are married or not. Earning a citizenship just because you are married, forcing upon you marriage and eventually a divorce, is discrimination against those who are not married, or who cannot marry. This is wrong.
Marriage should be obsolete. Any benefit you might get from being married should entirely be covered by the law and applied to you whether you are married or not. Marriage should only be entered into because of tradition, but still change nothing to any kind of social status. And then, free from any religious frame of mind, it should not matter if this is a straight or a gay relationship, or if it is between you and the love of your life: your dog.
At any rate, in any case, marriage has long past its sell by date.
All previous political articles by Roland Michel Tremblay:
Roland Michel Tremblay is an author with six books published in France. He is a French-Canadian born in 1972 who has been living in London UK for 15 years. He can be contacted at this e-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org