It is rather ironic that anti-gay marriage proponent, and self named “defender of Traditional Marriage” in California, Doug Manchester is getting divorced. Almost poetic. Perhaps if Mr Manchester had spent less time funding anti-gay movements, less time stealing $9.3million from the joint account of him and his wife of 43 years, and more time trying to save his traditional marriage, this essence we know as Karma wouldn’t have made him a bit of a public laughing stock.
Mr Manchester told the New York Times in July 2008, that he was funding Prop 8, because; “my Catholic faith and longtime affiliation with the Catholic Church leads me to believe that marriage should be between a man and a woman.” I hope I can count on Manchester’s money to help me fund an initiative designed to ban divorce… because the Catholic Church doesn’t look too kindly at that particular subject.
The word “traditional” in the horribly right winged mantra; “traditional marriage” is almost ironic in itself. In the same way that American’s tend to call tall people “shorty“. Whilst marriage certainly has been a case of man and woman throughout history (mainly because society had not evolved to the stage where homosexuality was acceptable, and that punishment for homosexuality was considered perfectly legitimate, yet for some odd reason all Christians, even Mr Manchester would agree we’ve evolved enough as a society to ignore other sections of Biblical “traditions“, such as Exodus 21:7 – “If a man sells his daughter as a female slave, she is not to go free as the male slaves do“), it has no traditional precedent in the slightest.
Take Biblical marriage for example. If the homophobes among us are going to chant the boring, unoriginal, ridiculous mantra of “God made Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve” (God also made Eve out of Adam’s rib. So when you’re finished attacking Gay people, why not surgically remove your own rib, and try to raise it into a Female, go on, try it!) then they also have to, by their very own logic, point out that Exodus 21:10 states “If he marries another woman, he must not deprive the first one of her food, clothing and marital rights“…… So, traditional marriage, in the very earliest sense, the very essence of what marriage traditionally meant, was that you can marry as many women as you like, as long as you look after the first wife.
Now, if we skip forward to the New Testament, we see; Matthew 22:23-32, which paraphrases Deuteronomy 25:5, with; “Moses told us that if a man dies without having children, his brother must marry the widow and have children for him“
Traditional Marriage is becoming a little bit complicated. It certainly isn’t a romantic union of pure Love between a man and a woman. It can be apparently between a man and many women, a man and his brother’s widow, or if you’re King David – anyone you quite like the look of on that particular day.
Roman marriage was not much filled with love and romance either. Roman women were expected to marry, purely to produce a son, and purely because the wealth of the girl, when married, moved entirely to the husband, who would use it as political capital. The ceremony itself did not involve mother-in-laws crying at how happy their Daughter looked, or the kissing of the bride, or the romantic glance into each others eyes. Instead, it consisted of the two households signing into agreements about property and wealth, and the agreement from the new wife that she would provide children, pretty much on demand. If a wife failed to produce male offspring, the male would often divorce her and just move on to another woman in the hope of producing a male.
Skip even further, to Renaissance Europe, and England in particular, we are presented with the death of King Henry Tudor, and the crowning of his second son (Prince Arthur, originally supposed to succeed his father, died young), the 17 year old King Henry VIII. Henry’s new bride, and the widow of Arthur (sticking with tradition so far!) Catherine was the daughter of the recently formed Spain (the marriage between Ferdinand of Aragon and Isabella of Castile) and so a powerful Princess. The marriage between Arthur, and then Henry, and Catherine was one designed purely to create an ally out of England and Spain in the face of a powerful enemy in France. Henry soon became overly bored with Catherine, given that she failed to produce any living sons to succeed Henry. She gave him a daughter, the future Queen Mary, and Henry wanted a son. He became convinced that he was cursed to have no sons, and that God did not appreciate him marrying his Brother’s widow (clearly the contradictions of the Bible confused him). It was always going to be difficult to get a marriage annulment from the Pope, given that the Pope was now under the control of The Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, who just happened to be Catherine’s nephew. This in turn, lead to Henry deciding he didn’t need the Pope’s permission, and so broke from Rome, which set the ball rolling for what he now know as the Protestant Reformation – cemented fully, during the reigns of Henry’s only son King Edward, and his daughter Queen Elizabeth – the very reason us Brits aren’t some mindless Catholic drones. Meanwhile, Catherine, was simply banished from Court. And the subsequent marriages of Henry, were all designed purely for the creation of a male heir. Marriage in Tudor England, Renaissance Europe, and in fact, the preceding centuries had absolutely nothing to do with love, nor was it anything like it is today. Marriage was reasons of power and wealth, the joining of two strong families with visions of grandeur. It is the reason Henry’s father, Henry Tudor married the niece of Henry’s enemy, Richard III. It cemented the Tudor dynasty beautifully. Marriage in the proceeding centuries following the Tudor’s comes directly from our 16th Century King, marrying six times, executing two, and divorcing two, all for the sake of a male heir.
A couple of centuries later, and America has just elected it’s first President. George Washington at the helm of perhaps the most impressive Government in American History. John Adams as Vice President. Alexander Hamilton at the Treasury. John Jay as Chief Justice. And most importantly to this blog, Thomas Jefferson as Secretary of State. Jefferson is possibly one of the most contradictory characters in American history. He promotes small government, wont actually shut up about the joys of small government and how destructive large government is….. and yet it is Jefferson who expands government the most when he becomes America’s 3rd President. Jefferson penned the Declaration of Independence, writing that “all men are created equal” yet, he owns many slaves. When Jefferson’s wife died, it is widely assumed that he had a long affair with a slave in his possession, Sally Hemings, whom he does not free, but instead, has sex with. His own personal sex slave. She then has children, which DNA testing has supported the notion that all six of them, were Jefferson’s. The four surviving children, also become his slaves until the age of 21 (two ran away). A man has needs!!!! Jefferson refused to marry Hemings, stating of mixed race marriages; “The amalgamation of whites with blacks produces a degradation to which no lover of his country, no lover of excellence in the human character, can innocently consent“. So, marriage between blacks and whites during the 18th Century, it would seem was just as sneered upon by the elites, as gay marriage is today. Jefferson, was the 18th Century’s version of Doug Manchester when it comes to marriage.
In fact, it was only in 1967 that the U.S Supreme Court announced it’s decision in the case of Loving v. Virginia, that Anti-Miscegenation laws were unconstitutional.
Marriage has been a subject that has no formal tradition. It isn’t something that has been set in stone since the Biblical era. In fact, it doesn’t resemble Biblical or even early Christian traditions in any way shape or form. It has been used for wealth, prestige, political gain, property, and power, producing of children, much much more than anything to do with a sense of love and unity. Marriage, like society, evolves. We exist at a time when the next stage in the evolution of Marriage is occurring, and whilst 16th Century Europe struggled to come to terms with a major stage in Marriage evolution, with what it meant for a King to proclaim himself more important than the Church when it comes to the institution of Marriage itself, I’d suggest that in today’s World, society in general has evolved to a much more sensible and reasonable level to be able to accept changes, like the inclusion of homosexual couples, without taking opposition to the extreme.
If we are to cite obscure passages in the Bible, to state our case against certain subjects, then we must also cite the Bible to state our case against accepted norms. I’m sure I can count on Mr Manchester’s support when I start selling my children into Slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7-11.