Wednesday, January 25, 2012

I won't miss Starbucks at all

As you may already know, Washington State is the newest state trying hard to pass a new law that will legally define all Catholics as bigots legalize so-called gay marriage. I lived in Washington State back when I was in high school, and the real surprise here is that Washington State hasn't managed to do this long before now, being all cool and hip and trendy and totally in love with how cool and hip and trendy they are. I mean, Iowa--Iowa!--beat them to sodomite marriage. Hard to believe--really, now, does Iowa even have tofu or a Subaru dealer? Shocking.

And just as it's not surprising that Washington State would be rushing to be one of the cool kids by declaring that marriage has nothing to do with reproduction and that children don't need a mother and a father, one of each insisting that two men are a husband and wife and two women are a husband and wife just exactly like a man and a woman are a husband and wife, it's also not surprising that corporate sponsors of state-approved sodomite relationships are eagerly signing up to show their support for the whole business. Microsoft and Nike apparently want you, Christian and Catholic Americans, to know that while they'll grudgingly sell you their products you are bigoted and evil for thinking that marriage actually means something other than a fabulous party and tax breaks; and now Starbucks has signed on:
Starbucks (SBUX, Fortune 500) said in a statement Tuesday that it was "proud to join other leading Northwest employers in support of Washington state legislation recognizing marriage equality for same-sex couples."

"This important legislation is aligned with Starbucks' business practices and upholds our belief in the equal treatment of partners," the statement read.

Last year, Starbucks was among a group of 70 businesses and organizations that filed a brief in federal court opposing the Defense of Marriage Act, which restricts the definition of marriage to that between a man and a woman.
Because, you know, nothing reminds people so much of perverted sexual morality and the rush to deconstruct marriage like a cup of overpriced mediocre coffee.

To be honest, I think it's abysmally stupid for corporations to take positions on hot-button political issues. This is because I think most giant corporations are run by people who would sell one-way tickets to Hell to orphaned third-world refugees if the return on investment were good enough; they're not exactly shining moral guides. Having a corporate goody-two-shoes lecture me about how my Catholicism makes me an evil bigot unfit to live and work in this nation is sort of like having a celebrity lecture me about environmentalism and my "footprint" right before she jets off for her fifth vacation so far this year. Sorry; can't hear you over the blaring hypocrisy.

Luckily, I've pretty much kicked the coffee habit, and rarely drink it anymore; even more luckily, there is apparently no one in the entire Starbucks corporate world who knows how to make a decent cup of tea. So I won't miss Starbucks at all. Other Catholics and those Christians who share our view that holding to the notion that marriage is a man and a woman is not only not bigoted, but a sane and rational viewpoint expressing what humans have thought for centuries now, and that having to add the adjective "traditional" in front of the noun "marriage" so that people will know we aren't referring to sterile unions of same-sex pairs ought to be wholly unnecessary may wish to consider whether or not they want to continue to purchase their daily caffeine fix from people who think they are nasty bigots and that their religious views make them haters.

Because this isn't about equality at all--it is, and always has been, about pushing religion out of the public square. It may--just barely--be tolerated for a church to preach that sodomy is intrinsically evil. But it won't, very soon now, be possible to live as though you think that's actually true. And people who sell us computers, tennis shoes, and coffee apparently think they have the right to define Catholicism as bigotry and Catholics as bigots for embracing and accepting our faith's deeply held teachings--that's what they mean by "tolerance."


Jimothy said...

i'm just wondering why all this zeal to make sure all adoption agencies don't give the smallest preference to heterosexual couples. i mean before Massachusetts cut off Catholic Charities did homosexual couples really have that hard of a time adopting through other means? is it impossible for them to adopt in Arizona due to the new marital preference, or just (as i suspect) somewhat more difficult.

i'd expect them to be outraged if it was an outright ban we were talking about but so far as i know there're plenty of homosexuals who've adopted kids and i somehow doubt religious agencies referring them to someone else is a horrible impediment

Geoff G. said...

Because this isn't about equality at all--it is, and always has been, about pushing religion out of the public square.

It's always got to be all about you, doesn't it? And we're supposed to be the narcissists?

Actually, from their point of view, it's all about the bottom line, as you might expect. Many companies have found it useful to attract and retain gay and lesbian employees by offering domestic partner benefits. Things like health and dental insurance, disability, stuff like that. But the insurance companies make them verify that the partnership does actually exist, and the taxes can be complicated to sort out because benefits for straight couples are deductible but those for gay couples aren't, etc., etc. So from their point of view, it simplifies the paperwork. Simple question: are you married? Yes? Fine, you're both covered.

I suppose you could make the argument that the simplest thing to do would be not to offer health insurance to same-sex domestic partners at all. And you'd be right. And lots of companies make that very decision.

But would denying these people health insurance be the pro-life decision? Only if your pro-life concerns end at birth, which all too often seems to be the case.

Jimothy said...

^this reminds me of the "argument" that conservatives should support Planned Parenthood, because contraceptives prevent pregnancy, therefore it's pro-life. plus there'll be fewer out-of-wedlock births, so...Family Values!

pro-life's a phrase with a specific application, i'm fine with people making arguments but the "what's REALLY pro-life/pro-choice/liberal/conservative" rhetorical jujitsu is annoying no matter what the topic

David said...

Well, I welcome me a sodomite marriage, and I hope the legislature does pass the law.

Go Washington!

Though, to be honest, I find it interesting you credit a primary reason gay people would want their marriages recognized as such (in my view, they exist with or without your approval, the states, or your church's definition) is for tax breaks and fabulous parties.

You can talk about your charity toward the sodomites and the calls of the catechism, but I feel you're willfully being ignorant here to the point of cruelty. For all the good the public institution of family and marriage provides to those who partake of it, I don't understand the reason to deny it to gay men and women and in fact willful disadvantage them in this regard.

But alas, the moral judgment of a sodomite must be a shallow to wave away, eh?

Red Cardigan said...

No, David, we've had this conversation before. I've been lectured repeatedly by gay marriage supporters that:

-marriage has nothing to do with the traditional family.
-marriage has nothing to do with having children.
-marriage has nothing to do with creating a stable atmosphere in which to raise children.
-marriage has no need to be connected to love (I've been told that it would be fine, for instance, for two celibate elderly female friends to call themselves "married" under Iowa law, for instance).

So what's left?

The tax breaks, mainly. And, for some, the party, though I think the celibate elderly female friends would probably skip that part.

Red Cardigan said...

Oh--and apart from the good that marriage does in terms of encouraging men and women to form a stable social bond before having children together, what exactly do you see as the public good that is marriage that a cohabitating gay couple doesn't have? Again: the tax breaks. Well, and Church (especially Catholic Church) approval, but cohabitating straight couples don't get that either, and gay couples never will no matter how "married" the state tells them they are.

Jimothy said...

let's pose a hypothetical: if homosexual attraction was a conscious choice -- it isn't, although the existence of people, particularly women, who've moved back and forth without religious pressure shows that it's not always cut-and-dry either -- would kids being better off with a mother and father even be a question?

no. but because people've bought into the idea that nothing innate can be a negative, we're supposed to pretend that there can't possibly be any difference (except of the "well-off lesbians make the best parents" variety of course) and that racial and gender differences are equally of no consequence.

my grandmother was raised for her mom and aunt. i don't think they'd feel denigrated by the idea that they couldn't duplicate what a father could. it's not an either-or where anything that falls short of that is worthless.

Siarlys Jenkins said...

"I think most giant corporations are run by people who would sell one-way tickets to Hell to orphaned third-world refugees if the return on investment were good enough; they're not exactly shining moral guides."

How true... but they will also sign on to anything they believe to be popular with their potential customer base.

Whether the proposed law will legally define all Catholics as bigots depends on whether there is any provision defining as "hate speech" any public statement that there is something sinful about homosexual acts. If there is, it will be struck down by the Supreme Court, not because a majority of justices are Catholic (and the rest Jewish -- no WASPS left), but because such a provision is in patent violation of the First Amendment.

I wonder if it is possible to issue marriage licenses while still favoring heterosexual couples for adoption. It makes perfect sense to me, but I bet nobody has thought to frame the law that way.

A word on narcissism: I think I have used that word more than anyone, specifically about the navel-contemplating cry baby who for some inexplicable reason was given space in TIME magazine to wail that he's not really equal (in New York) because churches are still allowed to refuse to host his wedding, WAH! I don't believe Geoff supports his position on that. And I don't much care if my state legislature were to vote to license same-sex couples in some manner. But anyone who wants to preach "I believe that God told us this is sinful conduct" has a sound First Amendment right to say that. Those who disagree are free to ignore it.

Patrick said...

Is it possible that the highly educated members of the Boards of Directors of Microsoft, Concur, Group Health, Nike, RealNetworks, Vulcan Inc, Google, Starbucks, Alcoa, Levi Strauss & Co., Kimpton Hotel Group, Zipca, ABT Associates, Aetna, Inc., Akamai Technologies, Inc., Alere Inc., Bank of New York Mellon, Bright Horizons Children’s Centers, CBS Corporation, The Chubb Corporation, Communispace Corp., Constellation Energy Group, Inc., Eastern Bank Corp., Exelon Corp., National Grid USA, Inc., Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co., New Balance Athletic Shoe, Inc., The Ogilvy Group, Inc., Onyx Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Time Warner Cable, Inc., Xerox Corp., Zipcar, Inc. and DOZENS of other companies take their fiduciary duties seriously and have fairly determined that supporting gay marriage is in the best interests of their employees and their shareholders?

Red Cardigan said...

Well, Patrick, I think it's more likely that our ruling classes and their corporate whipping-boys think it's time to tell us to get rid of that pesky religion that makes us care when they manufacture their stupid stuff in third-world slave shops, care when they trash the environment, care when they sell materialism as freedom, care when they treat US workers like dirt by mandating tons of unpaid overtime and hold the threat of importing foreign workers and/or outsourcing everything to make them do it--in general, care when they impose their evil agendas on humanity. But if they can collude with the government to muzzle the Church over something like gay marriage, then pretty soon there will be no one to complain about their rapacious and predatory habits and rampant injustices toward local and foreign workers alike--and THAT, of course, would very much be in the stockholders' interests, since all the stockholders ever care about are unsustainable profit increases and sucking up every last dollar from the corpses of American industry.

Geoff G. said...


pro-life's a phrase with a specific application

With respect, pro-life means exactly that. It means favoring policies that promote human life. And to give Red her full due, she has argued passionately on many topics beyond abortion that fall under the same category, including the death penalty and euthanasia and war and torture. All of these fall under the category of "pro-life", if the phrase is to have any meaning at all.

And yes, if we truly believe that each and every human life has dignity and value and ought to be treated as such, then that includes medical treatment too.

"Pro life" means we don't kill unborn children. It also means we ensure those kids get their shots, get proper medical care and have the best opportunity we can find to give them a stable home to grow up in. It means we don't abandon the woman who finds out she has cancer because she was working in a retail job without health coverage. It means we don't allow either our police or foreign policy to adopt a "shoot first, ask questions later" motto. It means, where we can, we preserve even the lives of heinous criminals, holding out the hope that their lives might in some way be turned to the good. It means we care for elderly parents, right up to the point of natural death, knowing full well that any premature ending would rob us and them of the richness of moments that have not come to pass yet.

That's what being pro-life is, not a slogan to yell at the other tribe, but a celebration and nurturing and protecting of the wonder and richness and amazing beauty of each and every human being out there. A philosophy that will inform a myriad of policy decisions, not just one. From conception to grave.

Well, Patrick, I think it's more likely that our ruling classes and their corporate whipping-boys think it's time to tell us to get rid of that pesky religion that makes us care when they manufacture their stupid stuff in third-world slave shops[....]

Red, my dear, when was the last time any major denomination made any kind of a ruckus over any of the things you mentioned? Yes, some of the liberal and mainline Protestant denominations do take the social justice issues you mentioned seriously, as do some liberal Catholics. But with the notable exception of the illegal immigration issue, the Roman Catholic Church, and still less the social conservatives and evangelicals have very effectively muzzled themselves by uncritically attaching themselves to the hip of supply siders, union busters and deregulators.

Jimothy said...

first, i see my brief comment didn't go through, but i was telling SJ that no, there is no way to allow for exemptions/preferences in adoption if SSM is law. once you've decided that there is no difference between homosexual and heterosexual couples of course they must be treated exactly the same. the only exemptions that would survive would be hermetically-sealed Church ones.

secondly, i'm a keep it simple type of person. that means i'm not into philosophical navel-gazing about what the word conservatism means (inevitably twisting it around to justify liberal ends) or, more to the point, what the terms "pro-life" and "pro-choice" mean in a political context. all the other issues mentioned as pro-life are separate debates. its exclusively concerned with abortion and whether the life in question is really a life, and therefore should not be done away with because of problems it might cause for the mother. now of course if you want to criticize pro-lifers for being for certain wars, against government-mandated healthcare, or hell against anti-obesity measures if you wanna stretch it then fine, but that's something else.

lastly, there is no doctrinaire "Catholic policy" on exact labor-union policy, school policy, trade policy, whatever. there is on abortion and what marriage is. so that's why they're focused on these "minor" issues. furthermore the economic issues are more shades of grey -- i'm not interested in defending "social justice" that equates to '70s-era stagnation and economic inefficiency where we get to feel good about companies being supposedly fairer if it means they are unsustainable and implode rather than being slimmed down and surviving. there's a balance here.

Bain Capital '12 y'all

freddy said...

Erin, a fine post. Your last comment really nails it.

Remember, pro "gay" "marriage" folks: when the tyranny has parted you from your last dollar; when you are no longer useful to the corporate state *they* will issue you your pink triangle and march you off to the camps.

We Catholics will already be there, of course, digging in the muck and dying by the thousands. Don't worry, we'll try not to say, "Told you so."

Siarlys Jenkins said...

Jimothy has made an ex cathedra pronouncement. Does anyone care to bow to it as somehow infallible? I've been pointing this out on almost every blog I comment on: the internet has produced a kind of hubris where A WHOLE LOT OF PEOPLE think "If I, even I, say so, then it is Established As Truth."

At least the Bishop of Rome had to win the support of a College of Cardinals, which is a lot more credentials than Jimothy can claim. And the original used of "I, even I..." was made by someone omniscient, which as far as I know none of us is, not even Jimothy.

I DON'T believe that there is "no difference" between a heterosexual couple and a homosexual couple. I am open to the notion that, since some of our fellow citizens prefer the affections of an individual of their own gender, it may not be a bad idea to provide a framework of formal application and licensure so they can enter into a binding mutual contract.

But, they are not "similarly situated" in either a legal or biological sense. It is biologically obvious, without resort to any religious canon, that heterosexuality is the norm for the human species as a species. That doesn't mean we have to ostracize the statistical outliers. But it is arguably true that the healthiest option for most or all children is to grow up with a parent of each sex.

I can't pronounce that any of this is The Truth. But, if you have a different idea, explain why. Try to persuade the rest of us, unless you are merely in love with the sound of your own voice.

Jimothy said...

i was using "you" in the general sense. my point was that there cannot be any exemptions/preferences once homosexual marriage is law, because you are not establishing a different kind of marriage, you are changing marriage to mean a generic two-person relationship. once this is the case the fact they can't procreate is an unfair disadvantage that has to be remedied in the interests of fairness, so no limits in adoption would be tolerated.

as to whether gender matters in child-rearing, it strikes me as a dead-end argument. conservatives call it common sense, liberals call it prejudice. of course it's not entirely surprising that upper-middle class lesbians might do better on average in some studies when they're picking out Super-Gene Babies in IVF, but regardless of how well kids raised by homosexual couples (or a single parent, or their relatives) do most people no doubt think "mom" and "dad" are not just functions to be deconstructed and duplicated.

Siarlys Jenkins said...

Jimothy, if you believe what you seem to in fact believe (as I peer through the clouds of sardonic point-scoring), you give up too easily. Just because some idiot says two different things are "just alike" does not mean that if they win one round, therefore, all of us have to give up on winning another round.

Even the exact composition of for and against is different on each distinct question. For instance, I applauded the reasoning of Lawrence v. Texas but derided Newsweek's cover angle "Is Gay Marriage Next?" That was a kind of self-fulfilling prophecy, since the culture vultures wanted to play it that way, but it wasn't inherent in either the language of the constitution or the reasoning of the court.

Jimothy said...

but this isn't some slippery slope like SSM -> polygamy, it's baked in the cake. if marriage is simply a two-person relationship, but one type of two-person relationship can naturally form families and the other can't, then Equality demands we rectify that and don't treat them differently at all. there will be an exemption for religions insofar as its happening within the walls of their own church but that's it.

as for Lawrence it's my understanding that Kennedy (the brave soul who flip-flopped and prevented Roe from being overturned in the early '90s to add to my discussion above) worded the reasoning so broadly that a future constitutional right to homosexual marriage would not be unrealistic.

Siarlys Jenkins said...

There are slippery slopes, but every change in the law, or in understanding of existing law, is not a slippery slope to just anywhere.

Taking the words used in Loving v. Virginia, and applying them so broadly that they suggest a constitutional right to marry whomever (or whatever?) one wishes, as a matter of individual wish fulfillment, is indeed a slippery slope. I've been known to join the sarcasm about why not a dog, a tree, or a car...

But, the right to be left alone, in the privacy of one's own home, is not automatically a slippery slope to formal public recognition and approbation.

Further, if a majority of citizens agrees to provide some legal process for recognition of same-sex couples, simply because they exist, that does not mean that we are duty bound to provide the same recognition to bestiality, polygamy, incest, or automobile fetishes. Why not? Because, these are not "similarly situated." Each is different, so there is a rational basis to grant recognition to one, ignore another, and suppress yet another.

Because I favor criminal penalties for murder, must I therefore also favor criminal penalties for playing cards on Sunday?

Try reading the Lawrence decision in full, instead of relying on the understanding conveyed by someone else's propaganda who may also not have read the decision in full. The only justice who inadvertently opened up a future constitutional right to gay marriage was Sandra Day O'Connor. That is because she wanted to undo the previous decision finding laws against homosexual conduct constitutional, without admitting she had joined in a mistaken ruling. She wanted to rely on "equal protection of the laws" rather than "right to privacy." Relying on qual protection of the laws in that manner does indeed open the door to gay marriage as a constitutional right.

All, or nearly all, of the justices were quite clear that their decision held no implications for a constitutional right to same sex marriage. It was mainly people writing polemics against the Lawrence decision who pandered to the notion that it opened the door to so much else, the better to condemn it.

Anonymous said...

Erin, a couple of observations from me, a gay Catholic man: first of all I think that if two men or two women love each other and want to commit themselves to each other in a civil marriage with the legal benefits that ensue from that union, then I think that is wonderful! (I am thinking of Social Security benefits, employer-provided health insurance, whatever).

Your complaint that any objection to same sex civil marriage will brand an objecting Catholic as a bigot is, I think, over-the-top and, well, simply not true. The Catholic Church will not marry a divorced Catholic without an annulment, and I don't recall anyone ever accusing the Church as being bigoted on that score.

Finally, here's a gentle suggestion from me to you: Can the term *Sodomite*. We gays considering it insulting, and akin to the *N* word.

Bern in RI

Michael Maedoc said...

This is not new for Starbucks. they have been doing this for a long time.

Red Cardigan said...

Bern, there are already recorded instances of Catholics being told that our views against homosexual acts make us bigots and our religion both bigotry and hate. Examples abound; I found several recent instances just by Googling a few relevant search terms.

There is not, of course, a "divorced rights group" seeking to brand those who disagree with divorce bigots. That may be the main difference here.

I appreciate your gentle suggestion. I don't, however, see the problem. You wish the right to call a relationship based on sodomy "marriage." I think that using accurate terms is a good idea.

Jimothy said...

SJ, i misremembered who wrote the reasoning then i guess. but yeah it was the equal protection argument. of course if O'Connor's reasoning is referred to in the future Prop 8 case then it's not a slippery slope but a logical outcome.

anyway i'm not talking about the goofy man-on-dog doomsday scenarios, i was talking about adoption which likewise is essentially A->B and not a slippery slope. i don't really know anyone prominent on either side that disputes this -- indeed groups like the Human Rights Campaign take it as a personal affront if the importance of men and women in childrearing is discussed, even in the most qualified terms.

David said...

Caveat: I do not expect this to be published to your readers because of the colorful introduction, nor am I writing this for the public reaction. This is solely to you, Erin.

You want to talk in accurate terms? Why not? We haven't yet talked about your marriage being based on penis-in-vagina penetration, have we? We haven't reduced your and Thad's acquaintance to only sex (as if that's the only reason you're with him; mere convenience of pleasure, because you straights are so selfish and only want to get off).

Truthfully, if you want to reduce everything you have with Thad to the sexual act, then I have no problem with your being "accurate" about gays and calling them sodomites. Such is your right, but please, for any dignity you may have, be truly consistent and view your friends through the lens of only their sexual acts.

You continually use the example of why shouldn't any two friends be able to marry, why shouldn't any two brothers or spinsters have the same rights?

It is blindly ignorant and condescending for you to sit there and compare a gay or lesbian relationship based on love or commitment to a mere friendship. I truly believe the reason you do this is because it allows you to be more callous and cold-hearted to what you see, and if only in substance to reduce the cognitive dissonance.

If you asked me, "Should two men who have sex together be considered married?" I would answer to you, "No". The same to the spinsters or friends scenarios, the man and horse, the man on dog, the man on child, and every other offensive scenario you wish to concoct.

But if you asked me, "Are two men in a romantic relationship — who have pledged to have and to hold from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, from this day forward until death does them part — in a marriage?" I would answer to you, "Yes!!" Emphatically so! And that's what I want to encourage. That's the social expectation I want to inculcate in the masses, for gays and straights, because marriage is good! For the children and for the adults! Your non-sequiturs or refusal to give dignity to gays is what devalues marriage. If you can't view gay relationships more than a friendship, then of course, why shouldn't two spinsters be married?

And that is the difference, Erin, between your myopic scope of gays--your shallow compassion--to what I might put forward or be arguing for. You can't allow yourself to view gay relationships as anything more than the sexual act, are incapable of recognizing anything else.

Red Cardigan said...

Surprise, David! I did publish your comment, because it allows me to talk about the fundamental difference between what you think marriage is, and what marriage actually is.

In the law, believe it or not--and this is still true in the vast majority of states--a couple is not married if they have not celebrated together that marriage act of male-to-female part sexual intercourse. Let's repeat that: the marriage is legally (not just in the Church) invalid without that specific sex act.

Why? Because marriage means something in the law that goes way beyond sex, affection, and romantic love and feelings. And this is true for the whole history of the laws of marriage!

In fact, it's true to say that the law does not and has never cared if two people have romantic attractions and affectionate feelings for each other. The law won't declare a marriage invalid if the husband complains two days after the wedding that actually, he doesn't much like his wife, nor she him. Provided they were free to consent and have consummated the marriage, they're married--and before the days of stupid no-fault divorce laws, they couldn't get divorced, either, not unless one of them left or cheated or did some specific other things that attacked the integrity of the union.

Marriage IS about sex, and it is for a reason--because from one specific kind of sex act children can (not always must, not always will, but CAN) result. Sodomy does not produce children, and thus relationships in which the act of sexual intercourse is physically impossible do not need the protections of marriage--because two adults can arrange their affairs legally in dozens of different ways to suit their specific ideas (e.g., shared property or separate? Inheritance solely or inheritance shared with one person's parents? etc.). It's only when children MAY result that the law has any real reason to act at all--because otherwise the law has to sort out parentage and responsibilities and all sorts of other things, as is actually the case these days with all the cohabitating unmarried parents out there.

If marriage isn't about protecting children, then it means nothing, and we might as well not have civil marriage at all.

Patrick said...


I'm with David on this one. Your reasoning REDUCES marriage to a sex act, and your reasoning that emboldens you to refer to David as a sodomite is the same reasoning that would embolden you to refer to my mother by a terrible word unfit for printing that begins with an F, solely because of what she does with my father. Such a view is insulting to married couples.


Interesting theory about the reason behind using dehumanizing language when referring to gay people. It's similar to what criminoligists say that rapists and murderers tell themselves about their victims. If they don't see the humanity, it's easier to hurt them.


Red Cardigan said...

No, Patrick, my reasoning does not reduce marriage to a sex act. My reasoning is based on the legal and common definition of marriage for centuries now. Marriage has been a specific kind of union between a man and a woman. It's not mere friendship, and you don't consummate marriage with a handshake.

The reason it would be inaccurate to refer to anyone's married mother with nasty "F" words is that there is a presumption that married sex is lawful sex (and that it's only fair to use labels for people who engage in unlawful sex). There used to be a strong presumption that unmarried people were chaste, too, even if the reality was sometimes not quite that good. But these days, we assume everyone over age 12 is sleeping around and that there's no reason at all not to engage in illicit sex with one's boyfriend/girlfriend/both, let alone having casual "friends with benefits" sex etc., so I ask again: what does marriage actually mean to anyone?

Marriage in the old understanding not only did not reduce marriage to a sex act, it elevated the sex act to something important and sacred. Nowadays, nobody thinks sex is important or sacred, and few people even agree that marriage means restricting sex to one other person (though, of course, you *can* order your marriage that way--but it's just a couple's preference, and if they'd rather have an open marriage with lots of extra sex partners that's just fine too). Once again: what the Hell (literally) does marriage mean to anyone anymore?

I think that few people even realize what the legal definition of marriage used to be, or why it mattered to practice premarital chastity, etc. In our crazy, anything goes, sex all the time with anybody who's willing world, maybe the truth is that marriage really doesn't mean anything anymore.

Red Cardigan said...

And on that note: it's my daughter's birthday today, so my blog availability will be spotty. This is shaping up to be another one of those "How dare you use the nasty, wicked, evil word "slut" when there's nothing whatsoever wrong with people choosing to live a life of voluntary rampant sexual immorality and promiscuity!" threads, so I'd rather not deal with it this weekend.

But next week: look for a post about why we're a culture that is proud to be evil and to do evil, so long as nobody ever uses words that describe evil in such a way as to make evildoers feel bad, guilty or ashamed.