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  #51  
Old 12-21-2012, 01:14 AM
Tonberry Tonberry is offline
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Originally Posted by InsaneMystic View Post
The problem is that it's a religiously charged word. Marriage has definitions floating around that aren't going to change, as they could only be changed by religious authorities like the RomCath Pope (who shows zero interest to do so): "One man, one woman, for life, now go make babies as that's the whole point of sex!" I'd like for a secular state to get utterly rid of those associations sooner rather than later.

Also, I don't understand the logic in your last paragraph... if it is, to you, two words meaning the same, why would it matter if one of the words gets abandoned outside of religious parlance? If they're the same, then dissolving all (non-religious) marriages and replacing them with civil unions, and making religious marriages obliged to get a c.u. on top in order to get legal benefits, shouldn't get more of a shrug than, say, a candy bar rename ("Raider now is called Twix!" ).
Well, my main problem is actually well shown in your first paragraph. Marriage, to me, is NOT a religiously charged word. It's totally secular, and religious people happen to use the same word for their religious unions. Saying that WE have to change the word we use is saying that they're more important, and that they get to decide and keep a word that, from my point of view, did not start as religious (it was an exchange of property, which is a legal affair, not a religious one).

I've said in the past, if religious people want to have their own word, let them create one, "Goddage" or something, and not make everybody else have to change for their sake. It's just a word change, yes, but everyone is used to this word, all the paperwork is using this word, and it would be a huge hassle for everyone to change all that. "Husband" and "wife" are regularly used for long-term couples who aren't actually married, for instance, and you have expressions such as "old married couple", etc.

The contexts in which the word "marriage" is used in a religious way are, from my point of view, so rare that getting everyone to bend over backwards and say "okay, now this word is ONLY religious, and most of the time we used it, we're going to have to say something else instead" is creating a lot of hassle for no good reason.

We're fine with the idea that a date can be a fruit or a number on a calendar, or a rendez-vous. We're fine with "bottle" being a whole range of objects, from baby bottles to plastic bottles. I can't see why the same word "marriage" couldn't have the two meanings it has had for centuries, "life contract between people", as well as the religious one. It doesn't bother me that they're using my word, but I sure aren't going to change the word I'm using for their sake.

EDIT: Here is a link to a video that, while it's on a different issue (same sex marriage) makes some points similar to my views.

Last edited by Tonberry; 12-21-2012 at 01:25 AM.
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  #52  
Old 12-21-2012, 04:16 AM
JaneQSmythe JaneQSmythe is online now
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Originally Posted by InsaneMystic View Post

If you managed to redefine marriage for you in a way that works for you, and that doesn't lead to betraying freedom and respect for either you or your spouse, then hey, more power to you. It kinda feels to me like you managed to "reclaim the slur", as it were. That's a cool enough feat.
I think that MrS and I had so many conversations about marriage and what it meant to us in particular because we were coming at the idea at such different directions. Because we had such conversations, we were very comfortable with defining what our "marriage" meant BEFORE it happened. We recognized that people and relationships change and our marriage agreements had to do with facing and facilitating those changes, in positive ways, together. By the time we got married (4 years in) we knew exactly what we were agreeing to (and NOT agreeing to) - and wrote our vows to that effect (no "obey" in there, no "forsaking all others", etc).

One of the problems that I see in many of the marriages of people in my life is that because "everyone knows" what marriage means they don't closely examine what the other person means. They think they are on the same page...and they are in different BOOKS. How many times have I heard someone express a sentiment along the lines of "once we are married, things will be like THIS"? - they seem to feel that getting married will change someone's behavior. That whatever conflicts they have will melt away, or the other person will change, because they have to...because they are married. Bullshit! Time goes on an what happens? It wasn't what they assumed, they though it would be different somehow, the shiny wears off and it turns out that the person that they married is still a.) the person that they married - the one they thought would change or b.) a different person entirely because all that nice charming right-talking stuff was the not-married persona that they dropped when the marriage was final.

Religion was not a factor in deciding to get married - we are both agnostic. Legally / financially it did/does provide some perks - which I do take advantage of - but I would prefer, as I stated before, if the government took itself out of the "marriage business" entirely (i.e. they don't get to decide what is and is not a "marriage" and who gets to do it - "marriage" becomes a personal decision) and stuck to the areas I talked about in my first response to your post. (Then, if, at some point, Dude and I elected to ALSO get "married" then I wouldn't go to jail! - but I actually felt that way before Dude was in the picture.)

Sorry, if it seems like I dragged you into a bed of fire by asking you to elaborate on your anti-marriage views. I know it is a topic that pushes buttons for many people. But the most controversial issues are often the most interesting to talk about. I often find that, upon further discussion, people are often closer to agreeing than disagreeing - but terminology and assumptions come into play and people find themselves arguing. For instance, few people here are going to subscribe to an "ownership" model of marriage (although it is still a model largely reflected in our culture and still a real life practice in many cultures) - part of your objection seems to be "fine, then...if that is not what you mean, then call it something else i.e. a civil union." (Pardon me for putting words in your mouth to make a point.) On the other hand it doesn't sound like you think that people should avoid forming "long-term committed relationships" (which is my minimal definition of marriage) just the legal/social institution and what it may imply.

JaneQ
(I am a traditionalist and a non-conformist but NOT a traditional non-conformist.)

PS. For the record - with regard to government defining marriage with regards to the "slippery-slope" arguments (which I don't expect to see here): I don't care if someone wants to "marry" their toaster (might not fit "my definition of marriage - but that is irrelevant) or however many consenting adults of whatever gender; no you can't marry a child (they can't consent) and there are already laws about pedophilia and bestiality - we don't need marriage laws to protect minors and animals, we need to enforce existing laws to protect minors and animals.
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Me: poly bi female, in an "open-but-not-looking" Vee-plus with -
MrS: hetero polyflexible male, live-in husband (together 21+ yrs)
Dude: hetero poly male, live-in boyfriend (together 3+ yrs) and MrS's best friend
Lotus: poly bi female, "it's complicated" relationships with Dude/JaneQ/MrS
TT: poly bi male, married to Lotus, FB with JaneQ
VV and MsJ: bi-women with male primaries, LTR LDR FWBs to JaneQ


My poly blogs on this site:
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Last edited by JaneQSmythe; 12-21-2012 at 04:39 AM.
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  #53  
Old 12-21-2012, 08:09 AM
InsaneMystic InsaneMystic is offline
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Originally Posted by Tonberry View Post
Well, my main problem is actually well shown in your first paragraph. Marriage, to me, is NOT a religiously charged word. It's totally secular, and religious people happen to use the same word for their religious unions.
I can't even relate to that view. It's blatantly obvious to me that it's religiously charged; and in any case, it's objectively, factually wrong to say that it's totally secular. Marriage is a Catholic sacrament. End of story, your point is disproven.

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Originally Posted by Tonberry View Post
Saying that WE have to change the word we use is saying that they're more important, and that they get to decide and keep a word that, from my point of view, did not start as religious (it was an exchange of property, which is a legal affair, not a religious one).

I've said in the past, if religious people want to have their own word, let them create one, "Goddage" or something, and not make everybody else have to change for their sake.
It's not a matter of what is more important, but of simple practicability. By democratic legislation, we can get rid of the secular aspect of marriage, while we can't get rid of the religious ones without instituting a state religion that explicitly doesn't have marriage rites (or at the very least, ban all forms of religion that do have them).

If seperate words are to be used, it must necessarily be secular marriage that gives the term up, because religion has a firm grip on the word and simply cannot be made to give it up by democratic vote. And with civil unions having already been invented (in my eyes, one of the biggest breakthroughs in society ever made!), there's a natural term readily available to replace secular marriage immediately, we just have to go ahead and do it.

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Originally Posted by Tonberry View Post
"Husband" and "wife" are regularly used for long-term couples who aren't actually married, for instance [...]
Huh. That may be a cultural thing... I've never once heard that used for people not actually married around here, with the sole exception of gay couples actively campaigning for gay marriage, who would already be married if it were legal. Everyone else uses the word partners, or a variation of it, never husband and wife; the usual reaction to being addressed as h/w would be "uh, no, we aren't married" nine times out of ten.

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Originally Posted by Tonberry View Post
It's just a word change, yes, but everyone is used to this word, all the paperwork is using this word, and it would be a huge hassle for everyone to change all that. [...] The contexts in which the word "marriage" is used in a religious way are, from my point of view, so rare that getting everyone to bend over backwards and say "okay, now this word is ONLY religious, and most of the time we used it, we're going to have to say something else instead" is creating a lot of hassle for no good reason.
Equal rights for all, and strict separation of church and state, are both pretty damn good reasons to go through a little fuss, IMO. Progress on other forms of equality has always created hassle; imagine all the paperwork and fuss needed to instate a right for women to vote, for instance. That should not ever be a valid counterargument.

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Originally Posted by Tonberry View Post
We're fine with the idea that a date can be a fruit or a number on a calendar, or a rendez-vous. We're fine with "bottle" being a whole range of objects, from baby bottles to plastic bottles. I can't see why the same word "marriage" couldn't have the two meanings it has had for centuries, "life contract between people", as well as the religious one. It doesn't bother me that they're using my word, but I sure aren't going to change the word I'm using for their sake.
(*chooses not to derail this into semantic nitpickery over the synonym examples you gave, even though my fingers are itching...* )
It's not "your word", plain and simple. And yes, it bothers me a lot that people indiscriminately use a word with the connotations this one brings.

To go with what I said to @JaneQSmythe before... There's merit in reclaiming a slur, but I can see no merit in using slurs as synonyms with easily available non-charged words and denying there was any problem with them in the first place. (I'm stopping short of calling marriage "the M-word"... for now. )


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Originally Posted by JaneQSmythe View Post
I think that MrS and I had so many conversations about marriage and what it meant to us in particular because we were coming at the idea at such different directions. [etc.]
I gotta say, your story is impressive. I like it.

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Originally Posted by JaneQSmythe View Post
Sorry, if it seems like I dragged you into a bed of fire by asking you to elaborate on your anti-marriage views. I know it is a topic that pushes buttons for many people. But the most controversial issues are often the most interesting to talk about.
I'm used to it getting heated when I talk about marriage... (imagine being the only one loudly saying "hell no" in a thread named "do you support gay marriage?"... especially when you're not a conservative by any stretch of the imagination, and firmly advocate equal rights for all!)... however, I'm a grown-up and know I could have declined when you asked me.

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Originally Posted by JaneQSmythe View Post
I often find that, upon further discussion, people are often closer to agreeing than disagreeing - but terminology and assumptions come into play and people find themselves arguing. For instance, few people here are going to subscribe to an "ownership" model of marriage (although it is still a model largely reflected in our culture and still a real life practice in many cultures) - part of your objection seems to be "fine, then...if that is not what you mean, then call it something else i.e. a civil union." (Pardon me for putting words in your mouth to make a point.)
Yeah. And those words fit my mouth just right, no worries.

I can't overlook that words have power due to the historical weight they carry... and the baggage the word "marriage" has, to me, is a very negative one, filled with sexism, ownership, meddling of church and state, inequality... many of which are things that polyamory is the exact opposite of. That's enough for me to wish for a world where secular law no longer uses that term in any way, and for considering "poly marriage" to be an oxymoron.

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Originally Posted by JaneQSmythe View Post
On the other hand it doesn't sound like you think that people should avoid forming "long-term committed relationships" (which is my minimal definition of marriage) just the legal/social institution and what it may imply.
Spot on. *nods vigorously*

While that's not my personal "love style"*, I think long term commitment is a perfectly valid alternative way to go about it, and there are excellent reasons for having civil unions to cover the necessary legal ramifications of it.


* I'm in a very happy 'ship for four years and running, and currently could think of no reason why I shouldn't be with R. as my partner another four years or more down the line, regardless of whether or not there may be other partners involved in the meantime; however, I sure would not say there's long term commitment between us. Either of us knows we have freedom to get up and leave at any time if we should ever feel that way, which permanently gives us the pleasure to know we're together right now out of our own choice. Oh, and thankfully, she has no intention to ever marry me... marriage really isn't her cuppa either.
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  #54  
Old 12-21-2012, 08:46 AM
Nudibranch Nudibranch is offline
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Originally Posted by InsaneMystic View Post
[FONT="Georgia"][COLOR="Purple"]
I can't even relate to that view. It's blatantly obvious to me that it's religiously charged; and in any case, it's objectively, factually wrong to say that it's totally secular. Marriage is a Catholic sacrament. End of story, your point is disproven.
With all due respect, my people were marrying many millennia before the Catholic church ever emerged. And it had to do with a statement of human, not supernatural, commitment within a tribe.

Kindly do not pass judgment on all others using recently invented things such as "Catholic sacraments." You may limit your understanding of human experience to what has been written down in the past 2,000 years. Some of us have cultural memory and traditions that go back much further.

There is a strong tradition of secularized marriage in the US. Legally it is based in Anglo-Saxon common law, which was heathen at best. This is the origin of civil marriage: a declaration of transmission of property and of responsibility for childrearing. Among my own ancestors in the US colonies in the 1600s, we married outside any churches (and frequently had our marriages annulled by those who asserted that marriage could only be religious, and since we were not religious, we could not be married--which doesn't make it true).

I have handfasted couples for whom their declaration was of marriage, and in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, two individuals have the power to declare themselves married with absolutely no trappings of religiosity. All that is required is a state license, and two witnesses.

Your message comes across to me as defensive, and disrespectful or rejecting of those of us who were raised in or have come to traditions where marriage has nothing to do with religiosity. My ancestors preserved this notion of marriage, and family, despite genocide in eastern Finland over a thousand years. We have battled for over 350 years in the New World to keep it alive. Don't tell me that our marriages are owed to the Catholic church. My people were killed for singing the old songs. This is why my first ancestors came to the New World to begin with--because the singers of tales were being burned, first the menfolk, and the drums smashed. We were forcibly converted twice, first by the Pope, then by the Protestants.

And look what good it did.

Last edited by Nudibranch; 12-21-2012 at 08:48 AM.
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  #55  
Old 12-21-2012, 10:09 AM
InsaneMystic InsaneMystic is offline
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@Nudibranch,

I have neither passed judgement on, nor disrespected, nor rejected anything, except the objectively and verifiably untrue statement that marriage was "totally secular".

Completely regardless of what other traditions exist, if there is even one religion that treats marriage in terms of religious rites/sacraments/etc., that means it's factually not true that it's a totally secular term. RomCath is one of the religions that does so, and as somebody who was a member of that one until ten years ago, it just happens to be the one I'm most familiar with, so that was the example I used. With that one example to point to, Tonberry's statement has been objectively proven false - there is, undeniably, a religious, non-secular meaning of the term "marriage".

I have neither stated nor implied that RomCath had "invented" marriage, nor that it was a religious institution in every human culture ever. I did not reject or invalidate anybody's cultural history; they are simply not relevant in any way to the argument I made. The RomCath stance on marriage shatters Tonberry's point irretrievably, just by RomCath being a religion, without any need for it to be "The One True Way". (You can take my word on it that I'll be the first one to scoff at the idea that it, or any other religious/spiritual belief system, were anything even remotely like TOTW.)
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Old 12-21-2012, 06:30 PM
ThatGirlInGray ThatGirlInGray is offline
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Hold up, I think there was one misunderstanding that would make this conversation much less intense.

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Originally Posted by Tonberry View Post
Marriage, to me, is NOT a religiously charged word. It's totally secular, and religious people happen to use the same word for their religious unions.
When Tonberry said this, I believe there was an implied "to me after "totally secular". The statement was not meat to be the total sum of the word marriage, but only how it is used in personal use. So then this reply

Quote:
Originally Posted by InsaneMystic View Post
[FONT="Georgia"][COLOR="Purple"]
It's blatantly obvious to me that it's religiously charged; and in any case, it's objectively, factually wrong to say that it's totally secular. Marriage is a Catholic sacrament. End of story, your point is disproven.
was not meant as a sum total of the word marriage either. I believe writing it as "Marriage is at least a Catholic sacrament" would have made the point more clearly, with less offense taken, because the InsaneMystic is indeed factually correct.
Quote:
And yes, it bothers me a lot that people indiscriminately use a word with the connotations this one brings.
This is one area where the majority get to determine how language evolves. Regardless of the historical context, if most people chose to use the word marriage without implying the connotations it once had, then the minority who still keep those connotations forefront in their mind are unfortunately out of luck.

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Originally Posted by InsaneMystic View Post
[FONT="Georgia"][COLOR="Purple"]@Nudibranch,

I have neither passed judgement on, nor disrespected, nor rejected anything, except the objectively and verifiably untrue statement that marriage was "totally secular".
To be fair, that may be what you thought you were doing, but if you re-read what you wrote with a more objective eye you may be able to see how it could be taken as THE blanket definition of marriage from your point of view. I was raised Catholic, and your statement about marriage being a Catholic sacrament certainly confused me! I too thought you were saying that's ALL marriage is until I read your next response.
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  #57  
Old 12-21-2012, 07:14 PM
paradigm paradigm is offline
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In my experience, marriage holds no significance other than the lesson it taught me. We tried to hammer our relationship into societies marriage when we were mono, and had to face the mold of marriage as useless to us. Now it means something else. A commitment. I don't uncommit to anything, I just alter my view of things. Anyone new, is new, lawyers can work wonders if that relationship gets that committed too. Any problems arising are not from marriage, but of your expectations based on it.
Explain it to others and the threat is removed. Everyone needs informed, doesn't matter what you call it. Love is equal, relationships are built.

My opinion, of course.
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  #58  
Old 12-21-2012, 07:19 PM
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SNeacail SNeacail is offline
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Originally Posted by InsaneMystic View Post
Completely regardless of what other traditions exist, if there is even one religion that treats marriage in terms of religious rites/sacraments/etc., that means it's factually not true that it's a totally secular term.
Seriously? Tonberry never said it was a totally secular term, she said it had no religious connotation to HER and many other people. You are the one insisting that because one religion made it a "sacrament" that it is now a totally religious term. Despite the fact that no church can legally marry anyone without the approval of the state (referring to the US). The church doesn't issue marriage licensees, the states do, the church doesn't keep the legal records, those are kept at the County Clerks office. Marriage requiring legal contracts have been around long before the Catholic Church was ever created and is embraced world wide and across many religions, even religions that hate each other. If it was purely a religious word, it would change and from one religion to the next.

This argument seems about as silly as certain groups refusing to use the word Halloween and substituting Harvest Festival instead. It's still a Halloween party. If you don't want to use the word marriage, DON'T! That's your personal choice. To many of the rest of us, marriage doesn't have any religious connotations, other than some ceremonies are performed by a religious leader and maybe in a religious building.
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Old 12-21-2012, 07:37 PM
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nycindie nycindie is offline
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For me, the word marriage is not "charged" with ancient traditions where the wife belongs to the husband. For years, I was anti-marriage and referred to it as a "license to fuck." I felt it was just a way for people to get away with having sex without being ostracized for it. I never cared much for the idea of marriage and have always hated that married people get a better tax break than singles, and so on.

While I did grow up dreaming of someday finding someone to "take care of" me and live with in a nice house, it still took me by surprise when I reached the point where I did meet someone I wanted very much to marry, and we did. I was ecstatic to get married, and we never once thought about all those historical connotations many have attached to the concept of marriage. We simply wanted to be together and wished to commit to each other in a way that our family and friends, and the government, recognized. Now I am getting divorced. I am the fifth generation of women in my family who have been divorced/abandoned/separated, so I had also observed the fact that relationships aren't guaranteed to last forever.

So, I kinda see it from both sides. And when gay marriage became an issue, I have stated many times that I think the states should be in charge of, and grant, civil unions for everyone, no matter whether they are gay or straight or whatever, and let marriages be the domain of religious institutions. Then the legal end is satisfied, and those who feel a marriage is important can go and do it as an extra step in a church or temple or whatever, and it is up to the religious institution whether or not they will marry someone. The state can do the legal paper thing, the religious institutions the marriage thing. In other words, instead of gays aspiring to get married, why not have everyone get down on a level playing field and let straights all start with civil unions. Now, as far as poly's, I know some create LLCs instead of civil unions.
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Old 12-21-2012, 08:04 PM
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I was not so mature. My family did their best to raise me well. But once I realized I did not agree, it was time to reprogram my social conditioning. I was married young, and we are both fortuneaye enough to have been at our core, forgiving and willing to bend and change and grow incessently for each other. That actually led me to poly. It was so much work, but it is so worth it. I want to build that with others. If they will, the rewards are so worth the trials.
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