Killing Traditional Marriage
Last week, North Carolina affirmed traditional marriage and President Obama announced support for marriage equality, without actually promising to do anything in the federal courts to gaurantee these rights. As anyone with a computer and cable TV knows, the issue of marriage equality and traditional marriage has taken a central place in the public conversation, including on my show on http://www.blogtalkradio.com/the-christian-left.
As I was doing my daily walking meditation, I came to the conclusion that marriage equality really is a threat to traditional marriage and that this is not a bad thing. Several of the people I have argued about this with have given me hints. One, who has a theology degree, was even explicit about it - but I did not catch on, stating that marriage is like the union with Christ, where Christ is the bridegroom and the Church is his spouse.
He was absolutely right about that analogy, which does not comport well with a modern understanding of marriage as a partnership of equals. That's the point, of course. Those who believe in traditional marriage don't believe in equality within marriage. They still believe in a hierarchical view where the husband really is the principal partner and the wife is a dependent, if not property. With gay marriage, there are either two people in the dominant gender or no one from it. Either way, it is truly a marriage of equals, making it an archtype of modern marriage, but not the traditional variety.
The marriage equality movement should embrace the charge that we are out to kill the traditional understanding of marriage with the husband as the dominant spouse. It is time for the understanding to die and we should say so proudly. We must also dig deeper and make those who defend traditional marriage explain their beliefs on whether in marriage two people are one flesh, and therefore equal, or whether the husband is still the dominant party. You might find some sputtering.