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The Tragedy Of Gay Marriage Essay

2073 words - 8 pages

Sam Schulman’s “The Worst Thing About Gay Marriage” presents an interesting argument against gay marriage that hinges upon maintaining a traditional form of marriage. He actually claims that gay marriage is “unnecessary”(381). According to Schulman, there are 4 primary effects of marriage within his definition he calls the kinship system. First, marriage protects and controls a woman’s sexuality. Second, the possible pairings are limited by the kinship system to avoid incest or other taboos. Third, marriage creates a situation where licit sex can occur. Fourth, it places a clear divide between childhood innocence and adult, married, life. All of which is in addition to maintaining a standard family hierarchy, in which a marriage almost forcibly pulls two family together and creates a structure for children to be brought up in. He also presents a variety of shaky arguments with the general point that gay marriage does not and can’t have “the authority and majesty of the kinship system”(383). Since he sees gay marriage as entirely rooted in the relationship between two people, and he dismisses that as a minor part of the institution of marriage, he predicts this kind of marriage will disappear and will only be remembered with a laugh.
This paper does not consider for a second that any marriage apart from one that fulfills these principles can be satisfying. There is a very strong implication that this is the proper form of marriage, and anything else is some sort of uninspiring deviancy. This is almost completely unsupported. He even concedes that romantic marriage forms the majority of marriages today in the west, but immediately denounces the romantic aspect of marriage. It is pretty easy to tear down his argument that this should be the definition of a marriage. For example, maintaining virginity until marriage appears to be a rarity today as opposed to the norm as this article might imply. There is no data about it, but there is also no reason to believe that a virgin’s marriage is any more or less sturdy that any other. The fact that pervasive premarital sex has not significantly changed the dynamics of marriage is a strong counterpoint to the thought that marriage is there to control sexuality. Women’s sexuality does not need to be protected by marriage, women do a good job of that themselves. It also means that marriage is no longer the concrete barrier between a nonsexual childhood and a sexual adulthood, the line is considerably blurrier with minimal negative effects. People obviously do not seem to care about the distinction between so-called “licit” and “illicit” sex, or at least not enough for it to affect their actions. So, with this one trend, three parts of his definition of marriage have failed to define many marriages of today. All that remains at that point is kinship marriage’s ability to make certain marriages taboo. While I agree it is important to avoid incest, that is hardly strong enough to justify an entire system. This...

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