American Puritanism and Gay Marriage {a repost from five years ago}

There is nothing herein that stands opposed to Gay Marriage; if there are any questions, they are targeted at how marriage has been defined culturally, and linguistically over the millennia. An examination of the etymology of the titles given to the two heterosexuals joining in current matrimony will reveal that marriage has as its chief, if not only, subtext, breeding, that is, having children; no differently, though, than a farmer who mates his cow with a bull . . . if there was a time when this was more overt, the nearly unilaterally agrarian medieval European landscape and village life, or in antiquity, when being fruitful and multiplying had nothing by necessity to do with love but survival, then so be it. I am concerned herein for how it remains true sub-textually today, and resides in the etymologies of the words husband and wife.

The language tells us everything. Wife comes from the word for female; woman from the words for female person, which, in the Anglo-Saxon tradition, a woman was before marriage; after she was only female as in any female of any species of animal: breeder. The man she marries is her husband, the husband, a breeder not as in brood-mare, but as in the one that manages the breeding. Other alliances for power or wealth are understood, but also extensive of property rights, which until the ROMAN Empire, only a man could inherit; and after the fall of Rome, still the case in most societie. Any marriage that does not produce children can be annulled even by the Catholic Church.

Producing children is everything in the traditional mind; even when wealth and power alliances are not contingent from the marriage, children and having many of them is wealth for poor people, has always been their retirement, their social security and medicare before these institutions in America have mismanaged elder care. The orhodox religious pronouncement to be fruitful is just that; marriage also reduces the number of bastards and aligns men and women in legal responsibility for children and thus puts less financial strain on organizations managing orphanages, mostly religious institutions.

Hollywood censorship of sex and its rating sytem for movies is a part of America’s fear of sexuality. Whether hetero or homo, fear of sex is a big part of America’s fear of homosexulity which it sees as predominantly defined by sexuality. The proliferation of pornography in America is not a product of its healthy attitudes toward sex; without healthy attitudes toward hetero sex, how can we expect healthy understanding of gay or lesbian sex.

I am one that questions the necessity of any variation of marriage; gay or straight. I couldn’t oppose marriage for heterosexuals and neither can I for gay or lesbians, but I do have my critique of what we say, what we mean, what we have meant, what we have not been able to handle in the past and in the present.

I am aware what marriage gay and lesbians wish to partake in; and this only points to our greater diversity, when gays and lebians want to be and act more conservatively in society than I do. And I’m married, although outside of convention.

My queston now is, does this law, granting civil rights in terms of marriage law to gays and lesbians–does this now recognize couples who have lived together for more than seven years; are they now common-law spouses [and I do prefer the word spouse to the words husband and wife].

Here is the former post . . .

That anyone expects homosexuality to come out of the closet unchallenged by America’s collectively unconscious fear of difference is naive. I mean, heterosexuality was in the closet only some fifty odd years ago–and repressive attitudes about sex and sexuality did permeate mainstream American life, flaunted when convenient to do so from time to time (principally as a way to allow some subversive messaging about sexuality to emerge in order to control any further subversion).

The greatest fear in America of homosexuals is that they are sexual. The term gay has gone a long way in America’s acceptance of homosexuality, sidestepping the sexuality by renaming the lifestyle. I mean the word sexuality itself is what is feared, as gravely as the thing, sexuality, which we do not allow ourselves to discuss intelligently; no we do not, neither with health or with organic truth. Just look at how grotesquely we manage it in our popular culture, and you will understand how puritanical we still are. Sex and sexuality is often pushed to grotesque extremes, and I do question just how subversive they actually are when they do manifest in one or another form of our media.

Puritanism still prevails in America; even her feminists are nearly as Victorian as many of the men in Britain were that Virginia Woolf wrote so eloquently against when she wrote in defense of women’s intelligence and intellectual capacity. Coupled with a culture that prolongs adolescence and gives credibility to it in its current mentality, the resulting attitudes about sex, toward sex, with sex, are about what you would expect; there are no surprises in America. We have only logic in our sociology.

I don’t mean to put a damper on the enthusiasm of others for political causes they see necessary to support. I just don’t understand the impulse–and it is impulsive, I assume–for gay men to want to marry; that is, when marriage itself originated in our civilization, at least in a number of cultural contexts, as a compassionate measure to protect women from the call of the wild, to insure some legal protection to her role as a man’s breeder much in the way hen houses are meant to protect chickens and eggs from rain and foxes. Has all marriage been another form of legal contracting of surrogacy?

When not keeping woman in her hen house, marriage was in fact an extension of codifying men’s rights to property, animal husbandry an extension of these rights for property, marriage an extension of man’s quest to control the breeding of his animals; the science of domestication gives rise to marriage as we know it.

Don’t women become wives,as I have said I can no longer count how many times; the word wife comes from the Anglo-Saxon word for ‘female,’ not ‘woman,’ the latter a compound of wif and man, which meant ‘female person,’ man being ‘person,’ were as in ‘were-wolf’ being what we mean by ‘man.’ Patriarchy reigned.

A woman goes from modified person before marriage to the reduced female after marriage. She contractually agrees to become breeder, to subject her personhood to the dictates of animal husbandry.

Are gay men using an institution that socially formed within the rhetorical constructs of animal husbandry to express love? I find the motive behind the move perhaps less than genuine, or most assuredly in my mind, only a residual Victorian posture in morality, ironic as it sounds. This is too much the Puritan for this purist on love.

Do gay men fear living in sin now that homosexuality has commonly been accepted as a variant life style and not a deviant one. Since it is no longer a mental illness, there is no reason for either to be denied marriage, but then marriage was a means to reduce the number of bastards in a society, or did marriage only ensure that children out of marriage were called bastards. But being a bastard today has other meanings, and it surely is an admirable one if success in America is your calling.

I don’t know exactly where Gay men fit in this managing of child bearing; all over again, the word wife in Anglo-Saxon comes from the word female, as in female cow, female horse, female pig, the sow that breeds; and the breeder is the husband as in animal husbandry, a science in America studied at the university. Are lesbians to take the title wife and wife in their marriage ceremonies? That would not only be bizarre, but frightening. Heaven forbid. Since heaven now is no longer against homosexuality, perhaps now the law should catch up. I still don’t understand gay marriage other than a puritan’s delight in living morally in society, living outside the sanctions of marriage the last way in which homosexuals presumably can live in sin?

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