My essay, "Same-Sex Marriage, the Love that Dare Not Speak Its Name," has just appeared at ACED magazine. It argues that ours is the time -- along the timeline of the evolution of marriage -- for same-sex marriage, using literary references as evidence and illustration. (I should warn my lit-buds, I wrote this essay with an audience of about age-20 -- ACED's target audience -- in mind: this ain't Lit Journal level!) I'm hoping that it will persuade some college freshmen towards a more open view of this issue, one that values social progress.
The meaning of marriage has never been what it used to be. It has changed to meet the needs of the time and place, throughout history. What most people are referring to when they talk about “traditional marriage” today seems to be the unrealistic and unrepresentative ideals of marriage that appeared during the American 1950s, when post-WWII prosperity and the advent of television colluded to create a stunningly artificial America in black-and-white.
The ideals depicted at that time were little more than social propaganda, and believing they were true would be like someone 100 years from now taking the “Caveman” commercials and TV show as evidence that Neanderthals walked the Earth in the early 21st Century. These ideals depict an idea of marriage that was far outside the real-world norms and trends of marriage, even then.
Marriages throughout history fluctuate in their meaning, purpose, and permanence. Who would want to be one of the six wives of Henry VIII of England, pressed with the charge of producing a male child? By the time his (female) child, Elizabeth I was queen, we know that the upper classes were having their marriages secured by the church and the lower classes (without titles or property to protect) were having non-church parties down at the pub, calling themselves “married,” and doing it all over if it didn’t work out and they met someone new.
ACED allows readers to leave comments. Please call me a philistine!