Another year, another major court battle over the definition of marriage. Today, the Supreme Court of the United States will hear arguments to decide whether the Constitution grants the right for same-sex couples to wed.
But if history is a guide for the future, this won’t be the last battle over the definition of marriage. The Queerty column Science of Sin takes a look at the never ending battle over “traditional marriage”.
1. Fight for freedom to be yourself
Centuries ago in Western culture, parents had all the power over marriage. In the 1500s in Europe, if you got married and your parents didn’t approve, the government could imprison or banish you.
The Industrial Revolution in the 1700s changed this tradition. Men left home to make their own money and gained the power to choose wives of their own. However, while men wrestled away some marriage freedom, women were still considered the legal property of their husbands. In many parts of the world, parents still force their female children into arranged marriages, sometimes as early as teens.
2. Fight for equality
Even into the 20th century, husbands had complete legal control over their wives’ finances and employment. However, as women gained the right to vote, “traditional marriage” slowly changed again. It took awhile, but by 1979, American women finally gained full legal equality to men in a marriage.
3. Fight for love
For centuries, marrying for love was considered destructive to traditional marriage — people could easily fall out of love. However, as more people wanted to love the person they married, old traditions crumbled. Divorce became easier. People of different races could marry. Now, same-sex couples in love are fighting for the right to marry.
So as marriage is based more and more on love and equality, a new “traditional marriage” is emerging. The fight for gay marriage may be just one more battle in the struggle for the freedom to love.
See how traditional marriage has changed over the centuries in two minutes. If anyone says gay marriage destroys the definition of marriage, share this video and let them know that might be a good thing…
You can also see past Science of Sin posts on the evolution of homosexual men, the wonder of the penis, the science of weight loss, marijuana, your family jewels and prostate pleasure. Visit our YouTube channel for more sinful videos.
Sources: Abbott, Elizabeth. A history of marriage : from same sex unions to private vows and common law, the surprising diversity of a tradition. New York: Seven Stories Press, 2011.
Coontz, Stephanie. Marriage, a history : how love conquered marriage. New York: Penguin Books, 2006.
Cott, Nancy F. Public vows a history of marriage and the nation. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2002.