The Undeclared War On Gay Marriage

A CIVIL WAR ON CIVIL RIGHTS?
For reasons unrevealed at the moment, religious advocates have invested a great deal of time, effort, energy and resources into preventing the legalization of gay marriage. But has anyone ever stopped to ask; why preventing this legalization (in the United States) is so important? To date, the only rational explanation I have heard is the view… “They make me feel uncomfortable. I don’t want to see two guys being intimate in public.” Incidentally, the sight of Mormons and Jehovah Witnesses out in public make a whole lot of people feel uncomfortable. But for some reason, I have never heard that reasoning directed towards two women.

Interestingly enough, Lesbian couples often experience heterosexual guys drooling over them while verbalizing manage tois fantasies. Now, let me get this straight [no pun intended]; it’s OK for homosexuals to satisfy heterosexual sex fantasies (and entertain us in all sorts of ways on TV and in movies)… but it’s NOT OK for them to legally wed? Gay marriage aside, this sounds like EXPLOITATION to me! And the view that homosexuality is an abomination is not even relevant. Is heterosexual prostitution any less of an abomination? Yet, heterosexual prostitutes can legally wed simply because they are heterosexual. And (heterosexual) murderers can get married while still serving a life-sentence in prison! Am I beginning to hear the words… DOUBLE STANDARD? Is it even fair for any religious group to impose their beliefs on everyone else? Especially, if the issue at hand is a Civil War regarding Civil Rights… not religion.

IT’S A SMOKE SCREEN
For the sake of argument; consider the view that intimate homosexuals make homophobes uncomfortable. SO WHAT? And that’s the real problem! They need a bigger reason than that! This is why they transform gay marriage into a religious matter. And everyone all of a sudden becomes a devout Christian. Even though the Bible says nothing about marriage (i.e. who can or who cannot). Organizations like The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, (i.e. Mormons) will do practically anything (including LIE, CHEAT and DECEIVE) to get their way. This is some how OK for them; everyone else will spend eternity in flames! The civil rights of homosexuals are non-existent and a civil war must be waged… without anyone noticing. And to make matters worse, there are more homosexuals in the world than there are Mormons! Don’t believe the small percentages biased people quote from biased surveys based on faulty data!

TRADITIONAL DEFINITIONS
I’ve heard the view, “We must protect the traditional definition of marriage!” In other words, legalizing gay marriage would some how taint said definition. Do we speak ENGLISH in the United States? Plan-B is a Civil War with words! Can you name one English word that has not undergone a series of definition changes over the last 400 years? Why does the word “marriage” all of a sudden need protecting? Is that even a Civil Right? As a matter of fact, this particular word has already undergone a few dozen changes! Why? Because marriage is not exclusively a religious matter. Ergo, you have to be a little more specific when you say, “traditional.” And the following are a few of those traditions in marriage:

Civil (a wedding performed by a Government Official);
Common Law (a verbal agreement to become husband and wife);
Monogamy (the state of having one sexual partner at a time);
Polygamy (a person has more than one spouse, consent);
-Polygyny (husband has several wives);
-Polyandry (wife has several husbands);
Bigamy (a person has more than one spouse, non-consent);
Arranged (two families decide; a son and daughter from each will wed);
Child (an adult legally weds a child under age 15);
Morganatic (no inheritance to wife and children);
Hypergyny (a spouse with a higher social status);
Sogyny (a spouse with same status);
Open (spouses consent to sexual relationships outside marriage);
Henogamy (one male-child in family can marry);
Line (adding a new spouse in time, down the line);
Trial (couple lives together temporarily to see how it goes)!

And the list goes on and on and on! Even though many of these types of marriages are not legal in the United States, my point is; over the course of time, heterosexuals have RE-DEFINED MARRIAGE so many times it ain’t even funny! What difference would adding “gay marriage” to this very long list of traditions really make? The truth of the matter; heterosexuals can do what ever comes to mind when it comes to holy matrimony.

THE SANCTITY OF DIVORCE
I have also heard the view; “We have to protect the sanctity of Holy Matrimony!” In all honesty, if you wanted to do that, you would invest all of that time, effort, energy and resources into challenging the Sanctity of Divorce! Gay marriage has very little to do with it! Religious views aside, according to The State of Our Unions 2005 (a report issued by the National Marriage Project at Rutgers University [2006-9 available online]), 37% of American children grow up with exclusively one parent due to divorce. In new situations where parents had Joint-Custody in 2005, 44% of custodial mothers and 56% of custodial fathers were either separated or divorced. And there were only 1,080,000 divorces that year. But they were not necessarily from among the 2,250,000 weddings that took place the same year. So why start a civil war on the civil rights of homosexuals?

The view hypothetical; if 1,080,000 out of 2,250,000 ended in divorce in 2005, that divorce rate would be 48%. This is why the speculated Divorce Rate averages 50%. And that count does not include all the Legal Separations. However, in all probability 20% (450,000) of those 2,250,000 marriages will end in divorce within 5-years; and 50% within 10-years. Bottom line; the Holy Matrimony homophobic heterosexuals claim they want to protect so bad is primarily endangered by heterosexual marriage… not gay marriage! Ergo, marriage in the United States among heterosexuals is not as pretty a picture as anti-gay marriage advocates purport. In all probability, no more than 10% of (heterosexual) marriages in the United States will last a lifetime. So, why do anti-gay advocates (religious or otherwise) insist on fighting a civil war on the civil rights of American citizens who happen to be gay?

White Paper on Civil Marriage Equality

Title: Becoming conversant with talking points needed in the Civil Marriage Equality struggle.

Have you been confronted by friends, family, colleagues or others seeking your position on the so-called marriage equality, or same-sex marriage issue? This paper offers excellent talking points and responses to those queries, and gives you confidence when addressing the issue in general. Herein, I offer the following outline of the issue and its myriad ramifications.

* Definitions: What is civil marriage equality?

* Getting involved

* Civil unions Vs Civil marriage

* Civil marriage & families

* Civil marriage & religion

* The power of cool listening

* Talking Points

* Definitions: What is Civil Marriage Equality?

You may find that when you mention civil marriage equality people won’t know what you mean. Whereas, if you say ‘gay marriage’, or same-sex marriage’ they immediately grasp the issue and its meaning, and often, at least if they’re already wary or lack understanding, will mentally shut down, or change the topic altogether. When we use the term civil marriage, we’re not evading the issue out of a sense of unease, or a lack of conviction. Quite the contrary, we use the term advisedly, because it’s what we mean.

Civil marriage is just that: a contract between a civil entity, in this case the state in which one resides, and two people who have met, fallen in love, and committed their lives to each other. Civil marriage equality recognizes the unique relationship we enjoy in this nation between religious congregations of all types, sizes and definitions, and the various governmental bodies that tend to the civil affairs of our society such as taxation, property issues, elective office, driving privileges, schools and what have you. And, yes, civil marriage. Indeed, marriage is the perfect venue in which to best illustrate this unique separate relationship between two powerful entities in our society–religion and government. Just as the state has no authority or power within the walls of a church, church groups have no authority or power in the halls of government. Unlike other countries, whose governmental entities rely on religious texts to rule their populace, we in America rely on our Constitution & civic institutions to do so, for the benefit of all.

Thus our use of the term civil marriage. In this insistence on that term there is protection for both parties, should that be necessary. Religious groups refer to marriage, or matrimony, or wedded bliss, and that is their right. We are not discussing equal access to those things; we are talking about only the state sanctioned status of civil marriage.

Just so, civil marriage equality is, in all but six states at this writing, currently being denied to our LGBT citizens–despite the legal & constitutional protections, and the long-standing adherence to the separation principle we have enjoyed in America.

This is why we’re cautious to use the term civil marriage. Various groups insist that the word marriage is unimportant, and that partnership, or civil union, or life-partner is acceptable. But as we’ll see in a later section, the term civil marriage is vitally important. Words have power; anything less than full civil marriage is a ‘separate but equal’ condition, therefore inherently different and unequal. Just as the terms are important, the issue must be discussed with full transparency. There is no ‘gay agenda’ so-called. The only thing LGBT people want is what heterosexual couples have taken for granted for a very long time. Thus, what needs to be discussed is the similar, not something different, or special. Not ‘gay marriage’, or same-sex marriage’, but civil marriage. Period. Heterosexual couples would not use the term straight marriage. Our LGBT friends should expect nothing less than the clarity of the term marriage, and all it holds.

* Getting involved: Why should we get involved, and how best to do this? There are a number of ways to propel the issue of civil marriage equality forward. The first and best way is to simply not avoid discussing it at every opportunity. This is not always appropriate, or possible, and there is a natural reluctance to talk about private, personal matters. Most people heterosexual or homosexual aren’t wary of discussing anyone else’s marriage, so the basic issue is filled with anxiety by itself. If it helps, bear in mind that one of the primary reasons homosexual access to civil marriage is such a delicate topic is because LGBT people have always, unfairly but consistently, been viewed and considered in light of little else than their sexual proclivities.

Heterosexuals openly discuss families, careers, weddings, recent dating experience, even sex among total strangers. If homosexuals do the same, they have an agenda. Hetero people talk about the most intimate parts of their lives, and demonstrate often highly provocative behavior in public. If homosexuals do that they’re ‘flaunting it’.

So a possible first step is to become aware of the latent discrimination that exists in our hetero-normative society, and go from there. To reiterate, if we feel uneasy discussing the issue with friends & family, or colleagues at work, the anxiety manifests in a stridency that is difficult to put aside. The best approach to take if the discussion becomes heated, or your talking points don’t seem to apply is to recognize that you may be speaking to someone who is not in the movable middle after all, and change the subject. Confrontation is counterproductive. But open, logical, reasonable discussion can be invaluable.

* Civil unions Vs civil marriage: “Would you settle for a civil union?” Asked in a calm, reasoned manner, this may be a good way to open any discussion of the all too common civil union Vs civil marriage question. The response most often is no, “but this is different”. “We’re talking about traditional marriage”, people say. “We don’t want to interfere with traditions like this.”

Without getting into a discussion of tradition here, I’ll add only this. There was a time not long ago in America when slaves were kept (justified by Biblical tenets, no less), a time when, by virtue of a legal tenet called ‘coverture’, women were not allowed to own property. Not too many years ago children began working in coal mines as young as twelve, girls were ‘married off’ as chattel to establish political connections, blacks rode in the backs of buses, women didn’t vote and, as recently as 1967, sixteen states still had on their law books enforceable legal proscriptions against blacks and whites marrying. These, and many more best forgotten travesties were ‘traditions’.

But back to the topic. Why not civil unions? Again, the separate but equal distinction serves us well. Any civil marriage equality advocate must know this: LGBT people don’t want a separate, distinct category or designation. No gay marriage, or same-gender marriage. No mother wants her son or daughter to announce their upcoming civil union. Mothers want their sons and daughters to get married.

But for the purposes of this paper, the real reason is in reference to the definition discussed above. What is civil marriage? At its core, civil marriage is a contract between the state and two of its residents. It is, just as it says, a civil–not a religious–marriage. As such, this contract entitles and demands certain rights, benefits, and legal protections. In fact, there have been over 1138 separate such rights and benefits identified that pertain to marital status in this country. Ask any reasonable person if those rights and protections should be denied to others, and they will say no.

Civil unions are an interim measure at best; they fail to provide the instant credibility that the rights–not the rites–of civil marriage provide. Civil unions can offer certain well defined rights such as health care access, estate planning clauses and the like. But each of those are dependent either on the jurisdiction in which they’re acquired, or actively by the two individuals through an (expensive) legal process. Plus, civil unions likely don’t cross state lines, so it’s entirely possible, probable even, for a civil unionized couple to drive from Massachusetts into New York and have their rights vanish as the state line crosses beneath their vehicle.

The fourteenth amendment to the U.S. Constitution contains the following text. “…nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” Civil marriage being a contract between residents of a state, those individuals are entitled to equal protection regardless of any religious or other determination.

The recent ruling in Iowa* allowing the civil marriage of LGBT people is an interesting case. Iowa’s court ruled that the state had no interest in denying access to civil marriage to any of its residents. No interest, in other words, from keeping gays and lesbians from enjoying the full range of civil rights and responsibilities any other Iowan enjoyed. Iowa didn’t create a special category, or protect a certain segment of her population. Iowa said it had no interest in denying equal protection. A simple, elegant solution, one from America’s heartland. And one which gays and lesbians embraced.

*Varnum et al Vs Timothy J. O’Brien No. 07-1499 4/03/2009

Further. Article IV section 1 of the U.S. Constitution, is called the fair faith and credit clause. The Article states that laws promulgated in one state are recognized, by ‘fair faith and credit’ in all other states, unless those states have specific laws otherwise. In civil marriage we have a perfect test of this issue. At this writing, the State of Massachusetts has enjoined a lawsuit challenging other states’ disinclination to observe this clause. In short, Massachusetts is saying that the couple driving to New York must, according to the U.S. Constitution, observe and recognize the civil marriages of residents of the Bay State, and all 49 other states must as well.

The issue of civil unions Vs civil marriage comes down to this: civil unions are a back of the bus solution. The real answer is civil marriage equality nationwide.

* Civil marriage & families: According to the 2000 census, there are 601,200 same gender households in the United States. Fully 20% of those couples are raising children. That figure represents an increase of over 300% since the 1990 census. Both poll numbers are considered skewed, however. The census bureau acknowledges that even in the improved political climate many same-gender couples are likely to hide their status, so the actual figure is likely higher.

It should come as no surprise that a basic objection to civil marriage equality centers on families. But considering the numbers above, and that those couples referenced have clearly committed to creating stable, secure homes for themselves and their kids, thereby providing shelter, becoming role models for what society expects, and strengthening their communities, it’s clear that those households share the same ‘family values’ as those who object. It is no stretch to see that civil marriage equality has many benefits for children of LBGT couples. Two married people always have more financial stability, for one thing. They have more latitude in child care, educational opportunity, activities, dietary needs, and the range of issues that children present. As for the often heard claim that boys need a father figure, and girls need mother figures, that would seem intuitively true. The realistic response is that there are already more single-parent households in the U.S. than ever. According to the census bureau there were 12.9 million one-parent families in 2006 – 10.4 million single-mother families and 2.5 million single-father. There is no scientific evidence that children suffer ill effects from the absence of either parent unless their departure has left the remaining parent financially strapped.

Legal efforts, and some recent successes to restrict adoptions to heterosexual couples benefit no one. Quite the contrary, a couple unable to procreate on their own are the perfect resource for many adoptable children. The same pre-adoption screening and procedure would be required in any case, and, as mentioned above, it’s probable that many same-gender households are more financially stable than single-parented homes. Plus, there is no scientific evidence or study showing that kids do worse in same-gender households. Quite the contrary, over 300 studies, some by such prestigious organizations as the American Psychological Association saw no difference in childrens’ development regardless of their placement in hetero or other households. The practical reality is, that kids in single parent households may do worse, only because those homes, though stable and secure otherwise, may lack sufficient financial support. The bottom line is that, as one study proved, kids thrive on one thing: stability. Lacking stability, and the security it provides, children tend to suffer from various social and psychological ills. This is yet another reason that civil marriage equality is indeed a true family values issue. Our LGBT brothers and sisters should be encouraged to enter into civil marriages, to provide stability to their children.

* Civil marriage & religion: There are two premises we must accept before civil marriage equality can even be discussed in a meaningful way. Number one is that homosexuality is a condition of birth, like eye color, or left (or right) handedness; number two is that, regardless of how one feels about premise number one, civil marriage equality is just that, a civil, legal issue, not a religious one.

Only when those two facts are accepted can any meaningful discussion take place. But once those two realities are accepted, the understanding comes easily to reasonable people. Just as it would be outrageous for the state in any capacity to dictate what is preached, or believed inside a church, it’s equally unimaginable that churches ought to dictate the business of the state and its institutions.

When applying for a driver’s permit, for instance, we’re not expected, nor are we required, to bring along religious documents, the Bible, the Koran, passages from the Veda etc. All that’s required of an applicant for a driver’s permit is proof of age, driving school papers if needed, passage of a state-crafted written & vision test, and a bit of money. When applying for a zoning permit, or papers to run for public office, or tax forms, etc. etc. no religious tract is needed or expected. Now, some teenagers may pack a prayer book for the driving test if they believe it might help, but it’s not necessary. All these transactions are understood to be strictly legal, civil proceedings.

Just so, a civil marriage license is a document created by, printed by and delivered by the state–likely in the same office–as the other certificates. The requirements for the issuance of a civil marriage certificate, in most states, are relatively simple: the couple must be sane; not coerced into the marriage; of proper age according to the jurisdiction; and not currently married to someone who is still alive. Beyond that, as we saw in the Iowa ruling, the state should have no interest in restricting the right of civil marriage to anyone desiring to make that commitment. Indeed, the states that have thus far endorsed civil marriage equality have recognized that encouraging stable, committed marriage is in the interest of all society.

So we see that it is no stretch to understand civil marriage equality not only as a human rights issue, but as a family values issue. Instead of restricting marriage to our LGBT brothers & sisters, states should be encouraging them to marry & settle into long-term, stable, committed, safe and secure, child-friendly marriages. If ever there was a conservative friendly issue, this is it.

Further, it’s gratifying to see the appearance of so many so-called ‘affirming’ churches, or reconciling churches. In several denominations–UCC, Episcopal, MCC, UU, and many other Christian and other congregations, the LGBT community is being welcomed and encouraged. While it does seem a bit odd that any church should have to advertise inclusivity, it is good to see the outreach becoming more widespread.

And as more and more LGBT people and their families become more and more visible to the community at large the more acceptance will build on itself. When religious communities realize that the sun will still rise in the east, cows still give milk, and western civilization continues in its inexorable way.

But what about capital ‘T’ Tradition, the definition of marriage as we’ve always known it, and don’t see any reason to change? We’re fearful that same-gender marriage will truly undermine the institution of marriage. Period. Surely this is a concern rightly addressed and monitored by religious people?

Here are a few interesting facts about the ‘Tradition’ of marriage: The Catholic church didn’t recognize marriage until 1215, and I don’t mean clock time, but Anno Domini 1215. And yes, the Church got around to making it a sacrament at that time, primarily to bring order to the chaos of who was married to whom. And that was a dilemma only because of, you guessed it, property rights.

Here’s an interesting side note: until that same time, priests & bishops married and sired children right & left. The Church had to put a stop to that ‘tradition’, because children of those priests & bishops were inheriting property from their clerical parents, thus wresting it from the property books of the church. That’s why priests are celibate today, the vow of chastity notwithstanding.

Not too long ago the tradition of marriage included a codicil called ‘coverture’. Simply explained, coverture was a legal attachment to marriage stating that only men could own property in that union. In short, a married woman was ‘covered’ (the definition of coverture), by her husband. The two were seen by the law as one person, and that person was the husband. The ironic part of that little legal twist is that, according to the law at least, a single woman had more rights than her married counterpart. Under coverture, a married woman couldn’t own property in her name, keep a salary for herself, or obtain an education against her husband’s wishes.

Not too long ago marriages were little more than the best method of establishing alliances between neighboring–or often conflicting–landed families. If Romeo & Juliet had survived it’s likely they would have been at the forefront of the civil marriage equality struggle. Alas, they did not.

As recently as 1967 sixteen states in this country had anti-miscegenation laws. Not until the appropriately named Loving Vs Virginia case did they go away. Rendering black/white marriage illegal now would seem ludicrous.

As for Biblical tradition & the marriage issue, care must be taken. The old testament does in fact cite Abraham’s twelve wives. Solomon supposedly had 700. So much for one man one woman.

Continuing with Biblical precepts, it is Tradition, according to the Good Book, that daughters may be sold into slavery, shellfish, wearing garments of two types of fabric, planting two crops in the same field, working on the Sabbath and other issues are an abomination against God. Speaking of long-discarded traditions, in this country slavery was a traditional practice, justified by Biblical passages. It’s readily apparent that our religious friends must tread lightly if they wish to deny marital rights to LGBT people. It may be better for them to seek wisdom and counsel in the simple truth that civil marriage equality offers protection for them as well: religious organizations are free to practice their faiths behind the doors of their sanctuary, where the state dare not intrude; the state is free to do the peoples’ business in the courthouse, where churches dare not intrude. Speaking of capital ‘T’ Tradition, this wonderful system has served us very well for 233 years, and promises to continue.

* The power of cool listening: There are many people involved in the civil marriage equality issue, people of good faith and good credentials on both sides of the controversy. On this highly contentious issue it is possible even for people of good will to lose sight of the cool, moderating aura of reason. Civil marriage equality is an issue that has little middle ground, and issue about which people find a passion. In this age of general comfort and ease, an almost apathetic time except for the economic woes surrounding us, this is an exceptional thing. Not since the sixties has an item commanded so much of the public’s attention. Indeed, for this writer, the feeling is passing strange: in the seventies I was at the barricades marching for people’s right Not to marry.

Having gone through those times, for anyone reading this who was born before 1960 at least, a lot of the scripts and dialogues are eerily similar. It was all about civil rights, and paternalism, and the religious right, and the perfidy of the Republican party. We had our favorite magazines, our iconic authors, our keywords and phrases, and all the trappings of a revolutionary movement that would change this nation for the better.

And we had anger. There was no denying the fact that, had we been able to stand apart and see our own behavior in an objective fashion, we’d have been embarrassed for our stridency. We were far more narrow minded and intolerant than the dark side that we denounced. The seventies marked the birth of the political correctness movement that plagues so much of our social interaction today.

There’s a lesson in all that; stridency, anger, and the confrontational impulse will only lose this battle. And we should avoid calling it a battle, too. If ever there was a time, and a cause, for which we need reason, logic, a dispassionate view, and cool listening, this is the time, and this is the issue. Recently I had the opportunity to meet with a fellow who had many connections in the struggle, who knew a lot of important people, and a lot of people knew him. This fellow is connected, smart, energetic–and fighting mad. During our lunch date he referred to our President’s seeming disregard for a highly controversial ruling against gays in the military. His reaction was full of anger and hostility, and it became clear to me that, despite his potential ability to get things done, he was a liability to our movement.

Cool listening is simply what it claims to be: the ability to sit quietly, cooly, across from someone who may disagree, and allow them to expend whatever energy they wish in their argument. Meantime, even taking notes if you wish, the cool wind of logic allows us to really hear their fears, listen to what they’re not saying–which is often the better part of the speech–and prepare our followup response. Plus, we open ourselves to the possibility that we may learn something, and that may be the best reason to chill. Some one once told us this phrase: “Emotion high; Intelligence low.” Think about it. There’s a reason we have two ears and one mouth. Cool listening takes full advantage of that physical fact.

The other benefit of cool listening is, that the ability to disengage in the heat of an argument is unsettling. It’s said that the best way to get a child’s attention is to whisper. That may not apply only to kids. Cool listening can serve to calm the discussion, highlight the logic involved, and recognize that the opposition are people of goodwill, mostly, and they’ll appreciate the gesture. No one enjoys a preaching session, not even preachers. We all respond better when others take us seriously, acknowledging us as adults. Cool listening can go a long way toward moving us forward to civil marriage equality.

Here’s the bottom line: the issue of marriage equality has already been decided; it’s only a matter of time before reasonable people see the clarity of the argument in favor of marriage rights for all, and help us make it happen.

* Talking Points: CME Civil Marriage Equality

– Number of same-gender households in the U.S. 601,209 (2000)

– Number with children. 20%

– Number of states with CME. 6

– CME is a family values issue. People who earnestly wish to commit to each other should be encouraged to do so, not restricted

– States confer marriage rights; clergy perform marriage rites

– LGBT people do not militate for church weddings, only the civil right of equal marriage

– There is no gay agenda

– There is no such thing as a gay lifestyle

– In America we say liberty & justice for all, not for certain people, but ALL

– CME is a human right

– Marriage is not a heterosexual privilege but a human right

– Civil unions are separate but equal, thus inherently unequal. Would you accept a civil union instead of marriage?

– Traditional marriage has changed time and again, always to be more inclusive

– There’s no shortage of marriage licenses. If the state runs out, they’ll print more

– Do you know a gay or lesbian couple? Get to know them first, and you’ll understand

– Children can suffer in single-parent homes when there’s too little money. CME stabilizes and secures families financially and otherwise

– Over 300 studies have showed no ill effects to children in same-gender households

– Our Tradition in America has always been to increase rights, not restrict them. The Constitution is a shield, not a sword

– Listening, and finding common ground is always preferable to confrontation & anger. Light does not create heat. Heat often creates very little light

– Demographics are on our side; the issue of CME has already been decided. It’s a matter of time catching up to the culture

– People don’t marry to have kids, or join properties, or to further goals; people marry because they fall in love

– If marriage was a religious issue atheists would be barred from it

– The biggest threat to marriage today is heterosexual divorce

– LGBT people are everywhere, and all they want is what we take for granted every day

– State with the lowest divorce rate? Massachusetts; State with the highest divorce rate? Arkansas

– CME is the right thing to do

How Cohabitation Has Changed The Definition of Marriage For Many

My opinions of cohabitation have changed drastically over the last decade. I was raised in a home where my mother always said that living together before you married is not a good idea. Well when I went off to college in 1998, I met a serious girlfriend. I decided the rent would be cheaper and we would be closer if we just lived together. Well after about a year everything came crashing down, even to the point police were getting called by the neighbors because of the arguments. My relationship ended with my failed attempt at suicide.

When I was trying to put my life back together I started going to church. This is where I first heard that cohabitation was not a good idea. Before I ever sent to church, I thought everyone cohabitated to see if they could get along with who they wanted to marry. Now I have heard numerous reports about the benefits of waiting to live together until marriage. Since I have been in the church, I have not had any type of sexual contact with a dating mate. I really want to wait for my honeymoon with whoever that may be. It has been about 8 years since me and my girlfriend broke up. I was a best man at my best friends wedding last year, and he was so excited for his honeymoon because he had been dating his bride now for 4 years. He moved in with her following the wedding.

I decided that that type of model is the way a marriage should be. I just can’t see how someone could not be sexually active if they are living together before marriage. That would make the whole wedding ceremony just a piece of paper. I want to remember my wedding night as the first day me and my wife began our sexual relationship. That may be old fashioned, but if I can’t say no before marriage, I’ll probably never be able to say no to other females after marriage.

What Is Marriage?

Some may wonder what is marriage? To some getting married means belonging to one person and one person only. Others look at being married as something much more sacred that just belonging, it is best when it brings two souls together as one. Marriage might mean that they finally just can’t live without the other in their life and want to spend every minute of the rest of their lives together.

What is marriage and how is it different from the past? Today it is different from what it used to be like. Long ago being a married person meant getting married at a young age, or saving your virginity until marriage. Today, you may wait until your 30 or 40s before ever attempting to tie the knot. As for being a virgin, most people are no longer virgins before they wed, but there are still some virgin brides. The courtships seem to last many years before you actually set a date and marry. Young lovers want to know they can live together and to see what it will be like, they want to make sure they’ve finished college and started jobs.

What is marriage like with and without religion? This can be different for many people, if you’ve grown up with religion in your home and it was a very big deal it still will be and it is something you’ll definitely want in your marriage. However for those that never grew up with it they may not see the importance of having religion in the marriage or even in their life. Make sure you know what type of person you are marrying; if this is a key thing it will become a big issue for the wedding and after. Before getting married many may have a different view on the type of wedding ceremony you have. Someone may want a catholic wedding while others may think a protestant wedding is best, to avoid all conflict one may even choose not to have any type of religion at their wedding. If you plan on having a religious ceremony make sure you follow all procedures, sometimes a priest will want to meet with the happy couple for counseling before ever performing the wedding.

What is marriage like when it is legal? Some couples wonder if they should even make their marriage legal or just stay living together. To some it is only something that is a piece of paper saying they are legally together. For those they may not want to have just a paper to tell them how important it is, especially if they’ve already lived together for a few years. In a few states, couples that live together a certain amount of time, normally seven years or more, are considered to have a common law marriage. A marriage that is legal is one that is performed by a minister or someone that is qualified to perform the ceremony. Once the ceremony is complete the bride and groom will sign a piece of paper and a few weeks later get a certificate in the mail, in the meantime you will be given a document to show proof of marriage.

So before you take steps to get married think about marriage think about what is marriage. You don’t want to jump into a marriage because you thought this meant one thing and ended up being something entirely different, that’s where divorce ends up coming in. Think long and hard about what the it involves, and what it means to you. Don’t forget to ask your loved one what they think that this is going to mean to them. You wouldn’t want to find out that the two of you have different views on how you will live when you are married. Make your relationship together a lasting one, after all that’s what marriage should be – one that lasts forever.

5 Great Celebration Ideas For a Special 50th Wedding Anniversary

A golden wedding party, renewing marriage vows, gold wine party, golden picnic, and a Whitehouse anniversary greeting for those residing in the US are some of the great ways in celebrating 50th wedding anniversary.

50th wedding anniversary is a time to celebrate with family and friends. Staying together in love and marriage for 5 decades definitely calls for a celebration. A golden anniversary celebration needs thorough preparation to let everyone know your undying and golden love for each other. Below are the great ways to celebrate such golden event:

Golden wedding party

Since 50th wedding anniversary is symbolized by the color gold. And, it is ideal to throw a party themed in golden hue. Having your home or any location accented in gold will surely emphasize the golden years of a well-spent marriage. Since gold is already an extravagant color, keep the decorations simple and classic. You can also go back in time and have a party, themed 50 years ago. Don’t forget to always add any gold accent such as golden-rimmed china wares, gold balloons, and other golden accessories.

Renewing marriage vows

After 50 years of being together under the sacred vows of marriage, it would be rightful to renew your marriage vows. Saying your vows to your partner once again after 50 years of being together would be sweeter than ever. Arrange a wedding to commemorate and remember the time when you first had your kiss in front of the altar. Renewing your marriage vows will celebrated in golden colors as well.

Gold wine party

Another classic addition to make 50th wedding anniversary special is to celebrate it with sparkling golden wine. Wine can be a perfect symbolism in celebrating good quality marriage. As wine mature the color turns into golden yellow. The quality of the color texture will show the age and taste of the wine. Celebrating 50th wedding anniversary with a wine party will surely speak the wisdom and value of the event. Fill the event with sparkling wine in golden color like Chardonnay.

Golden picnic

Golden wedding anniversary is not just for old people. Instead, it is the most ideal time to celebrate with the whole family. After 50 years of marriage, the couple will surely have a handful of grandchildren. This event may be one of the most special occasions where the younger generation will celebrate with their roots. This a perfect time to celebrate love with the family, showing how that union 50 years ago had become at now.

White House anniversary greeting for those residing in the US

For the US citizens, the White House could send a special wedding greetings. Your 50th marriage anniversary would be extra special to receive a greeting card from the government. Always submit your anniversary greeting request early to provide enough time for the White House to send your greeting on time.

A good cheers and stories about the couple’s married life during the past 50 years of being together will surely make the celebration a good way to reminisce beautiful and fruitful moments.