future forms of marriage in america
Gay marriage is being instituted in many states now. This is largely due to the courts, but in a few states by the actions of the state legislature. (State bans prohibiting gay marriage are being struck down by the courts. It appears that civil unions were not sufficient for gays and lesbians.) It is a reality. Gay marriage is here to stay.
What is next for marriage? What may be coming in the next 10 or 20 years?
If as a society, we no longer limit marriage to one woman and one man (“traditional” marriage), then how can we forbid other forms of “marriage” between consenting adults?
Actually, we could not, at least not for very long.
Here are some possibilities: polygamous marriages between consenting adults (not minors); so-called group marriages with multiple men and women (for example, 3 men and 2 women may wish to marry, or 4 women and 2 men may wish to marry, etc., etc.); and incestuous marriages with adult siblings (sister and brother) wishing to marry, or a parent desiring marriage with an adult child.
Now that we have de facto accepted gay marriage, can we prohibit these other variations?
(Some readers may disagree here and say that gay marriage has been imposed on to society by the courts. Be that as it may, gay marriage is part of the culture now.)
A few words about polygamous marriages. We may see both forms of polygamy. Polygyny is the more widely known form where a man has multiple wives. Polyandry, much more rare, is when a woman takes more than one husband. (Polyandry is rare, but it is not unheard of. I recall reading many years ago that certain tribes of reindeer herders in Siberia, and possibly some Eskimos in the far north of Canada have practiced this in the past. As well, polyandry was practiced in the Marquesas Islands (in Polynesia), parts of Brasil (among certain indigenous tribes), and in parts of southern India. Cultural anthropologists may be able to add more examples. In a society that practices female infanticide, polyandry becomes a possibility as there will be fewer adult females than adult males in the society. (Female infanticide is practiced today in China (due to the one child policy), and to a lesser extent in India.))
Our view is that for the individuals involved, for society as a whole, and for the children, the time-tested traditional form of marriage (one woman and one man) works best. Is traditional marriage perfect? No. Do traditional marriages fail? Yes, but do not blame the institution of marriage for the occurrence of divorce. For marriages to be strong and to last, both spouses need to put in ongoing, continuing effort and make ongoing sacrifices. A successful marriage is not easy to achieve, but it is worth striving for. You have to give a lot of yourself, and that is difficult given the tendency to selfishness in human beings.
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