What Does Marriage Even Mean?
The meaning of marriage has evolved. The definition depends on historical eras, cultural traditions, and geographical locations of the people in the relationship. When people marry, they tend to do so for the intentions of love, romance, and commitment. Some may consider it as a sacred tradition. Howard Moody's essay, “Gay Marriage Shows Why We Need to Separate Church and State,” gives a historical overview of the roles that both church and state have played in establishing the nature of heterosexual marriage, stressing the differences between the religious definition and the government's definition. Moody states, “The government's interest is in a legal definition of marriage—a social and voluntary contract between a man and woman in order to protect money, property and children.” (94) He also states, “In Western civilization the faith and beliefs of Christendom played a major role in shaping the laws regarding social relations and moral behavior...” (94) Christianity has become a wide-spread religion, and over the years, the church has maintained all power in regards to the regulation of marriage. “Ever since, kings presidents, and rulers of all kinds have seen how important the control of marriage is to the regulation of social order. In this nation, the government has always been in charge of marriage.” (95)
Moody claims, due to the differentiation of the meaning of marriage, church and state laws need to be separated. He also seems to be more lenient towards freedom of choice and emphasizes, “They can be single and celibate without being thought of as strange or psychologically unbalanced. They can be single and sexually active without being labeled loose or immoral. Woman can be single with child without being thought of as unfit or inadequate. If these choices had been real options, the divorce rate may never have reached nearly 50 percent.” (93) He also admits, as a minister, he's performed one commitment ceremony for a...
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