Same-sex marriage has been much in the news lately, and it is wonderful that same-sex marriage is now legal. I do feel, however, that this has been a very great to do over almost nothing. Although equal rights for all is necessary, is marriage? Marriage was instituted mainly as a means of securing one’s heirs and property. In ancient times, women were generally regarded as livestock used for breeding purposes, not as companions or friends. Men often had wives for social and inheritance purposes, and mistresses for recreational purposes. The women involved often had little to say about this. I wonder whether marriage is still really necessary, as we can now test an infant for paternity, and marriages generally don’t last. Why bother with all the legal arrangements when the whole thing will likely dissolve in a few years anyway?
Regarding dissolving marriages, who suffers most from this? The children. Children must have a stable living environment and this is difficult with divorced parents. Also, some marriages that do continue shouldn’t, and the children suffer abuse or neglect. To my mind, what is needed is not so much marriage equality, but child rearing regulation. When single adults form a relationship or end one, no one suffers but the adults involved. When there is a family, children endure much uncertainty and fear over the breakup of their household. They simply do not deserve this. It would be better for society to have parenting licenses rather than marriage licenses. People should take the time to examine whether having children is what they truly want, and receive the training necessary to do a good job.
Child-rearing is of vital importance to society as it prepares society’s new members to take their places as responsible, contributing adults. When parents fail, the children are unable to function to their full potential and everybody loses. The child suffers at least some degree of impairment as well as the disappointment of a less fulfilling life, and society loses the full contribution the child could have made. This is so important that something should be done to reduce the incidence of childhood suffering from parental neglect, incompetence, and abuse that is so common today. I consider child-rearing an ethical issue, not a personal choice. It simply must be done well, and the rights of the children supersede the rights of the adults to establish a family according to their whim. Parental vagaries should not be visited on the children, who deserve the very best start possible.
According to the 2015 survey of millennial attitudes toward sexuality done by the Public Religion Research Institute,
“One-quarter (25%) of millennials agree that marriage has become old-fashioned and out of date, while about seven in ten (71%) disagree.”
It is heartening to see that there is some progress toward my viewpoint; I can only hope that its prevalence increases, and is accompanied by the moral advancement necessary to support a child’s right to good parenting.
Copyright © 2015 Teresa Chupp. All rights reserved.