Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sat 25th Oct 2008 19:26 UTC, submitted by SK8T
In the News In a rather unusual move, both Google and Apple have publicly backed the fight against "Proposition 8", both by words as well as by donation. Proposition 8 is an initiative measure in the state of California that would ban same-sex marriages in California by amending the Constitution of the state to include that "only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California". Both companies gave out their reasoning for supporting the fight against 'Prop 8'.
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patrons and second-class institutions
by fejack on Sun 26th Oct 2008 07:08 UTC
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Throughout the Industrial Revolution, companies used to patronize their employees, sometimes lobbying for laws which eventually improved the quality of life for their workers. It is noble of Google and Yahoo to stand up for a cause, but I'm afraid we are beating a dead horse here.

The problem with this debate is that everyone has one's own concept of marriage, so we cannot agree if we are talking about different things.

Since the dawn of mankind, marriage has been a reasoned covenant between families validated by their cultural and religious background. In Western countries, love between two wedded individuals was optional until the 18th century, when Romanticism introduced the concept that love should prevail over covenant and be the only criterion for choosing a partner. Arranged marriage is still the norm in some Eastern countries, but in our Post-Modern Western societies, the former is taken for granted. Our extensive and prolific Literature, music and cinema all perpetrate the illusion that passion should dictate our choices; yet our high rate of breakups and divorces indicate the serious shortcomings of this model.

Heterosexual monogamy is the norm in most cultures, but there were exception like polyandry, and polygamy is still the norm in some countries. In our cultures, polygamy is heavily stigmatized although in practice polygamy and polyandry do exist in various forms: they call it sexual liberation. Extra-marital affairs, multiple-partners, sex workers or swinging couples. It is interesting to note that Judeo-Christian religions have made us rule polygamy out of our moral system and laws, yet we won't allow those religions to rule out same-sex unions.

Traditionally, marriage consists of two elements. Step #1: two families publicly announced and acknowledged the new covenant between their children. That it why in our cultures we invite friends and relatives, the father walks the bride to the altar and the groom is brought by his mother. Step #2: at least one of the children leaves family to live under a common roof with the new partner.
The State took over Culture in validating the institution of marriage, on which legal and fiscal rights and duties are based. In the 1960's, Post-Modernism suggested that we could do without the official acknowledgment (step #1) and that moving in together (step #2) was sufficient enough. So now we have a gap between real life and law: across Western countries we have matter-of-fact covenants (step #2) that have never been acknowledged by law (step# 1) and are thus deprived of the legal and fiscal advantages. That is why Civil Unions have been invented, but it could be argued that they are a sort of second-class marriage, created to fill a gap rather than an end to itself.

Being on the path to acceptance in a Post-Modern society, same-sex covenant still lacks the cultural fabric sustaining it: it is not a covenant between families, and it cannot rely upon Romanticism alone since that model has shown it flaws. Most families of homosexuals initially struggle to accept the reality of their relative because they lack the cultural foundation and system of belief. This is why I'm afraid same-sex covenant will always be ackward in our societies (I'm talking matter-of-factly here, not passing on judgment).

Hopefully gay lobbyist will realize at some point the paradox of being obsessed with an institution that is losing it meaning for heterosexuals.

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