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Rite to right


I'd argue that the writing was on the wall when marriage was legally defined and moved away from being a religious rite to being a secular right.

That being said, I agree with Mrs. Bookworm.

The idea of what is "permissible" is flawed.

Mala in se means bad in and of itself. Something is mala in se if and only if it threatens or results in measurable damage to life, liberty, and property. Murder, violent attacks, rape, kidnapping, and theft are included. The key concept here is "measurable damage.”
Mala prohibita means bad because it is prohibited. Something is mala prohibita if and only if the state has forbidden it. I would add regulation as well. Driving without a license or insurance, unusual sex, public nudity, profanity, recreational drug use, opening a small business without the "proper" permit, all these are included. The key concept here is "forbidden." Mala prohibita means that the government will impose morality and ethics by force.

It's no secret that I believe most of the problems in American society are because of too much government and
mala prohibita laws.”

Not true. Marriage was originally a religious rite that was recognized on a secular level.

When marriage was legally defined, it was to keep undesirables from marrying. Historically, it's been used to prevent marriage between those with different faiths. In the U.S., the law was also used to prevent interracial marriages.

Just another example of why giving religion the force of law isn't a good idea.

The concept of marriage (although certainly not the word) predated the separation of secular law from religious law. Prior to that, marriage was recognized as spiritual manifestation of the temporal and the temporal manifestation of the spiritual. Sacred marriages between the king and the priestess to insure fertility were common practice.

As far as we know, the U.S. Constitution was the first time that people recognized government authority didn't derive from the Divine but the will of the people. Without that, it would have been impossible to separate any kind of marriage from it's religious aspects.

Handfasting was (and is) just another marriage rite. Most invoke the Divine. Ceremonies originated as religious rites.

Common law is the set of customs and precedents that comes mainly from previous judgements. Much of English common law was derived from Biblical principles and existing customs. Prior to the 20th Century, common law was fairly established and didn't change often.

As far as only between a man and a woman throughout history, well, no. Emperor Nero married males at least three times, one time as a bride. There are examples in Mesopotamia and China. John Boswell made some interesting (and unsubstantiated) claims about the early Orthodox Church. There are examples of same sex marriages among some Native American cultures, although technically those were special cases involving a third gender role.

Gods, you quote me and you still can't get it right.

I said that marriage was originally a religious rite. It was. Mating, living together, raising a family, that's different. Marriage rites join together the couple, the secular and spiritual, and humans and the Divine.

That's why it is called a rite.

"I'd argue that the writing was on the wall when marriage was legally defined and moved away from being a religious rite to being a secular right." That was the first thing I said on this thread about that topic.

"Marriage was originally a religious rite that was recognized on a secular level." That followed the "Not true," that you quoted.

I make the original typo or misspelling. I'm insomniac and sometimes I am more tired than I should be while typing. But I choose my words and phrases with care.

All of them.

Old Testament? That's the only source you're willing to consider?

"…but monogamous pairings are deeply biological." Nope.

Sex is only partially about offspring, it's other major purpose is bonding. If it were only about kids, women would get pregnant much more often and people wouldn't enjoy sex so much.

If you are going to trot out something about the biological basis for monogamy, I know you are overlooking the other great primates and several thousand years of human history.

And by the way, monogamy and marriage are two different things. You can have monogamy in marriage, but marriage isn't necessarily monogamous. I happen to think it should be, but that doesn't make it so.

Actually it didn't start as a discussion of historical standards. It started as a discussion of what was permissible. The historical justifications came later.

I think that with very very few exceptions, a free nation shouldn't have the power to tell people what is and is not allowed. That means that people are going to make choices that others, even a majority of others, don't like. Sometimes that means paintings of Elvis on black velvet. Sometimes that means peanut butter and sardine sandwiches. And sometimes that means red sports cars with no mufflers screaming down the street.

Traditionally religious based law has not worked well in the United States. Usually the bigger effort to push "value based" law has resulted in more and more people resisting. It probably has something to do with the attitude that Americans don't want a church they don't belong to telling them what they are allowed to do. That was a major reason why the Constitution doesn't mention Deity at all except in the date and the First Amendment gives defines individual religious freedom.

English common law did give special privileges and obligations to married people. But even then, the marriage rite was religious in origin. During the 19th Century, some decided to make marriage legal instead of religious. That's when the definition was handed off to judges and legislators. That's when it ceased being religious and that is when the religious aspects no longer had legal roots. At that point and even today, marriage is what the law says it is. Marriage could be between a goldfish, a goat, and a forty-three year old with bad toenails if that is what the law says it is. When marriage became a legal right for some, then under the Constitution it could not be denied to anyone. Regardless of it's religious origins (which I freely acknowledge), it was no longer religious and was legal.

Using the law to restrict marriage so it only occurs between a man and a woman based on OT precedent inflicts one religion on everyone else in society, whether they belong to that religion or not. What's worse, it inflicts an interpretation of religion on everyone else. Utah couldn't become a state until they banned polygamy, even though there was ample Biblical precedent.

Yes, there are examples of marriage that weren't just between a man and a woman. You wrote: "But throughout history, in every case marriage was a contract between a man and a women, regardless of how the event was solemnized." It's an argument for marriages only occurring between a man and a woman, which we know hasn't always been the case. If you had said mostly, I would have gone with it. Even then, it doesn't make the case that same sex couples should be denied the legal right to marriage. After all, until the 20th traditionally women were denied the right to vote and that got changed.

No, I don't think that the OT is a historical record, although that doesn't diminish it's meaning and relevance for those who have chosen one of the big three monotheisms. Treating the OT as a historical record pretty much demands that it's more fantastic elements be widely accepted, which again means imposing one religion on everyone else.
NeoNotes are the selected comments that I made on other boards, in email, or in response to articles where I could not respond directly.

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