The New Marriage — No Sex Required
I’ve been a published and produced science-fiction writer for several decades.
Sometimes I’ve described myself as a one-man think tank.
What it is that a science-fiction writer and a think tank have in common?
Both science-fiction writing and think-tanking is the business of looking at something — a problem in international relations, a war, a new technology, a new law, a social policy — and trying to draw inferences that can help us to understand what the probable consequences are. It’s a process of gaming future trends. It’s the same business as the racetrack tout, the astrologer, the storefront reader/adviser, the financial analyst, the mystical prophet.
Unlike the astrologer, the storefront reader/adviser, and the mystical prophet, the science-fiction writer and the think tank are supposed to confine themselves to an intellectual exercise — often using the tools of symbolic logic and extrapolative projections from historical examples. But despite such attempts to rely on something approaching science, every once in a while such analysis turns an unexpected corner based on nothing more than a flash of intuition.
I think I had such a flash of intuition today. If I’m inclined to do so, it may well become the central plot device of a new science-fiction novel, short story, or screenplay.
I think the ongoing legal and lexical redefinitions of marriage from its most common historical meaning of a sexual union between a man and a woman for the purposes of procreation and consolidation of property — to the new definition which includes legal unions of same-sex couples to equate homosexual pairings with heterosexual ones — will ultimately result in more marriages between straight couples than gay ones.
Furthermore, once marriage has been redefined to eliminate the sexual component, there is no longer any reason to restrict marriage to legal commitments that have been forbidden because of the risk of bad biological outcomes — such as the increased risk of recessive genes creating problems from incestuous pairings.
What in the past has constrained marriage to a union between a male and a female was the biological impulse toward procreation of the species. The ubiquitous historical customs requiring sexual intercourse to consummate a marriage before the vows were regarded as binding are evidence on that point.
But once that sexual requirement has been eliminated from the definition of marriage — as the redefinition of marriage to include same-sex partnerings does when it eliminates sexual intercourse as the final seal on the deal — there is no longer any reason why marriage should not be regarded as a partnership suitable for any couple, not just the ones entering into it because they wish legal equity for their homosexual pairings.
The lexical and legal redefinition of marriage to eliminate the necessity of sex as a component means that any cohabitation between two adults of the age of legal maturity can be recognized as a marriage.
If two siblings wish to cohabitate and find it convenient to file a joint-income-tax return, the logic of the new sex-not-necessary marriage dictates that this arrangement should qualify as a marriage under the new definition.
If a mother and a son, a mother and a daughter, a father and a son, a father and a daughter, two first cousins — all prohibited from marrying because the assumption of sexual intercourse within such a marriage has engendered higher risk of genetic monstrosity — now wish to marry under the newly desexualized definition of marriage, logic dictates there is no longer any reason for society or a government to disallow it.
What the redefinition of marriage actually does is make marriage a sexually-irrelevant institution, just as a limited partnership, a living trust, a corporation or LLC, or any joint-stock company is sexually irrelevant.
What the new definition of marriage accomplishes is making both sex and romantic love beside the point. It makes marriage purely an institution meant to widen the scope for extending the legal protections and usages of marriage to couples that in the past would not have qualified because marriage laws required them to fuck each other.
The 2007 comedy I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry portrays a marriage between two heterosexual firefighters so one can extend his pension benefits to his children. The plot device requires them trying to convince an investigator that they are gay.
Adam Sandler and Kevin James in
I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry
But, in fact, no such pretense would need to be made. Nowhere in any of the new marriage statutes does it require same-sex marriage partners either to be in love with each other or to engage in any form of sexualized behavior with each other.
Marriage is being redefined not as homosexual-inclusive, but as asexual-inclusive. It is being redefined away from a romantic relationship to a purely utilitarian relationship.
On that basis, I see no reason why any church, religion, or tradition should have any problem with it.
When all is said and done, all we are doing is changing a customary usage of a word.
Now, I suppose, traditionalists need a new word that preserves the business of elaborate gowns, tuxedo rentals, flowers, catering, multi-layered cakes, live music, ice sculptures, and Elvis impersonators.
This article is Copyright © 2010 The J. Neil Schulman Living Trust. All rights reserved.
Winner of the Special Jury Prize for Libertarian Ideals from the 2011 Anthem Film Festival! My comic thriller Lady Magdalene’s — a movie I wrote, produced, directed, and acted in it — is now available free on the web linked from the official movie website. If you like the way I think, I think you’ll like this movie. Check it out!