Marriage was once
viewed as something much different from what it is now. It is a commitment
between two individuals and the definition according to google states, “in some
jurisdictions specifically a union between a man and a woman”. This commitment
varies between cultures; however, the overall concept is that marriage is a
commitment of love and loyalty. There are many other benefits come along with
marriage, resulting in couples marrying for reasons other than love. Claudia
Card raises a good question in her essay titled Against Marriage and Motherhood, considering how marriage turned
into an extremely flawed system, should same sex couples pursue marriage? “The
question whether lesbians and gay men should pursue the right to marry is not
the same as the question whether the law is wrong in its refusal to honor
same-sex marriages,” (Card, 4). Card raises three main issues about what is wrong
with marriage for same-sex couples to take into consideration before jumping
into the flawed system; benefits upon marrying someone, divorce and the fact
that marriage is monogamous.

            If we
remember the history behind marriage and what it once meant, women used to be
property of her husband. This was because when she married her husband, she
would be transferred from her father to future husband. She had no rights of
her own and there was always a male figure dominating her life. It is almost
seen as a form of slavery because these women lacked political and economic
benefits and were being possessed in many ways. After all, back then, a husband
had the right to sell his children as hostages if he wanted to because the man
had every power over his family. A woman could not even divorce her husband if
she wanted to, unless for a horrendous act, such as murder, while the husband
could leave his wife for any reason. This is why feminists view the institution
of marriage as deeply flawed and a game of power play. Even decades later,
women are still treated unequal and dominated by the man in the marriage and
this could very well be because of its deep history.

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One reason why the system of marriage seems to be flawed is
due to any couples, both heterosexual and homosexuals, receive numerous benefits
from the government when getting married. These benefits include unpaid leave
from their workplace to take care of a family member, tax benefits, social
security benefits, healthcare benefits and many more. Other benefits include
getting the right to live in attractive residential areas as well as have
affordable dental and health insurance. In addition, spousal benefits for
employees are a significant portion of many workers’ compensation. This makes it so
married workers who are working the same exact position as unmarried workers,
make more money to support their spouse and themselves. With all of this in
mind, it makes sense as to why couples would only marry for the benefits they
would be receiving. This leads to couples staying in an unwanted relationship,
which prevents them from being able to start over with someone new. “As long as
marriage is monogamous in the sense of one spouse at a time, it interferes with
one’s ability to obtain spousal benefits for a new lover. When spouses grow to
hate each other, the access that was a joy as lovers turns into something
highly dangerous,” (Card, 7). It is believed this is one of the main reasons
couples jump into marriage, because the benefits of marriage outweigh the
benefits of staying single. Couples are economically pressured into marrying,
according to Card.

            The reason
mentioned above ties into the second problem with marriage, that the economic
motives that come along with marriage also make it so couples do not divorce
when they should. I relate to this point the most because I live in a household
where my mother would leave an unhappy relationship but unfortunately cannot
because she depends on her spouse economically. I also have a friend who
desperately wants to divorce his wife but he will be paying alimony until she
remarries, if that ever happens, causing him to stay in a very unhappy
relationship until he finds a better job. “If
one partner can sue the other for support or receive a share of the other’s
assets to which they would not otherwise have been legally entitled, there are
new economic motives to preserve emotionally disastrous unions,” (Card, 6).
There are many other things to take into consideration when getting a divorce
such as child support and dealing with once shared property. To make things
more troublesome, especially if the marriage ends badly, if the couple has
children they have to decide who gets custody of the children or when the other
parent are allowed to have the child. There are many different reasons an
individual would prolong a marriage because it almost seems more difficult to
get a divorce than it is to stay married. Not only is it human desires that
make obtaining a divorce difficult, but it is also the flaws within the family
law system.

            Card’s final point regarding
marriage as a flawed system is it is understood as having only one spouse at a
time. She argues that many homosexuals, specifically lesbians, have a hard time
of having only one long term and intimate relationship with one person at a
time. This point may be connected with her own personal experience since she
does not reflect on heterosexual couples being polyamorous. In essence, Card is
arguing that marriage laws should consider expanding so couples could have more
than one spouse a time. This does not seem to be a problem within marriage
itself; it seems more like a personal preference and the individuals taste. I
found this point to be interesting because although it is illegal to marry more
than one person at a time, the individual could have another long term,
intimate relationship and not be married, or in other words, an open marriage. There
are definitely ways around this point, although it could be frowned upon by
society. She also mentions a fourth problem she sees as unchangeable that could
be because of second issue with marriage, divorce. Violence is an issue due to
a spouse having legal rights of access to their partner’s person and this may
be escalated due to couples not getting divorce when they should. While not
every marriage is violent or will become violent at some point, the issue remains
that the state makes it so spouses lack protection in violent situations. For
example, if a woman accused her husband of rape and wanted to take him to
court, she would have a difficult time justifying her case to a jury. This
point ties back in with the history of marriage when men had complete power
over their wife. Many marriages that become violent are not due to one spouse
having legal rights over the other, it seems like it would be more of an anger
management issue that develops within a person. Majority of people are not at
risk of being murdered when they get married, although that is one of Cards
biggest arguments, despite the fact it is something unchangeable in her eyes.
In fact, any sort of intimate relationship, not just marriage, could open the
door to violence or murder.

Everyone has a reason for why they get married, whether that
be love, economic benefits, reproducing, or many other reasons people decide to
get married. Claudia Card believes people marry because “it is a tradition, glorified
and romanticized,” she invalidates those couples who marry for reasons other
than the normal tradition, love. There are still many couples that marry
because they are in love, but she makes it seem like majority of the population
only marries for economic benefits. Toward the end of her argument, she also
states homosexual men and women who form partnerships do so because they truly
love one another and want to be together, delegitimizing heterosexual
relationships in a way.

 

 

Personally, I have never really been interested in getting
married due to my personal experiences. I was never one of those girls that
fantasized about their wedding or what her future husband would be like. Now
that I identify as a lesbian, it has changed my perception on marriage even
more so. While I still believe same-sex couples should definitely have equal
rights when it comes to marriage and everything else, I do side with Card on
not necessarily jumping into the system marriage evolved into, unless changes
are made. These issues with marriage previously mentioned have little to do
with the concept of marriage itself, but rather employer conditions to receive
benefits, government policies and societal views. It would be interesting to
see a world where we somehow changed the perception of a legitimate
relationship and couples who obtained every aspect of marriage without actually
being married, had access to one another’s benefits.  This would require overseeing century’s worth
of perceptions and beliefs, making this highly unlikely.

 Marriage was once
viewed as something much different from what it is now. It is a commitment
between two individuals and the definition according to google states, “in some
jurisdictions specifically a union between a man and a woman”. This commitment
varies between cultures; however, the overall concept is that marriage is a
commitment of love and loyalty. There are many other benefits come along with
marriage, resulting in couples marrying for reasons other than love. Claudia
Card raises a good question in her essay titled Against Marriage and Motherhood, considering how marriage turned
into an extremely flawed system, should same sex couples pursue marriage? “The
question whether lesbians and gay men should pursue the right to marry is not
the same as the question whether the law is wrong in its refusal to honor
same-sex marriages,” (Card, 4). Card raises three main issues about what is wrong
with marriage for same-sex couples to take into consideration before jumping
into the flawed system; benefits upon marrying someone, divorce and the fact
that marriage is monogamous.

            If we
remember the history behind marriage and what it once meant, women used to be
property of her husband. This was because when she married her husband, she
would be transferred from her father to future husband. She had no rights of
her own and there was always a male figure dominating her life. It is almost
seen as a form of slavery because these women lacked political and economic
benefits and were being possessed in many ways. After all, back then, a husband
had the right to sell his children as hostages if he wanted to because the man
had every power over his family. A woman could not even divorce her husband if
she wanted to, unless for a horrendous act, such as murder, while the husband
could leave his wife for any reason. This is why feminists view the institution
of marriage as deeply flawed and a game of power play. Even decades later,
women are still treated unequal and dominated by the man in the marriage and
this could very well be because of its deep history.

One reason why the system of marriage seems to be flawed is
due to any couples, both heterosexual and homosexuals, receive numerous benefits
from the government when getting married. These benefits include unpaid leave
from their workplace to take care of a family member, tax benefits, social
security benefits, healthcare benefits and many more. Other benefits include
getting the right to live in attractive residential areas as well as have
affordable dental and health insurance. In addition, spousal benefits for
employees are a significant portion of many workers’ compensation. This makes it so
married workers who are working the same exact position as unmarried workers,
make more money to support their spouse and themselves. With all of this in
mind, it makes sense as to why couples would only marry for the benefits they
would be receiving. This leads to couples staying in an unwanted relationship,
which prevents them from being able to start over with someone new. “As long as
marriage is monogamous in the sense of one spouse at a time, it interferes with
one’s ability to obtain spousal benefits for a new lover. When spouses grow to
hate each other, the access that was a joy as lovers turns into something
highly dangerous,” (Card, 7). It is believed this is one of the main reasons
couples jump into marriage, because the benefits of marriage outweigh the
benefits of staying single. Couples are economically pressured into marrying,
according to Card.

            The reason
mentioned above ties into the second problem with marriage, that the economic
motives that come along with marriage also make it so couples do not divorce
when they should. I relate to this point the most because I live in a household
where my mother would leave an unhappy relationship but unfortunately cannot
because she depends on her spouse economically. I also have a friend who
desperately wants to divorce his wife but he will be paying alimony until she
remarries, if that ever happens, causing him to stay in a very unhappy
relationship until he finds a better job. “If
one partner can sue the other for support or receive a share of the other’s
assets to which they would not otherwise have been legally entitled, there are
new economic motives to preserve emotionally disastrous unions,” (Card, 6).
There are many other things to take into consideration when getting a divorce
such as child support and dealing with once shared property. To make things
more troublesome, especially if the marriage ends badly, if the couple has
children they have to decide who gets custody of the children or when the other
parent are allowed to have the child. There are many different reasons an
individual would prolong a marriage because it almost seems more difficult to
get a divorce than it is to stay married. Not only is it human desires that
make obtaining a divorce difficult, but it is also the flaws within the family
law system.

            Card’s final point regarding
marriage as a flawed system is it is understood as having only one spouse at a
time. She argues that many homosexuals, specifically lesbians, have a hard time
of having only one long term and intimate relationship with one person at a
time. This point may be connected with her own personal experience since she
does not reflect on heterosexual couples being polyamorous. In essence, Card is
arguing that marriage laws should consider expanding so couples could have more
than one spouse a time. This does not seem to be a problem within marriage
itself; it seems more like a personal preference and the individuals taste. I
found this point to be interesting because although it is illegal to marry more
than one person at a time, the individual could have another long term,
intimate relationship and not be married, or in other words, an open marriage. There
are definitely ways around this point, although it could be frowned upon by
society. She also mentions a fourth problem she sees as unchangeable that could
be because of second issue with marriage, divorce. Violence is an issue due to
a spouse having legal rights of access to their partner’s person and this may
be escalated due to couples not getting divorce when they should. While not
every marriage is violent or will become violent at some point, the issue remains
that the state makes it so spouses lack protection in violent situations. For
example, if a woman accused her husband of rape and wanted to take him to
court, she would have a difficult time justifying her case to a jury. This
point ties back in with the history of marriage when men had complete power
over their wife. Many marriages that become violent are not due to one spouse
having legal rights over the other, it seems like it would be more of an anger
management issue that develops within a person. Majority of people are not at
risk of being murdered when they get married, although that is one of Cards
biggest arguments, despite the fact it is something unchangeable in her eyes.
In fact, any sort of intimate relationship, not just marriage, could open the
door to violence or murder.

Everyone has a reason for why they get married, whether that
be love, economic benefits, reproducing, or many other reasons people decide to
get married. Claudia Card believes people marry because “it is a tradition, glorified
and romanticized,” she invalidates those couples who marry for reasons other
than the normal tradition, love. There are still many couples that marry
because they are in love, but she makes it seem like majority of the population
only marries for economic benefits. Toward the end of her argument, she also
states homosexual men and women who form partnerships do so because they truly
love one another and want to be together, delegitimizing heterosexual
relationships in a way.

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