So there is a bit of a debate between Fiona from Mental Meanderings and United Irelander at, wel, United Irelander over an article written by Ronan Mullen in The Examiner. The article in question has to do with marriage, and gay rights, and conventional marriage and all that sort of stuff.
But while I was over at UI’s I started to wonder what exactly is a family?
Mullen says that a traditional marriage works best, that children raised by a mother and a father fair better.
There is a wealth of information and analysis out there to show that children do better with the traditional family model. That children should ideally enjoy the society of their biological father and biological mother throughout their formative years should not be seen as an outdated concept when study after study is bearing it out.
But you know what? This traditional family that is being mentioned, it isn’t really all that traditional at all. Does the average family of today resemble the family of 100 years ago? Or even 50?
Maybe on a superficial level, but is it the norm for the father to work, and the mother to stay at home, minding the kids, totally dependent on her spouse for everything?
Is it still okay for a man to demand his conjugal rights?
Are fathers still expectd to play no real role apart from that of enforcing discipline in the family?
After all those are all traditional values too aren’t they? Tradition doesn’t mean right, doesn’t even mean a good way to do things. All it means is that this is the way previous generations have done things.
But if you look closer you’ll see that maybe the previous few generations have acted that way, but before that things were different. It used to be traditional for three generations to live in the one house. In some cultures it is traditional for parents to arrange marriages.
As far as I’m concerned the limiting the definition of what a family is to the modern nuclear family is pointlessly restrictive. What about aunts, uncles, cousins, the extended family?
Family is what you make it. And that means you can’t legislate what a family is, and you certainly can’t legislate what a family isn’t.
Which brings me on to marriage, and what exactly marriage is for.
Is it a public declaration of love and faithfulness between two people? Or is it simply a legal way of ensuring who next of kin is, and all the rights married couples get? Or is it to provide a partnership to bring up children?
And no matter what your answer, why exactly does the sex of the people matter?
And, most important of all, why do I keep typing marraige when I mean marriage?
So many questions, I look forward to your answers.