I wrote a piece for the ABC’s The Drum yesterday on modern marriage, and one of the comments made me feel momentarily exasperated.
“The pro gay marriage lobby shows its stripes with this fluff piece arguing for redefining of marriage,” said Nathan, of Nowhere.
Sadly, I didn’t mention gay marriage in the piece at all.
I wrote that, given high domestic violence and divorce rates, and continuing house labour issues, could there be “a fundamentally different way to see marriage, not as a pledge between a husband and a wife to subliminally fulfill whatever the dominant gender ideas of the age are – to provide, to obey – but as a commitment between two people to respect each other.
Maybe there is something to be said for the idea that de facto couples seem to be more capable of negotiating areas of freedom because they haven’t bowed down to the institutional gendering of weddings, and the expectations they raise. Maybe the true measure of a modern marriage lies in the careful putting aside of gender binaries, of replacing ‘husband’ and ‘wife’ with ‘partner’ and ‘friend.’”
Obviously, if I’d been calling for the continuation of marriage as a pledge between unequal enemy aliens to come together and disrespect each other for all the days of their lives, the gay marriage lobby would have instantly slammed me for continuing to support status quo heterosexual marriage. Those pesky gays and their demands that we all rethink what it means to marry.
Anyway, a while ago my friend described marriage as something that should happen “between love and love.”
And I thought: that’s something I can believe in.