Marriage is between a man and woman, specifically, the social institution under which a man and woman establish their decision to live as husband and wife by legal commitments, religious ceremonies, etc. (Dictionary.com) Here is another definition of marriage I found in a blog, “”True Meaning of Marriage” The true meaning of marriage is love. By love, I mean not just what we feel but what we do. Love just as a feeling is very flimsy, an up and down roller coaster. Love is an action! In order for it to become the ultimate force and for us to rediscover the true meaning of marriage, love has to be unconditional. You are not looking for acceptance or validation. You are giving of yourself to another not because of them, but because of your values. A death to ones self so that another may live and benefit from your sacrifice. This is not an easy road to walk. But it is the most rewarding road however. An old Buddhist saying goes like this, ‘I want peace.’ If you take your ego (I) and your desires (want) out of the equation, i.e., the self, you will have only peace left. The true meaning of marriage is expressing love unconditionally to another. It is an unstoppable force that can endure anything. How do you find it? Within yourself. You have to draw strength from you. Neither seeking validation nor acceptance, just seeking the opportunity to show love.” (TalkAboutMarriage.com)
Here is another quote which exposes the issue of marriage nicely, “The meaning of marriage can be looked at from a legal perspective. Legally, marriage is a binding contract between the two parties that joins together their possessions, income, and lives. Marriage is recognized by the state, and the dissolving of the contract can only happen through the legal process of divorce.
But, for most people, marriage has meaning beyond the legal sense. Marriage is also an agreement between the man and woman. Husband and wife take certain vows, to love one another, to cherish one another, and to stay together through sickness and health, for better and for worse. In most cases, this agreement includes sexual faithfulness, and a promise that each person will do what they can to make the other one happy. For some people, this agreement between man and woman takes the form of a covenant between not only the couple, but God as well. Thus, many marriages are performed within the rites of various churches and religious institutions.
The meaning of marriage should be looked at from a sociological perspective as well. A marriage is the conduit by which children are born; a marriage provides both a mother and a father for the children. The family unit, the relationship between parents and child, are all based on the marriage relationship.” (laboroflove.com)
Now let’s break this down and apply it to the current debate over same-sex marriage. The first thing to notice is marriage is between a man and woman, not necessarily a male and female, although there are arguments about having children. It is also monogamous, supporting, and legal. Marriage is a social construct created by man for mankind. Religious institutions use it to control their congregation and impose their ideology. The Government further supports this manipulation by imposing financial benefits and legal constrictions on the nuptials.
There is a saying which applies to marriage nicely, ‘two heads are better than one’. Partnership just makes sense in surviving and thriving so the question becomes how important is Love to the equation? Having been married twice and divorced twice I would say it is imperative! I will further posit that same sex marriages have one partner in the man role and one in the woman role by nature. It is possible the roles flip from time to time and that even happens in hetero marriages. Also the financial aspects of marriage are of great importance being the leading cause of divorce. Marriage these days is often simply about security and insurance against loneliness. For the same-sex community it is about being accepted by society and feeling loved by their peers. It is just another way to fit in and this goes for all marriages, gay or not!
Ideally I would say the “true meaning of marriage” is Love, a selfless unconditional love. Let us pray this remains the primary reason to marry and to stay together. We can also acknowledge the facts that marriage is about financial, physical, and emotional support between two individuals of consenting age (now 18). Equality is about everyone, having the right to equal benefits, and opportunities. The whole Same-Sex marriage movement could be reduced to the right to file taxes as married, share insurance, and make legal decisions with/for your spouse. Take money out of society and this entire issue dissolves and marriage will return to its original purpose of sharing love, but this is another story, the many benefits of a moneyless gifting economy.
Love needs no legal document or government/religious approval. Love is boundless until we put up walls. We put them there so we can also take them down. There is no greater and important principle to preserve in our world than Free Will. It is our inalienable right to make our own decisions, to love whom we choose, and to experience the gifts this produces. Do we really even need marriage at all? Why put limits on who you Love, who you live with and who has your children (who’s children you have), especially if you are not going to honor your vows over your entire life? Certain Truths hold themselves to be self-evident. The only true relationship you have is with Divine Source (God). This larger relationship expresses through the smaller ones with the people in your life, your relationship to mother earth, and to yourself.
To further the journey of understanding marriage I offer this article on The Meaning of Marriage as a Spiritual Union – the metaphysics of marriage.