Marriage is Dead, Says Fox News Columnist, and the Reason is as Infuriating as You'd Expect
Marriage is dead. It's surprising news, I know, but apparently it's true. And why is marriage dead, you ask? Because of America's high divorce rate? Because young people are increasingly not interested in it in the first place? No, according to Dr. Keith Ablow writing for Fox News, marriage is dead because of gay people. And also Utah. We may all roll our eyes now.
Essentially, Ablow's argument seems to be this: he says he "argued more than a year ago, when states began to legalize gay marriage" that legalizing gay marriage would inevitably lead to polygamy. People told him he was crazy. But now, a judge in Utah has struck down part of an anti-bigamy law, so Ablow is not only vindicated, but can see clearly now that the entire institution of marriage is null and void, at least from a legal perspective. And this leads him to the somewhat perplexing conclusion that government should get out of the business of issuing marriage licenses at all.
Ablow apparently thinks that entities (churches and temples and even "communes for all I care") should still be able to declare people married, but that there should be no legal benefits to marital status. Or legal recognition of it. Which is a bad idea because next of kin stuff and custody battles and how would you even navigate divorce?
But more importantly, as marriage becomes less and less rigid in our society, and as our collective understanding of what it is and what it means grows and evolves, the government is actually the place I most trust to hold this whole thing together. Because government for the people and by the people theoretically means that government will evolve with the people.
It's a little funny and a little sad that people like Ablow see marriage as dead when in reality it's more alive than ever. Rather than losing cultural relevance, it is changing and growing with society. More and more people want to proclaim that their relationships are worthy of it. Yet to Ablow, this all means marriage "is, officially, judicially, a joke." Because, he says, "If two men can marry, and three men can marry, and five women and a man can marry, and three men and two women can marry, then marriage has no meaning."
Ahem. "No meaning" and "a different meaning" are not the same thing.
But I supposed we shouldn't be surprised. After all, even if Ablow's suggestion that government get out of marriage isn't the craziest idea ever, it's still a little bit like burning down your town's school because of Brown v. Board of Education. It's the two year old who would rather throw his candy in the trash than share.
Marriage really will die if it remains a rigid institution that refuses to adapt to changing societal norms. Keep marriage between a man and a woman, and before you know it, it will be so irrelevant that its death won't even be noticed. Gay marriage today is therefore, in a sense, like women's right to get divorced once was; it changes people's idea of what marriage is, but allows marriage to remain a relevant social institution, not a anachronistic one. And that is how marriage will survive. So sure, whatever, marriage as you knew it is dead — but modern marriage is very much alive.