Tag Archives: marriage

What I take for granted: being a bastard.

When I was still in high school I attended the graduation party of an older friend. She was a year older than me, which means I must have been 17 at the time. We were in the high school orchestra together, and I think we may have been stand partners at one point. I did not know a lot of the people at the grad party, so I awkwardly conversed with a random girl of about my own age.

One thing you may not know about me is that other people like to talk to me. Complete strangers will strike up a conversation with me at the most random times, and the things they say! My mom and I have a theory – something in my bone structure that I share with one of my sisters and my mom makes people want to talk to us. Worse, it’s almost as if our faces help them share more than we ever wanted to hear.

My face may have had that effect on this girl or perhaps she just had no tact. Maybe it was a combination of the two, but she started talking about having children out of wedlock. She actually used the word “bastards.” I wish I were joking about that because a 17-18 year-old using the word “bastard” to describe the child of unwed parents in 2007 in the United States is disturbing.

She started criticizing people for having children out of wedlock. I believe my response was, “I am a bastard. My parents never married.” That shut her up.

I am indeed the child of unwed parents.

I can’t say I take this for granted anymore, but growing up I think I did. It’s not that my life was all that affected by not having married parents, rather I simply gained more perspective. Sometimes parents decide it’s not the right time to get married. Sometimes an unplanned pregnancy throws a wrench in marriage plans. Other times an unplanned pregnancy spurs two adults into becoming engaged, but marriage does not always follow. There are any number of reasons parents do not marry one another – from the committed relationship that feels it is an unnecessary step to the two people who had a short relationship and realize marriage would be worse for the child.

I am not saying unmarried parents are better than married ones, but I don’t think snap judgements on the marital state of parents make any sense. They reveal you to be at best ignorant and inexperienced (at worst, willfully ignorant and malicious). Stable and loving homes, no matter what form they take, are more important than having two parents raise you. You can certainly learn this in any number of ways. For me being aware that I had a good home (my parents split when I was 10) despite living with only one parent made it quite obvious that good homes come in many shapes and sizes for children.

I guess this means my third post is about something I used to take for granted, but that counts (because these are my rules!).

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Marriage Equality: Please Vote No in MN this November

No, wait, make that plain old equality. It’s just in the guise of marriage equality for now.

Minnesota, my state, is voting on a constitutional amendment this November to define marriage as between one man and one woman. There are a lot of ads out there. A lot of billboards, yard signs, you name it. Vote Yes! Vote No! All over the place.

I have to admit I smile every time I see a “vote no” bumper sticker. I smile even more when it’s a Catholic “vote no” sticker because that says to me that at least some religious people understand and potentially value secular government. Or maybe they just don’t want to treat a particular group of people as second class citizens.

I am not happy that we’re voting on this amendment. In Minnesota only heterosexual couples are allowed to marry one another right now. Basically what that means is we’re voting on an amendment that would more or less reaffirm the current laws. Do you have any idea what a tremendous waste of time that is?

This also means we’ll be voting on whether or not we want the past to rule the present and the future. To elaborate on that: by putting a constitutional amendment up to popular vote today we’re basically saying the current popular values, if those values are in favor of the amendment, should rule the future generations no matter the values of future generations. If the amendment is voted down it just means people today have no say on the nature of marriage tomorrow.

Could you imagine if prohibition had never been repealed? If that value from the past had stuck with us? We’d be living under a world decided far too heavily by past generations. One of the issues I have with this amendment (and I have many) is that it is a blatant attempt to prevent future generations from making up their own minds about their values. An amendment to the constitution should not be so value-based as this. Allowing women to vote was a good amendment because it brought more equality into the world. Prohibition was a bad amendment, not just because it drove production and distribution of alcohol underground, but because it was an attempt to impose one groups’ values on an entire country.

Beyond that I would like to share what Mayor Cory Booker from New Jersey has to say about marriage equality:

We should not be putting civil rights issues to a popular vote to be subject to the sentiments, the passions of the day. No minority should have their rights subject to the passions and sentiments of the majority. This is a fundamental bedrock of what our nation stands for.

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You want to date… your mother?

At lunch today I ended up sitting with all men. One of these men is upwards of 40, but I have no idea just how upwards – call him “Bob”. The other two are close to my age – 23. One, let’s call him “M” was the same year in school as me. The other graduated two years before me – call him “D.”

D has attended a lot of weddings this summer. He’s at that age when all your friends get married. Not infrequently when one of these weddings is mentioned someone will ask about D’s girlfriend. “Is she pushing you to propose?”* Usually D responds with some asinine comment along the lines of, “I put the kibosh on that.”**

Today, though, D said she doesn’t really talk about marriage. Bob and M responded with, “Oooh, where’d you find a woman like that?!” D then said, “She cooks and cleans, too. And does my laundry.” Bob and M were even more impressed.

“So, you all want to date your mother?” I wanted to ask. But it was work, so it didn’t seem appropriate.

What is with that, though? How many men honestly want to date a woman who does everything a housewife from the 50s does, but who doesn’t want to actually be a housewife? How many men realize that wanting a woman who will cook, clean, and launder for them is basically like wanting a younger version of their mother to whom they are unrelated because we all know that they want sex, too?

There’s nothing wrong with wanting to be taken care of, but who wants to make their loved one work that much?! Lazy.

I’m thankful I found a sane man that sees me as a real person, rather than solely as a woman. When I asked him about his thoughts he told me he likes that I like to cook because it means 1. one of us can cook and 2. it’s fun for him to cook with and learn from me.¬†Cooking is a hobby for me, I’d revolt if expected to do it on a daily basis for other people. He also likes that I have clean habits – not that I clean for him, which I don’t.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, the world would be a lot better off if our romantic relationships were more equal partnerships rather than “man and wife.”****

Also, while I’m not sure why D’s girlfriend would want to marry him, who says she has to hint at it? Why not just propose?

*Okay, that’s a more sophisticated version of what they say, but you get the idea.

** This is, quite possibly, a regional expression. It might even be like duck, duck , grey duck.

*** Two things – first, this is very much about heterosexual, monogamous couples, mostly because I’m not sure how all of this works in any other situation. Second, that phrase always bugged me. He gets to stay a “man,” but now she’s defined as his wife – a word dependent on relationship to another. As if the fact that woman is just “man” plus a couple letters wasn’t bad enough.

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Solemnizing Marriages

I’ve written about solemnizing marriages before in the Dickinsonian (the college newspaper I wrote for when I was still in college*). I recommend reading the piece, not because I’m shamefully self-promoting, but because it addresses the issue in MN and PA rather well. It’s also much more polished than my typical blog posts.

The issue is that in many states, only religious leaders and certain people with civic authority are allowed to solemnize a marriage, which means secular celebrants or similar individuals cannot solemnize marriages. In some states, only those authorized to solemnize a marriage can preside over ceremonies. In other states, two ceremonies may be required if the first ceremony is performed by someone not authorized to solemnize.

Much to my surprise, today when I opened up the Morning Heresy I discovered this issue of solemnizing marriages had been brought up by the CFI and the ACLU in Indiana. It’s rather exciting, and I hope that some sort of legal precedent can be set by this case (if Indiana loses, that is). The Morning Heresy provided the following links: a press release from the CFI, a WIBC article, an Indy Star article, and an Indy Channel article.

*It’s still weird to not be in college anymore.

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