Written by Robyn Wright ’13
Last week in Election 2012, we went back in time and looked at the history of marriage in the United States. In order to fully understand the debate of legalizing gay marriage, we had to go all the way back to 1705.
A key trend was noticed throughout history; whether it is women’s rights, Native American marriage, interracial marriage, or gay marriage, it is the same argument used over and over again: God made the world this way, and that is how it must remain.
Before the Supreme Court case of Loving vs. Virginia, trial judges had ruled God had put different races on different continents for a reason and that a black woman was forbidden to wed a white man. Today, the argument is God separated the sexes for a reason, so gay men or women are forbidden to marry each other.
The key idea to take away from lecture this week is that marriage in this nation’s history has always been a state-created and state-run business. Having power over who can marry and who cannot is a method by which a government can control its people.
If black women were to have mixed-race children, they would then be able to inherit their father’s property. This was, under no circumstances, allowed to happen. Therefore, interracial marriage was deemed unnatural and unlawful. History disagrees with what is and isn’t natural.
Part of “civilizing” Native Americans involved persuading them to embrace a new concept of marriage. In different tribes, there are records of men marrying men and women marrying women, and when it came to divorce, women could simply move their tipi elsewhere while their husband was away.
Our country is supposed to be a symbol of freedom, but if we deny citizens the right to love, we are denying life’s greatest joy.