Dec. 29 2014 04:09 PM

Definition of traditional marriage is about to change, again


The year 2014 was a banner one for LGBT rights (also known as "The War on Humanity"): Twelve states legalized gay marriage, and I would just like to say, "Well done, 2014. Your work here is done."

Twelve states in one year is quite a bump, bringing the total now to 35. Yup, you read right. Thirty-five states! So, now, queer folk in more than two-thirds of the country can get hitched. And you know what this means? It means the definition of traditional marriage is about to change, again.

You remember this, right? According to the religious right, traditional marriage is a Monogamous Union Between One Consenting Adult Human Male and One Consenting Adult Human Female (MUBOCAHMAF, for short). This faction says it's been that way—and only that way—for thousands of years, and if we ever tinker with this definition, the Earth will surely crack open, the dead will rise and President Obama will beat-box the State of the Union address in corn rows and gold teeth.

I know it's difficult to grasp that anyone who doesn't have a slab of tofu where their brain should be could actually believe this was the only type of marriage in our past, but then we never saw the neuro-imaging results for guys like Tony Perkins, president of The Family Research Council. This is a man who once told CNN that the traditional definition of marriage "hasn't changed in over 5,000 years of human history." Mitt Romney said it goes back 6,000 years. Former U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint from South Carolina, who's got so much tofu floating in his head that he sneezes bean curd, said it's been that way "since the dawn of time."

For starters, let's acknowledge why Romney and Perkins chose the numbers 6,000 and 5,000 years. To them, 6,000 years is the entirety of human history. That's how long ago they believe God created mankind. Of course, science tells us that homo sapiens have been living, eating, rooting and marrying for at least 200,000 years, and for nearly all of those years, polygamy was the go-to form of wedlock. There was also a fairly good amount of temporary marriage, prescriptive marriage and plural marriage, which shows that the more-modern MUBOCAMAF-type nuptials are the least traditional of traditional marriage.

Now, it should be noted that when some from the religious right talk about tradition, they might not be referring to all of humanity, but rather only Christian tradition. They have this tofu-lish notion that the Bible condones only MUBOCAHMAF matrimony, which, well, excuse me while I snot myself in laughter, because if there's one thing I know about the Bible, it's that it has more contradictions than Oxford's Complete Abridged Compendium of Oxymorons.

The Bible tells us that both Abraham and Jacob had two wives, King David had eight and King Solomon took 700 wives and 300 mistresses—all of which is endorsed in Exodus 21:10, which says, "If he take him another wife; her food, her raiment, and her duty of marriage, he shall not diminish," meaning you can't neglect previous wives when a new one is brought in.

The Bible also condones taking a slave as a wife, whether she was captured in a raid or wearing "Fuck me" heels while raking the leaves next door, such as in Deuteronomy, which says: "If a man takes a young virgin by force... then the man must give the virgin's father fifty shekels of silver... and make her his wife."

It should also be noted that, traditionally, Christian girls of this time were forced into marriages by age 14 and that it's widely accepted that the Virgin Mary was between 12 and 15 when Jesus was conceived, meaning that not only does God condone pedophilia; he's a pedophile himself. Must have been awkward for him when he made the neighborhood rounds.

Knock, knock [door opens]. "Hi, my name is God. I'm a convicted sex offender, and I'm here to inform you that I will be living in your neighborhood."

Want to know the best part? None of this even matters. I basically wasted the first two-thirds of this column arguing the definition of traditional marriage when that's not even the thing. Because even if marriage has traditionally only been between one man and one woman, well, tradition is no reason to keep a thing. For one reason—and I'm sure all you normal, hamburger-brain-havers already know this—if tradition is the reason to keep something, then we'd still have slavery, child labor and Hootie and the Blowfish.

Secondly, it's such a malleable argument and therefore meaningless. Every tradition argument you pose, I can tradition you right back. 

Traditioner Argument No. 1: "It's tradition to put a Christmas tree on the courthouse lawn."

Me: "It's tradition to separate church and state."

Traditioner Argument No. 2: "Prosecuting lawbreakers and keeping the peace is an American tradition."

Me: "Civil disobedience is a noble form of protest and part of American tradition."

Traditioner Argument No. 3: "Marriage between one man and one woman is tradition."

Me: "The right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for all is tradition."

Ah, but the tradition argument lingers ever on. And I do find some solace in that. Because it won't be long now that queer marriage will be part of the new tradition. And when the tofu twits of the future argue in favor of stripping same-sex marriage rights, the response will be, "We can't mess with tradition, man. It's tradition!" Of course, they'd be wrong, too—but it's pleasant to imagine. Happy New Year, yo! Fifteen more states to go.

Write to and Edwin Decker blogs at Follow him on Twitter @edwindecker or find him on Facebook.

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