Li: ritual, propriety, etiquette. Hsiao: love within the family (parents for children and children for parents. Yi: righteousness--the noblest way to act in a situation. Xin: honesty and trustworthiness. Jen: benevolence, humaneness towards others. Chung: loyalty to the state and authority. --Confucius (Kong Fuzi)

All articles appear in reverse chronological order [newest first].

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I believe the past is relevant, sometimes more than others of course. In most cases we are seeing history being repeated, so it is most relevant.

Friday, June 26, 2015

The Myth of Conventional Marriage:

Circumstance prevented us from having a church sanctioned wedding. In spite of that, as much as because of it, I find our civil union to have been more than adequate. The difference of ceremony was the least important event in the whole process.


by Glenn Littrell

In 1971 when Kelly’s mother and I were trying to get married we knew there was little chance of us finding a minister to marry us. It was less than four years after the supreme court had overturned all laws against interracial marriage, but bigotry on one side and fear on the other side would have made the search to time consuming for two young people in love and in a hurry. As it was I was home on a three day pass from the Army and we saw little chance of me being able to come back to Indiana from my duty station for at least several months.


We spent my first day home trying to get myself ‘emancipated’ as an adult so we could get a marriage license. Even though I was old enough to enlist, serve, and go into combat, I was not old enough to get married without parental permission, and that had already been denied.

My wife, while younger than me was old enough to not need permission because of a law that declared women adults at a younger age than men.

With the help of her older sister we got a lawyer and were in court most of the day. With a three day waiting period between license and marriage we had little hope of actually getting married before I had to return to New York. So when the judge declared me emancipated we were overjoyed when he offered to wave the waiting period so we could get married that day. Without hesitation we went to the clerks office in the basement of the City-County Building (City Hall) and were married in a civil ceremony.

We left the next day for New York with little planning. We had no place to stay and faced even more obstacles as I had failed to get ‘permission’ to marry as was technically required of service men. We spent our ‘honeymoon’ in the barracks after my roommate and buddies made accommodations for us. In a few days a married friend helped get us an apartment in his complex off base. The rent was over half of my monthly paycheck.

When I went to inform my Company Commander(CO) of my marriage he raised hell, but decided not to press charges. Had he done so, or if my wife had been discovered in the barracks there could have been serious ramifications. Fortunately I had the foresight not to mention race to the CO. It would become common knowledge in time, but for the moment we were concentrating on surviving the moment. By the time the CO found out it would be too late and he would have to find another reason to ‘get me’ for deceiving him.

We were married for thirteen years, have remained friends for 28 years and still do things as a family. I defy anyone to find fault with us getting married.

It is for the above reasons, and more, that I bristle whenever I here the self-righteous wailing about saving the institution of marriage from the ‘gays’. The idea that gay marriage will destroy the institution and the American family is an idea that ignores the true history of marriage. The so-called tradition of marriage has an oppressive and dark side that is ignored by or unknown to many.


Family Picture: Taken almost 20 years after the divorce… still going strong.

 The idea that marriage has always been between a man and a woman is ludicrous: biblemarriage

  • It was once between a man and women (more than one, oddly never between a woman and men)
  • It was once between a man and his property, chattel. Wives were bought, sold, kidnapped, traded for and political possessions.
  • Between a woman and her rapist, conquering soldiers, slave master.
  • Marriage was for the obtaining and protection of property and title. The legitimacy of sons, dowries, and arranged marriages.
  • Marriage was for enslavement. Widows did not inherit property; they were declared wards of male family members along with what should have been their inheritance.
  • Biblically, marriage was (forced) between a widow and her brother-in-law.
  • To protect the institution of marriage African-Americans were declared less than human so the slave owner would not be guilty of adultery when he snuck off to the slave cabins at night.
  • Marriage was between a white man and a white woman. Slaves were denied the right to marry, period. Native Americans and African-Americans were denied the right to marry in church and/or by a priest.
  • When African-Americans were finally allowed to marry marriage was between a white man and a white woman or a black man and a black woman. Not only were inter-racial marriages still prohibited, but so were inter-faith and inter-denominational marriages.

Where the above restrictions were just strong taboos and not technically law they were all at one time sanctioned by the Christian community and most often enforced with violence.

The arguments today, logical and illogical, against gay marriage are the same arguments against Jodi and I getting married in 1971: the sanctity of the institution, the children, it won’t survive the pressure, its unnatural, ‘the bible says’, the family… Bullcrap!
My family has survived not just years of marriage, but also years of divorce. 41 years and still going. I’d proudly put my child's character, accomplishments and intelligence up for scrutiny any time. In these situations the bible says what you want it to say.

It is interesting that the condemnation of matrimony between certain groups is also a root cause of people living outside of matrimony in a manner that is also condemned. What eroded my faith in marriage as an institution was the obstacles to our marriage along with high rates of divorce, adultery, and domestic violence. All factors un-related to if we were of different races. The cry for family values and protecting the family ignores the fact that the survival of the family does not depend on the make-up of a family and certainly does not depend on the makeup of the family down the street, or on the other side of town. My faith is that my family was strong enough to survive the marriage and the more important thing is it also survived the divorce.

The arguments against are moot. They have been proven wrong throughout history. The merit of the arguments are weak and the question that remains, the soul searching question, is the ‘why’ behind the arguments. If you make the argument against gay marriage, it is that ‘why’ that is most important. If the ‘why’ is perceived as a logical one then the logic is flawed and the ‘why’ must be that for whatever reason, it has to come down to personal animosity. If the ‘why’ is strictly faith based then OK, but your faith is yours, not everyone else's. If your faith allows you to judge others then kindly exercise your faith, but limit exercising your faith over others to the members of your faith. My freedom of religion is also freedom from your religion.

mixedM_thumb51 image_thumb1Robert Northrup: “I was married by a justice of the peace 17 years ago. Some churches don't recognize that kind of "civil marriage," only marriages performed by their rules. Have I undermined respect for the institution of marriage by having one that doesn't conform to the demands of some churches? No, and neither do gay marriages.

Simply put, if your faith does not allow for gay marriage then your church shouldn’t perform such marriages. It will probably face some criticism, but such is the consequence of faith, the ability to withstand criticism and doubt. It will also set many on a course to another church or even away from churches in general.  As a result the faith based argument is detrimental; it leads to the alienation from God based on the inability of men to understand or explain God.

The claim that gay marriage rights will lead to marriages between men and animals is so stupid and illogical it is embarrassing. The whole purpose of such statements is to scare the ignorant and fearful.
Similarly the claims that marriage equality will lead to churches being forced by the government to perform gay weddings is so removed from reality it demonstrates a lack of understanding in regards to basic morality and our Constitution. The fears surrounding inter-racial and inter-faith marriages have not led to government intervention or mandates on church performed weddings in the last 48 years.

Circumstance prevented us from having a church sanctioned wedding. In spite of that as much as because of it, I find our civil union to have been more than adequate. The difference of ceremony was the least important event in the whole process.

ssmarriage_thumb1So let’s get this straight…

Charlie Sheen can make a “Porn Family”

Kelsey Grammar ended his 15 year marriage over the phone

Larry King is on divorce #9

Britney Spears had a 55 hour marriage

Jesse James & Tiger Woods (whilst married) were having sex with everyone

…but somehow it is Same-Sex-Marriage that is going to destroy the “Institution of marriage”


Personally I believe that the state or the government should not be in the marriage business. Civil Unions by the state, religious bonding by the church, or both. Your choice is the way it should be. You would think that this would be the preference of the ‘get the government out of my life’ crowd, but political principles always give way to political opportunities these days, and the best opportunities can always be found in divisive religious issues.


This essay was formerly titled If Your Against Gay Marriage,Then Don’t Marry Someone Who’s Gay!September 10,2012. It has been edited, updated and retitled, “The Myth of Conventional Marriage”.

Obviously, things have changed little in some places:

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