I Do Means I Do

pink_rear view

2015-09-08 – The culture wars obliterate thinking.

A prime example has to do with the definition of marriage. Right wingers holler that the U.S. Supreme Court changed the definition of marriage when it approved same-sex marriage earlier this year.

Well, yeah!

Left wingers who deny this are just kidding themselves. The more sophisticated argument has been that the definition of marriage has never been fixed. Admitting same-sex couples into the institution of marriage is just another tweak. It’s a big tweak, but a welcome tweak because it brings happiness (and rights) to those who those who have been denied it without taking anything away from hetero couples. Same-sex marriage strengthens marriage by expanding its constituency.

The defense of marriage is a cause that sorta began fifty years ago in response to the so-called sexual revolution of the 1960s.

Now, I have my doubts about how revolutionary the sexual revolution was. People have always had sex. You and I are evidence of this fact. We a here and you know how we got here. But I don’t doubt that non-marital sex became more open in the sixties.

When I went away to college in 1969, I moved into a dorm that was called co-ed but was not. There was a locked gate between the boys and girls sections. In spring of the year, the lock was removed. By fall, the dorm was entirely co-ed, even the bathrooms. And the big part of the year was the Lascivious Costume Ball (which you could attend for free if you didn’t wear anything at all).

Unfortunately, I went to the University of Chicago and we were all nerds. We didn’t know what to do with this new freedom. At least I didn’t. But at other colleges, kids were having sex.

Without being married.

As I said before, I don’t think sex was invented in the 1960s. But maybe the decoupling of sex from marriage was invented then (pun intended). That was certainly a change in the definition of marriage.

Before that, people wouldn’t have even known what you were talking about if you said “no means no” or “yes means yes.” If you wanted sex, it wasn’t a question of stopping if your intended partner said “no.” If you wanted sex, even getting a “yes” was not enough. You had to get an “I do.”

If you had sex outside of marriage, it was secret. Now it is out in the open.

The sexual revolution of my generation brought at burst of freedom. But my sons live on college campuses where the debate is about rape culture. Is this a consequence of my generation’s sexual revolution?

Right wingers would say yes. Left wingers would say no. It’s so predictable. The truth, as usual is more complicated.

What I can’t understand is: why can’t the partisans see that they share more than divides them? Instead, each side sees the other as supporting the rape culture.

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