In the time when the bible was written and was essentially law, if a woman was raped, she had to marry her rapist. Read deuteronimies if you don't believe me. Marriage seems to be heavily taken for granted as any asshole celebrity can have a heterosexual marriage for 42 hours to gain attention and then divorce immediately.
Rights are assumed and argued against; privileges are unassumed and argued for. These are no mere semantics.
For example: Freedom of speech is assumed to apply. Someone bringing an action for defamation is arguing against the applicability of that freedom. It is assumed that someone will produce all documents necessary to a court. A lawyer arguing for legal professional privilege for some documents is arguing for privilege.
For marriage, it is a pure legal right. It is not a privilege in any sense... it just happens to only apply to those in heterosexual relationships. They're 'privileged', but I'm using this word in a different context here.
A lot of what people call "rights" are actually privileges, but then, very often governments try to label privileges things that ought to be rights. That's why we have to be careful.
At base, marriage is a contract, and it's peculiar to say the least that this contract alone is strictly limited as to what sort of people may enter into it. If that was the case with any other contract, it would be immediately as wrong.
I feel like marriage should be more a personal thing too, government shouldn't really be involved in it. Plus, the fact marriage gives so many random advantages puts a huge emphasis on that people "should" get married, so then it's always "inherently bad" to either have children outside a marriage (despite being committed to that lover), or people who don't want to be in a relationship. Or as more liberal people might say, it's a coupleist or marriagist ideal. I kinda agree with some of the other people here, maybe they should make it a contract stating the two (or more) people are in a committed relationship and leave it at that. The ceremony will be for show
The question has no simple answer, since marriage encompasses so many things. In particular:
- There's the private aspect of two people deciding to love each other. I'd say that's a right. - There is the religious aspect of recognition by one or more deities. That's not a right; it's up to the religion's inventor. However, this is not necessary for a valid marriage. - There is the issue of extending rights granted to family members to someone who previously wasn't one. That includes e.g. hospital visitation rights, joint custody and so on. I think that this is a right, but I don't think this necessarily requires marriage. - There is the part where society grants certain advantages to married couples, for example regarding taxes and so on. That is a privilege, not a right, in my opinion.
However, in a modern democracy, the concept of privilege itself must be understood more widely. A modern privilege/license isn't some favor bestowed by the king; it's something that is legally regulated, and if one person can get this privilege, then all others must be able to get it, too, without discrimination. Obviously, preconditions can and often must apply, such as requiring passing a driver's test before being allowed to operate a car in traffic. But these preconditions must be reasonable and not discriminate for no good reason.
In short: If a privilege is granted to enough people, then the granting of this privilege (to those who qualify, with no people excluded for unfair reasons) is a right.
And that applies to marriage, too. The advantages that the government bestows upon married couples are a privilege. That means it would not be a human rights violation if the government simply stopped that at some point. But as long as the government does grant these advantages, it must do so in a non-discriminatory fashion, because being granted these privileges is a right.
Civil marriage should be replaced with custom contracts. Personal "marriages" should be nonlegal agreements between whoever people want them with. The current civil marriage system is so broken that I have no idea how anyone thinks adding another 1.5% of the population to it and doing nothing else is solving the most major problems it has.
Outside of a legal partnership (where, I agree with GGordonS, it's just political human nonsense), marriage is really only relevant to the people getting married because it's meaning and importance varies depending on individual perception. It's just an arbitrary thing that people do; sometimes for superficial or practical purposes and sometimes for symbolic or emotional purposes. I think it's a matter of rights, not because there is some sort of innate law of nature saying people can/should marry, but as a right of expression and personal interest.
GGordonSFeatured By OwnerNov 16, 2012Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I suppose as a political move a marriage is a privilege. I don't believe in rights. Most people don't even want rights, they want license. Rights are inseparable from their consequences, negative and positive. License is more like permission than rights. If you place any value on marriage as a spiritual union you have to abide by the rules established by the religion you are married under. I don't care if the government gives people the license to marry, thats just political human nonsense. People need to be allowed to do what they want so they can see how it does and doesn't make them happy. Choices that are forced, whether from rebelling against established order or trying desperately to adhere to that same order are meaningless, redundant and unfulfilling. I believe in deeper symbolism and meaning of marriage that can only be realized in its proper context. I'm trying very hard not to judge anyone, everybody has a life that is entrusted to them that they have to live according to what and how they choose. Some things are geared to make a person just miserable. In marriage if either party is unwilling to give up their self centeredness it ends up as hell These are just my opinions. Take what you want and leave the rest. What do you think??