How traditional is traditional marriage? There was an article in the Baltimore Sun recently that pointed out how Justice Kennedy had said it wasn’t clear that the Supreme Court should be changing the definition of traditional marriage. The article pointed out that the definition of marriage has always been changing.
What is traditional?
It pointed out that at one point, as soon as a woman was married, she lost all her rights. Does he want to go back to that definition of traditional marriage? It was also quite common for one man to have multiple wives and still is in many parts of the world. In some places women had multiple husbands.
Or does he want to go back to a time when it was illegal for a black and a white to marry? It would be nice if the Supreme Court asked for input and insight from anthropologists and social scientists who actually know what has happened instead of viewing the world from their own narrow perspective.
In a CNN article, it mentioned several tribes in Africa who were far enough apart that they came up with the practice independently. If a woman had amassed enough wealth, she sometimes married another woman. When that woman had a child, the father was considered to be the woman with the wealth. The biological father was irrelevant.
There was also the Navajo. They had a class of person called nadleehi. Nadleehi were men who dressed and acted like women. In one of their myths, their equivalent of Adam and Eve had an argument which caused a split or rift between men and women. The world was restored to order by the nadleehi because they could be the go between for men and women. Nadleehi were a regular part of the society and not marginalized in any way. They could marry men and were supposed to be great wives. Wonder how Thomas and Scalia would like that.
Or do the justices want to go back to the Bible as a guide. Great! In the Old Testament men have multiple wives. There is also other forms of being married like the levirate. If a man dies without an heir, it is the duty of his brother or cousin to take the widow in and get her pregnant so there will be an heir.
I don’t think there would be a consensus to go back to these practices, just like many others in the Bible have been discarded such as an eye for an eye. (Unless you are talking about ISIS and other twisted groups.) Although Justice Kennedy stated that marriage has stated that marriage has remained unchanged for thousands of years, he is wrong. It has been much more fluid over time and place and has been more of a consensus of people at the time. It seems to be a consensus now. Hint. Hint.