For what it worth, I voted yes in the recent postal survey regarding gay marriage. If a heterosexual can marry, I see no reason why a homosexual shouldn't be able to. I am an emphatic supporter of equity in all facets of life and abhor any form of discrimination.
Marriage is a symptom of ugliness
I also abhor the notion that one group of people has any right to tell another group how they should live their lives. So long as it has no negative impact on others, we should all be able to live life any way we want.
That said, and in part for that very same reason, this is why I view marriage as a symptom of one of the ugliest aspects of our society -- socialisation.
By definition, socialisation is the process of teaching people to behave in a way that is acceptable to society as a whole. Socialisation starts very soon after birth, continues through early childhood, accelerates significantly over the school years and continues through adulthood, all the way to the grave.
Society wants people to behave in a predictable manner and socialises individuals for a number of reasons. These include a fear of differences, the ease of managing people who behave in a predictable manner and a need for individuals to rationalise their own behaviour.
When i was growing up, there was a fear of people with long hair. They were going to subvert society and bring down the social order. It was an absurd, yet common fear of people considered not sufficiently socialised.
School rooms are full of children saying ''yes Sir'' and ''no Miss'', blindly following rules they've never been given a rationale for. Such children are easier to manage.
People who marry want others to marry, because it helps them rationalise their own choice to do so. It vindicates their choice, in a sense. If others do it, it must be right.
None of these rationales for socialisation have any credibility. If people get insecure when others behave differently, that is their problem. Ease of control reflects laziness and a lack of imagination on the part of those causing it. It also stifles creativity. I have no responsibility to help anyone rationalise their behaviour. Again, that is their problem, not mine.
Almost from birth, we're told that marriage is not only inevitable, but a sign of great success and social maturity. It is almost seen as an objective in its own right. Marriage is certainly seen as a sign of success, one that leads people to proudly talk about ''my wife'' or ''my husband'' as if having one means they've arrived.
I don’t care if people marry or not. What I care about is the socialisation process that leads people to engage in this pointless act.
Beyond supporting an industry and religious infrastructure, what purpose does marriage have? What does it achieve? What does it change? Why would anyone invest in it? What takes place after that couldn't happen prior? Where is the inherent value in marriage?
Relationships have real value. So do family, love, security and companionship. Caring for someone is great for both parties. But ALL of these things can and do exist without marriage.
As far as I can see, marriage serves no useful purpose -- and those who think it does are the victims of an ugly socialisation process.
I have lived with a number of women and never married. I've never seen the point. I have been deeply in love and could not see how it would be enhanced by a wedding, a view shared by my partner. As far as I can see, people who marry are no better off. They are just victims of a socialisation process that has left them needing social acceptance and approval.
And for those who will argue that marriage is consistent with God's teachings, let me simply say that the belief in God is also a outcome of socialisation and insecurity, and marriage is a man-made concept.
Marriage is neither good or bad, desirable or undesirable. Marriage is a man-made construct designed to encourage conformity and encouraged through socialisation.
Socialisation is ugly -- and marriage is one of its manifestations.