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Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Defending the Institution of Marriage

Marriage has become quite a contentious topic of discussion over the past few years, particularly in relation to gay marriage. Many conservatives and Christians have been very vocal about defending the institution of marriage by opposing gay marriage. Overlooked in this discussion is the actual institution of marriage as it is currently practiced.

I started thinking about this because of a very prominent trial going on here in Atlanta. Former mayor Bill Campbell is on trial for racketeering, bribery, and tax evasion. Among the more salacious tidbits that have come out of the trial was the fact that the mayor had affairs with two different women when he was the mayor.

The most irritating thing about this revelation is the unspoken assumption that all men do this, so who are we to judge.

I do agree with many proponents of gay marriage who accuse conservatives and Christians in particular of not truly caring about the institution of marriage as evidenced by the high divorce rate and rampant infidelity.

Does anyone really believe that having an affair is ok? I believe that those who cheat on their spouse deserve more from society than they are receiving now. They deserve ostracism and scorn. Even more so, I believe that they deserve legal sanction and penalties.

I am sure that I am going to whip up a firestorm with such a controversial statement. But take a minute to think about this. Is not the breaking of legal contracts in our society almost always punishable under the law? Of course so. Then why do we treat marriage any differently? Marriage is a legal contract. What is the point of a contract if the state does not enforce it?

At the end of the day, a contract that is not enforced by the state is simply a "gentleman's agreement" and not worth the paper it is written upon. And we wonder why the institution of marriage is in such a terrible state.

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