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Editorial: Marriage Like A Snake Eating Own Tail

marriage fight, some rights reserved, http://flickr.com/photos/zzilch/1753164960/Everywhere, U.S.A. – Twenty years ago our cultural consciences imploded over the fact that America’s divorce rate had risen to over fifty percent. More than half of all marriages were ending in divorce, five out of ten gravy boats shattering like broken vows. Fifteen years later, the figure began to reach seventy-five and our already imploded minds burst into flames. Our supposed rock solid American values of marriage seemed to be made of sandstone. Why was this happening? What strange god had we angered? And which network news anchor could we sacrifice? The answer (unfortunately) was no god, no anchor. Instead, it appears that we ourselves must shoulder the blame.

Over the past fifty years, it has become increasingly easy to get married (drive-thru chapel, anyone?) and subsequently, to get divorced (drive-thru divorce court opening 2010). And this wheel of progress – in a world where simple, fast and easy are the corner stones of progress – this wheel, in its very turning, traps beneath it and crushes, the integrity of marriage itself. The institution has become denigrated simply by how accessible it has become. As it becomes more denigrated, it is taken less seriously, more people jump into marriage (some several times) and find themselves in divorce court eight weeks later (I’m looking at you Chris Kattan). This further detracts from marriage’s respectability and the cycle continues. That is the reason why our divorce rate is so high. It is also the true reason all these folks are opposing equal marriage rights for same-sex couples. Oh they claim it’s because “homosexuality is a sin” and “marriage is between a man and a woman,” but they’re just trying to sound cool. Really, it all boils down to that old Woody Allen saying (what’s new right?): “I wouldn’t want to be part of any club that would have me as a member.”

Exclusivity, folks. It’s what makes cool stuff cool and lame stuff not cool. Think about it. Events, groups, clothing styles – they are all cool if only a few select people are invited to participate. The second they become open to all, they lose all appeal. It’s like tying your shoes, reading, going to school and voting. All voted into the top ten in People Magazine’s 100 Lamest Crap (October 3, 2008). Who wants to do something that everybody can do?

Now imagine that you got yourself into an exclusive club – an Elks, Lodge or Mason-type thing, for instance. You’re feeling pretty good about yourself – why shouldn’t you? You are special. Then, after a week of meetings, secret ancient scroll decoding classes and all-male blood-lettings, the group leaders announce they’re making the club open to the public: “walk-ins welcome!” You would be pissed too. Suddenly you’re thinking, “I gotta get a new cool thing! And it took me so long to fill out the application!” This is what the “defenders” of marriage are feeling. Their cool club is on the verge of losing all its cool.

Like how Facebook used to be for college-kids only, then the high schoolers came, then the office-staffers, then your grandma is sending you cartoon polar bears and you wonder if the time has finally come to delete your page (Nana, save your dollar!). Yet, these radical fidelty-fighters aren’t going to give up on marriage anytime soon. A stance that will ultimately be their undoing. Cause we all know, the only way to keep the cool you got from exclusivity is to bail the first time things get lax. They could chuck their blood diamonds into the sea or pawn them for beer money and they’d probably get a statue made for them out of emaciated American Apparel models. But they won’t. Lame.

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