Saturday, June 24, 2006

Marital Mythology

Julian Sanchez over at Reason has published an extended book review and comments about the institution of marriage. Starting with this:
“Barring a miracle,” Focus on the Family founder James Dobson writes in the April 2004 edition of his group’s newsletter, “the family as it has been known for more than five millennia will crumble, presaging the fall of Western civilization itself.”
Sanchez goes on to show that marriage as we currently know it is nothing like a constant over 'five millennia.'
In Marriage, a History, Evergreen State College historian Stephanie Coontz, author of the 1992 book The Way We Never Were: American Families and the Nostalgia Trap, reveals that marriage has served diverse purposes through the ages, and that the really radical change in the institution was the 18th-century innovation of marrying for love.
Really diverse purposes.

Though not specifically about same-sex marriage, Sanchez' column is worth the read as it debunks a lot of the hyperbole being spouted by opponents of same-sex marriage, and those that want more, not less, state involvement to "save" the institution of marriage.