Nearly all my blogs to date have been on cosily uncontentious matters; so it's high time I entered the lion's den and gave my opinion on a few subjects which many would consider taboo.
I read of opponents of gay marriage saying things like "Well, if we allow people of the same sex to marry what will be next? - marriage to children? marriage to animals? " The answer to that argument is obvious, and I just cannot understand why it's not so to everyone. These latter two must remain illegal because they're not between consenting adults mutually wishing to marry. And if it's (quite rightly) considered that human beings under the age of consent are unable to signify their understanding and agreement to all the ramifications of a legally binding contract, why should anyone even think that animals are placed to do so? Utterly absurd, of course, and anyway, I've yet to detect a significant demand for child-sex and bestiality to be legally sanctioned. The fact that child-marriage is still accepted, and even required, in some countries' cultures - often promoted, of course, on a religious pretext (now there's a surprise!) - does not make it any less undesirable, oppressive and cruel. But that's a subject for another day.
What I would propose is that there are two particular types of relationships between consenting adults which ought to be seriously considered for de-criminalisation.
Firstly, polygamy. I don't see why we are all bound to adhere to the traditional Christian concept of monogamy, when so many of us are not Christian, or even theist. If two or more adult women wish to marry one man, or two or more men wish to marry one woman, or two or more men wish to marry each other, or several women equally wish to marry - why on earth not? Some would doubtlessly argue that such marriages would constitute a 'legal minefield'. That may or may not be so, but it's hardly a reason for criminalising them. Since when did legal expediency determine one's emotions? Besides, I would imagine that there are more than a few lawyers around who would relish the prospect of caring for their legally-recognised polygamous clients. If several adults of sound mind wish to enter such a relationship I think it's arrogant for anyone else to tell them that they mustn't. If churches refuse to recognise such marriages that's their prerogative, only please don't think that a religious viewpoint is the only acceptable position. It only makes the secularisation of marriage more urgent. Let's get churches out of the equation for good! Why don't more countries see religious wedding ceremonies as an optional 'add-on', as is done in France? That seems more sensible by far.
As for incest, I accept that there is an additional factor to be considered here, namely the higher chance of any offspring of such a union being physically and/or mentally 'enfeebled' through close inbreeding, though that need not always be the case - and certainly isn't always the case in the animal world. Anyway, should such pregnancies occur, there is always the ultimate, though intensely grave, option of abortion - as there is to any prospective mother with evidence that the foetus is irretrievably damaged. ("Oh horror!" say those who maintain that conception is always God's will and must be allowed to take its course - and thus shoot themselves in the foot by saying such.) But if the m/f adult couple of brother/sister, father/daughter, mother/son, really do not wish to have a child, then there are all the options open to them as there is to any other couple not wishing to reproduce.
As for relationships between closely related adult males or between closely related adult females, I see no counter-arguments at all. Not a single one! Furthermore, in any such adult relationships, I do not see why they should be barred from marrying, should they wish.
It's a shame that words like 'incest' and 'adultery' can carry such a baggage of disapproval and prejudice, accrued over centuries of (religious) intolerance and bigotry, which are plainly unfair in contemporary enlightened times. Indeed, in both cases, it could be that acts within those particular definitions may be more honest and loving than any act within a legally recognised marriage to which either or both parties may belong. If only they could be called by different names.
I would admit that, unlike in the case of gay marriage, there is no groundswell of significant opinion calling for polygamy and incest to be legalised. I think the numbers who would wish for either to be pretty small, though I do particularly feel for those mature persons who are unable to declare publicly their sexual love for a close relative. I think the number may actually be greater than many would like to think, though as it's so (understandably) hidden because of the opprobium directed at this type of relationship, I doubt if there's been any reliable data collected on the subject.
Anyway, so there's a few thoughts from outside my comfort-zone. I fully expect others to want to shoot them down, but that's fine with me.
Next time - Making religious-only marriages invalid, and recognising civil partnerships as being the compulsory minimum for validity in law! Well, maybe not.... However, hmmmmm...........
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