The big problem I see is that there are two clearly different 'types' of
marriage - yet are still tightly entangled in the minds of the public.
The marriage as a religious/personal/ideal belief
and marriage as a legal contract.
Now the second, marriage as a legal thing is now so far separate from the marriage ideal that, in my opinion, makes religion completely meaningless when it weighs into the debate
...with the changes to laws regarding people
living together - de facto relationships and what centerlink considers a
relationship to be (now including homosexual relationships) completely separates
a civil union from a religious one - you can effectively be legally married without being married at all!
if the religious zealots were really concerned about protecting the sanctity of marriage then same sex unions is the LEAST of their concerns !
Civil unions should be open to all, the Church can but (sic) out - I don't know how true it is but someone told me that people having 'religious marriages' were declining.
I don't agree with all of the comments made but there are 'elephants' of truth in all this.
The religious ideal of marriage is a "high" view of marriage. It is not arbitrary, is says that marraige is serious and should be taken seriously by all society (The Anglican service actually says this).
What I think this correspondent does recognise is that the practice of marriage has changed in a way that no one woiuld probably have predicted before WWII.
Although the Soviets tried to change the nature of marriage with their infamous postcard divorce reforms it did not last and caused such social disorientation that it was not alloowed to continue.
There would seem to be little doubt that the single most significant factor has been the advent since the mid 60s of effective contraceptive practice.
Is it too bland to say that once people could have sex without necessarily having to conceive they did not need and oir want to get married.
Society has accepted the phenomenon of 'living together' with such a vengeance that it will probably take another century to fully understand just why this is so.
So Kordos is right to make the observation that people can now live together as if they were married without the actual legal commitment.
I think we pay an enormous legal (and actual financial) cost for this and a lot of the 'defacto' stuff looks like game playing....claiming the privilege of being married but not the responsibility of making a legal commitment.
I guess the social cost will work itself out and will be better understood in 2059 than in 2009