Some Historical Perspective and Questions on Marriage

20 Jul

The recent U.S. Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage is rippling through American society–and will no doubt continue to do so for some time.

Two recent blog posts raise some important historical perspectives (directly or indirectly), and I thus call your attention to them here.

First, my colleague Rebecca Koerselman, a professor of American historian at Northwestern College, notes some of the changes in marriage in the U.S. in last few centuries, and points to the tension between marriage as a religious covenant and marriage as a civil contract: Marriage: Defined by the State or by Religion?

Second, William E. Smith III, a professor of Religious Studies at Indiana University, makes a persuasive case that we need to start considering whether polygamy and other multiple-consenting-partner relationships can be considered marriage: Who’s Scared of Polygamy? A Restrained Case for the “Slippery Slope” Argument.

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