Monday, April 06, 2009
A SHAKEUP OF THE SHIBBOLETHS?
N.E. Hills are alive with the debate on whether marriage must be restricted to one husband and one wife - lesbian and gays need not apply. In Vermont, both Houses have passed bills that allow same-gender marriage but the Governor has promised a veto.
Vermont does have Civil Unions, which at the time of passage, appeared to be a big step forward but now as more states are making marriage legal, the push is on to join in or be left behind.
It is interesting to read the pros and cons and compare them to the hissy-fits that emerged during the Civil Union debates of yore. All the dire predictions of Vermont turning into California just never happened. Somehow those same gender couples that lived among us were remarkable just like us and the fervor died down to the plaintive bleating of a few diehards and of course the Fundies.
Today the debate is showing something quite different and it seems to me that it is pointing to the real fear of what same gender marriage will precipitate. Possibly this is because of the changes made by having Civil Unions and more people came to think of them as pals living together rather than a threat to their own marriage and children.
Now the caption under pictures of same gender couples identify them as Mary Roe - husband; or John Doe - wife. This has brought out one more of those hidden prejudices that manifest in sexism and misogyny. Man and his society, aided and abetted by women, have spent eons defining and enforcing gender roles. A woman husband! ? A man wife! ?
Oh, no! Our well entrenched patriarchy screams. This cannot be allowed because it will forever endanger our carefully constructed male superiority meme and challenge the Biblical admonition that: God is the head of the husband and man is the head of his wife.
Many may profess not to believe this but it is only buried in a shallow grave in the amygdala [Limbic System of the brain] because it is reinforced daily by our language, our customs, our laws and our fears.
Is it just possible that tearing down the old definition of marriage will force our society to re-evaluate women and men and gender rolls? Maybe all the Women's Movement needs is a shakeup of the shibboleths.