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Traditional Chattel

The day after President Obama said he supported marriage equality for lesbians and gays, his Republican opponent — Mitt Romney — said he wasn’t even convinced that a gay “partner” should be allowed visitation rights in a hospital. It wasn’t one-step-forward / two-steps-back. To get from the president to the Republican position doesn’t even involve steps. You need a car.

Mr. Romney wasn’t alone. Most Republicans, including the gays in the Log Cabin Republican group, have been against what Mr. Obama said. Gay Republicans are against this. They say the announcement was pure politics. If they want to see “politics as usual” they need to look in a mirror. They’ll be against whatever the president does, even when he says he supports gays and lesbians.

Politics as usual from the right says they’re in favor of traditional marriage. Maybe we could look at that. When the Old Testament was being written, marriage had a specific purpose. Traditional marriage was a civil institution in Israel because it gave the husband a list of belongings. The wife was chattel, according to the traditional laws. The wife belonged to the husband, and marriage was instituted for that very purpose. The wife was in the list of goodies that included the goat and the pots and pans.

And that’s what the Republican hate-mongers want? Every time I hear “traditional marriage” I have to smile. They’re ignoring what is actually tradition when it comes to marriage.

They might say chattel isn’t what they meant. They’ll say they only mean that traditional marriage is between “one man and one woman.” Maybe they stress “one” because their presidential candidate is a Mormon, and we all know that group has a history of giving polygamy a test drive or two.

I’ve been attacked by right-wingers who tell me that everybody knows Christian marriage is between a man and a woman. They want to concentrate on Christian marriage. Like Charlemagne?

Charlemagne was a great Christian ruler in Europe toward the end of the 700s. He was so Christian that he received his royal crown by the pope. He loved women. He loved them so much that he was married to at least 10 of them. Ten wives… mostly at the same time. Charlemagne fathered 18 children with the help of 8 of those wives. He almost qualified for a wholesale rate or harem rate or something.

When one of these latter day wedge-issue politicians mention “traditional marriage,” I like to ask which tradition. Is it the one where the holy institution of Old Testament marriage gave the husband lots of property rights? Or maybe it was the New Testament tradition of Charlemagne’s stack of marriage writs.

I also heard Mr. Romney grow tired of journalist’s questions about marriage equality and medical marijuana. He snapped at the reporter, asking her if she had any questions on “significant” issues.

We have a clear choice in the next election for US president. Clear indeed.

Marriage chattel versus marriage equality.

Dred Scott v. Sandford versus Brown v. Board of Education.

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