There was an ad on television a moment ago for a new series called “Spouse House”, set to premiere on July 9. The premise is that seven men and seven women will live in a house together with the idea of finding that one elusive true love. If nobody gets engaged on an episode then two of the housemates get kicked out and new potential mates get invited to join the house.
The series joins multiple other similar reality television shows such as “The Bachelor”, “The Bachelorette”, “Bachelor in Paradise”, “Married at First Sight”, “Who Wants to Marry a Multi-Millionaire”, and probably countless other knock-offs that are even more forgettable. It’s a multi-million dollar industry that pairs up people who don’t know each other and expects them to marry and live happily ever after. Because, you know, marriage is a sacred covenant.
The divorce rate in the United States is somewhere between 40 and 50 percent, meaning nearly half of all marriages end in divorce. According to the National Center for Health Statistics the marriage rate in this country per 1,000 population is 6.9 and the divorce rate is 3.2 per 1,000. Because, you know, “until death do us part”. Certainly divorce is better than a couple staying together in an unhappy and unhealthy relationship, whether it’s for the children or some other reason, but don’t preach that marriage is sacred under the eyes of God or that it’s an important social contract when the divorce rates are that high. Clearly, the idea of marriage binding a couple together on this earth and into eternity is no longer relevant.
Meanwhile, after intense pressure from right-wing constituents and conservative politicians, and fearful of not getting elected the next time around because of implied payback, the justices of the Texas State Supreme Court recently reheard a case on same-sex marriage rights that they had already dismissed. This time around they handed down a decision that attempts to undermine the U. S. Supreme Court decision that made same-sex marriage legal nationwide and also granted the same rights and benefits to same-sex married couples that opposite-sex couples enjoy. The Texas justices pretty much said that the U. S. Supreme Court decision, Obergefell v Hodges, does not apply to state spousal benefits. In the Obergefell decision the court made it clear that same-sex married couples should be accorded the “constellation of benefits” accorded to opposite-sex couples. This was further solidified on Monday of this week in a case (Pavan v Smith) about same-sex parents in Arkansas. In that case the U. S. Supreme Court reversed the Arkansas Supreme Court’s decision that the state did not have to include the same-sex partner on a birth certificate.
We can expect more of these cases coming forth, all trying to chip away at different aspects of the legality of same-sex marriage, because its opponents simply do not want to give in and admit what is now the law of the land. They are also emboldened because they have a new friend on the highest court in Trump’s appointment, Justice Neil Gorsuch. According to a Time magazine article from March 18, 2017 Gorsuch’s 2004 doctoral dissertation at Oxford University revealed that to him it was “obvious that the United States Constitution did not protect a right to same-sex marriage.” Many sources have noted that Gorsuch wrote an opinion piece in the conservative National Review a year later in which he pretty much blasted liberals for trying to advance a political agenda of same-sex marriage through the courts. Now on the Supreme Court he has already shown his true colors (and they’re not rainbow) with his dissent on Pavan v Smith. He is clearly no friend to the LGBT community or an interpretation of the Constitution that would uphold same-sex marriage.
The tradition of marriage is clearly important to some. The networks continue cranking out shows that are the equivalent of arranged marriages that everyone thought had died out in our culture a long time ago. And countless politicians and preachers who support the overturning of Obergefell v Hodges continue to marry and divorce, marry and divorce, marry and divorce (a marry-go-round) because, well, one man and one woman, and they will live happily ever after–as long as the queers don’t get to do the same.