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Jim Tudor

Sex and Marriage

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This is a curious line of thought, in some ways. I mean, it equates "the State [is] the true broker and undoer of marriages" with the idea that marriage is "a private and reversible deal".

And it seems to be looking only at marriage as it has developed over the centuries in traditionally Christian societies. In pagan Rome, marriage was essentially a private contract -- no justices of the peace required, let alone clergy -- though admittedly, emperors like Augustus did pass laws requiring widows to remarry etc. (Which provides an interesting context to some of St Paul's sayings about marriage.)

Scruton writes on pgs. 84-85:

The institution of civil marriage is not a modern invention. It was already established under Roman law, which regarded marriage as a distinct legal status, protected and defined by a purely secular jurisdiction ... Roman marriages were not conceived as eternal unions: they were the legal embodiment of an intention to live monogamously together, and could be ended by noting that the affectio maritalis had ceased.

Scruton explains later that the idea of marriage as sacred, as a irrevocable commitment, was derived only from religious sources. But, the idea of the sacred is an idea through the history of man that we seem to never be able to get rid of. It is traditional, since the beginning of Christendom (and at least in ancient Israel), to view marriage as an existential and unchangeable union, entered into by both husband and wife. (This is generally speaking. There are, of course, exceptions that prove the rule.) It is a modern progressive innovation to view marriage merely as a contract.

Wait, you can do that? Edit someone else's post?

Moderators can. I've never done it before, and I wouldn't do it to any longtime or currently active A&F member's post (and I certainly can't think of a single reason why a moderator would ever really need to) without being granted permission first.

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Anna J   

Jeremy has moderator privileges right now because he's helping us with the Top 25 and needed to be able to do some forum-level stuff.

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