I will give you one after you have got me my supper

Ah, the fine exercise of logic in the service of Jennifer Roeback Morse’s relationship advice is just too precious:

Jennifer Roback Morse, a research fellow at the Hoover Institution of Stanford University, has been tracing the effects of no-fault divorce throughout the culture.


As she makes clear, “The legal innovation of unilateral divorce began to reduce marriage to nothing but a temporary association of individuals. If marriage is merely a free association of individuals, there is no principled reason to exclude same-sex couples, or even larger groupings of sexual partners[.]

We don’t often agree with Jennifer, but we’ll give her this much: there is no principled reason to exclude homosexuals in relationships who meet the same criteria and are willing to meet the same burdens, as heterosexuals who wish to marry. But how did we get to polygamy from there? [-Just be glad she didn’t throw in bestiality, –Mickey Kaus’ editor.] So far then, only a little bit silly. [“Well, there’s a big swing here to the silly party; but how big a swing I’m not going to tell you.”]

The revolution in America’s divorce laws has produced a situation in which one spouse may demand and cause the breakup of the marriage, even if the other spouse is committed to maintaining the relationship.

And wouldn’t want to live in a world where one person can force another one to stay in a mariage? Indeed — why not make it impossible to break up?

George: “I-I’ve given this a lot of thought. I’m sorry, but we, uh, we have to break up.”
Maura: “No.”
George: “What’s that?”
Maura: “We’re not breaking up.”
George: “We’re not?”
Maura: “No.”
George: “All right.”

All this is part and parcel of the entitlement society–a cultural assumption that all privileges should be equally accessible to all citizens (even if the government must mandate this access). As Morse conventionally argues, sexual activity is now considered such an entitlement.

Sexual activity is now a government mandated entitlement? Boy, we did not get our money’s worth from our college tuition. 🙁 Pass the Holy Hand Lotion.

Rebuilding a culture of marriage is no small task–especially as the cultural elites promote any number of “alternatives” to civilization’s most central institution.

Especially as same-sex marriage is increasingly a reality, while divorce rates keep going down. Indeed, they seem to have peaked in 1981. Well, straw must be fought everywhere it can be found:

According to the report, for people born in 1955 or later, “the proportion ever divorced had actually declined,” compared with those among people born earlier. And, compared with women married before 1975, those married since 1975 had slightly better odds of reaching their 10th and 15th wedding anniversaries with their marriages still intact.

Good luck to you, Jennifer!


Comments: 29


Hmm. Marriage is civilization’s “most central institution”? Marriage? Hell-O!

It seems to me that the CENTRAL institution of civilization is government. When government vanishes, rioting and looting and “the breakdown of civilization” occur (remember the looting of Baghdad?).

But being remotely logical would undermine the intended purpose of making people think it’s about marraige when it’s really about keeping women from having sex with anyone besides their owner/husband, and gay men from having any sex at all. Typical toolness going on.

Not to mention that to keep civilization going, you need to have babies, which requires sex. Many married people will tell you that they had more sex when single, so if anything marriage seems to hamper civilization. Marriage is also the single biggest–in fact, ONLY–cause of marital infidelity (which any traditional-values sort will tell you is a bad thing). Indeed, you cannot cheat on your spouse if you don’t have one.

Come to think of it (no pun intended!), since they don’t let gay folks marry, gay folks are thereby free to sleep with whomever they wish WITHOUT RISK OF INFIDELITY! See, being against gay marriage is the gay agenda’s underhanded way to seem “proper” for the God-fearing masses while actually perpetually perpetuating their lascivious, assless-chap-wearing-behind-the-bookshelves, irresistable-butt-banging cop-cruising promiscuious lifestyles of choice! Or something. I mean, see for yourself! Jumpin’ Jesus on a pogo stick!

Take any metropolitan area with a large underground homosexual population–Des Moines, Iowa, for example. Look at the soil around Des Moines, S,N! You can build on it, you can’t grow anything on it… but I know it’s the queers! They’re building LANDING STRIPS for GAY MARTIANS! I swear to God!!

You know what, Sadly, No!? I like you. You’re not like the other bloggers here, in this trailer park…


I always feel kind of bad for the polygamously-minded. They’re one of the few groups of people whose consensual sexual relationships are more maligned than are the dreaded homos.

If I could think of a way to change the structure of existing legal code to accomodate the polyamorous, I’d be all for letting them get married, too.

It’s funny: despite the fact that I am a committed bachelorette with no real desire to get married, I’m a fan of marriage. I think anyone and everyone who wants to get married should be able to, as long as all the parties involved are consenting and of the age of majority. In an odd way, I agree with the fundicrats – marriage is a GOOD thing. It’s such a good thing, in fact, that it should be made available to as many people as possible.

Just not me.


How does one “conventionally argue”? Or are those just big words that stupid people use because they don’t know how to use language?

And why won’t the elites of this country stop constructing alternatives to marriage, like “civil unions”?

Oh, the tyranny!

Kevin Philips Bong, you pulled not a vote at all…


Jennifer is clearly longing for those halcyon days when couples who mutually agreed a marriage was over nevertheless had to manufacture fake proof of adultery or cruelty and pay large sums to lawyers and wait long periods of time before splitting up.

Ah, those golden years!


Entitlement, huh? What a great country!


Hee! Your dialogue reminded me of Coupling.

Steve: It’s over between us.
Jane: You want us to split up?
Steve: Yes! Yes I do.
Jane: I don’t accept.
Steve: What!?
Jane: I don’t accept it.
Steve: No, no, you can’t not accept it. I’m breaking up with you.
Jane: Well, don’t I get a say in it?
Steve: Of course you don’t!
Jane: Well if I don’t get a say in it, then I don’t accept it! Anyway, then my sister just ….

Like Jillian, I also support marriage for everyone over the age of majority. Unfortunately, it’ll probably take some legal contortionism to figure out how to deal with polyamory.


“Why does marriage emerge in virtually all civilizations and cultures? This is simply a fact of history, as the various cultures of the world have found their way toward the recognition of committed heterosexual couples as the privileged unit of society.”

Really? I thought rich extended families like the Bush family or the Windsor family were the privileged unit of society. Silly me.

It’s funny to me that after thousands of years of humans living successfully in tribes, portentious pundits claim that during the last two hundred years we’ve achieved the perfect social institution in a nuclear family where a man and woman live together lovingly for sixty years with the first person they have sex with (after the proper ceremonial songs and chicken killings).

Who knows? Why should we stubbornly refuse to consider alternatives or allowing variations?


The government staying out of the sex lives of consenting adults doesn’t mean there is some “government entitlement” to sex, no matter how conventionally you argue it.


Jennifer has written previously that saying that abortion should be legal is like claiming that people should be entitled to escape the consequences of sex (a live baby), which is WRONG, because nobody should be allowed to mess with the forces of cause and effect.

Now she’s saying that if the goverment lets people who don’t want to be married get out of their marriages, and allows some people who want to be married (but who don’t deserve this responsiblity)to enter into a state of legal wedlock, then it’s like the government is making sex an entitlement — which presumably means that she thinks that the government should require that every married couple produce a baby every year or so (to prove that they aren’t messing around with cause and effect), and should ensure that homosexuals and unmarried people (who aren’t entitled to have sex) don’t.

This is the only we can save civilization.


I thought of that “Coupling” episode too.
J. Ro is such a freakin’ loon, she makes Jane Christie seem completely reasonable.


I’m sure there are thousands of trekkies with body odor problems at their computer terminals right now thinking, “I have an entitlement to sex!!? Why didn’t anyone tell me and where do I go to collect!??”


As one of the polyamorously-minded, I tend to think that the best solution might be to allow non-overlapping marriages of up to three people. If you have four people, then they can get married in groups of two, and form legal non-marriage contracts, like wills and emergency contingencies, between the two groups.
It’s not going to make everyone happy, but nothing is.

And, yes, they’ve managed to cause a nice little divide there between gays and poly folks. “Gay marriage will lead to polygamy and beastiality and pedophilia and that will lead to the end of the world!”
To which, evidently, the only proper response is “No, it won’t, gay marriage isn’t the same thing.”
Which is true enough as far as it goes.
But, you know, two of these things are not like the others.
Poly relationships are consensual, just like gay ones.

As far as the argument that divorce is inherently bad and must be prevented, it’s a lot like saying wearing mixed fibers is inherently bad and must be prevented. It is only inherently bad if you agree to the underlying rules Ms Morse is presuming we all play by.
For the rest of us, it can be a good or bad thing, on balance. It’s probably not a wholly good thing, but it may, in fact, be a greater good than evil in any given circumstance.

We’re not all starting from your Given, Ms Morse. Go back and try your proof again, okay?


From now on I decree that nobody shall praise “traditional marriage” while at the same time holding polygamy up as one of the scariest things to ever happen to marriage.


We right-wing bloggers just love living in a society where we have an entitlement to sexual activity. Now, if we could just be entitled to have a partner, we’d be all set!

LA Confidential Pantload

Well, to paraphrase the good Dr. Mohler slightly: “Why does wanking emerge in virtually all civilizations and cultures? This is simply a fact of history, as the various cultures of the world have found their way toward the recognition of wingnut wankers as the privileged unit of society. In their own way, these cultures recognize and formalize these wankings through the Mighty Wurlitzer and an entire network of social, legal, and relational cronyism.”


It is really itneresting that these people make all these sinister-sounding arguments but never really say what they think the alternative should be. She does not want no-fault divorce to be an option? She very clearly avoids coming right out and saying that. She sticks to the idea that no-fault divorce and the idea of relationships being easy to dissolve is bad but without saying what would be better. Probably because if she actually came out and said that she wants marriages to be forced to endure like in the Middle Ages and thinks only the Pope should grant a dispensation to dissolve them – in which case she would sound like an idiot.


“All this is part and parcel of the entitlement society–a cultural assumption that all privileges should be equally accessible to all citizens (even if the government must mandate this access).”

Damn the constitution and its cultural assumptions!


I always wonder if the Good Christian Folke© who like to extol the virtues of “traditional marriage” while at the same time condemning polygamy have ever actually, you know, read the bible.

I cannot think of a single “traditional marriage” or “traditional family” in the whole thing.

Jacob had two wives and at least one concubine, Abraham had a wife and a concubine, Jesus had a stepfather and a half-brother.

Hmm……you know, there were a few “traditional families” in the bible, on further reflection. Unfortunately for the traditionalists, they’re all the fucked up ones.

Noah, IIRC, only had one wife and no concubines. But he also liked to get drunk and have sex with one of his sons. Lot is another guy who gets no mention of multiple sex partners in the bible. Unless, of course, you count the time he got drunk and did both his underage daughters in one night.

So it seems as though if you want to phrase this clash of family styles in perfectly biblical terms, I suppose you’d call it “polyamory vs. pederasty”.

And they think there’s something wrong with my values.


Surely, the Intelligent Designer didn’t mean for us to stay in unhappy marriages. If he did, he certainly wouldn’t have created Las Vegas. Free drinks and wedding chapels don’t exactly lend themselves to ’til death do us part’.
More proof….Elizabeth Taylor, Cher and Britney Spears.


Lot was also the guy who said, “I will absolutely not allow you perverts to rape these too men! They are my guests, and they should be treated with respect.

“Look, you guys are my neighboors, and I lived next to you long enough to know that you guys like your raping. If it means that much to you, I guess you can rape my daughters.”

I contend that even for the time it was written the bible was pretty fucked up.


By the way, when wingers toss around terms like “cultural elites,” why doesn’t anyone ever just ask them to define the term? I’ll bet they can’t. Drives me crazy. It’s a simple question just begging to be asked. And it would have the side effect of derailing their argument, at least momentarily.


Well, Jillian, the story of Jacob is even more fucked up than that, since Leah and Rachel were sisters, and their father was Jacob’s uncle. He also fucked two servants, fathering, between the four women, 13 children. Before that entire mess he also took advantage of his father’s illness to screw his brother over. That entire family (Abraham was his grandfather) is a twisted, sick bunch of loonies that, if they were around today, would be guests on “Jerry Spinger”.


Y’know, since this crowd is hellbent on not only outlawing abortion, but contraception and divorce as well (no exceptions!), and since, unless I move to Brad’s neck of the woods (or, someplace nicer… like Spain), I’m not allowed to get married anyway, I halfway want them to get everything they ever dreamed of, just to witness the societal chaos it would engender. Of course, a lot of those assholes are Dominionists who want to have me stoned to death, so i guess there are a few of their dreams I don’t really want to come true….


Well, Marq, you don’t necessarily have to see it to experience it.

You could always read about it, instead.

I harbor a sneaking suspicion that the film version gets used as fundie porn.


I sometimes wish I could marry myself to get all the tax breaks. But what if I got a divorce and had to pay myself alimony?


I want a firm commitment.

I think, Evelyn, that we’ve…lost touch.

Why? What’s wrong?

(Speaking very carefully, measuring each word)
My need to engage in homicidal behavior on a massive scale
cannot be, um, corrected, but I have no other way to fulfill
my needs.

We need to talk.

Talk about what, Patrick? What is there to talk

It’s over, Evelyn. It’s all over.

(Motioning to the waiter for water)
Touchy, touchy. I’m sorry I brought the wedding up. Let’s just
avoid the issue, alright? Now, are we having coffee?

I’m fucking serious. It’s fucking over. Us. This
is no joke. I don’t think we should see each other anymore.

But your friends are my friends. My friends are your
friends. I don’t think it would work.
(Reaching over to dab his face with a napkin)
You have a little something on your upper lip.

(Brushing her hand away)
I know that your friends are my friends. I’ve thought about
that. You can have them.

You’re really serious, aren’t you?

Yes, I am.

But what about the past? Our past?

We never really shared one.

You’re inhuman.

I’m…in touch with humanity. Evelyn, I’m sorry.
(He pauses, as if searching for the right words)
You’re just not terribly important to me.

Evelyn begins to cry.

No, no, no.

I know my behavior is…erratic sometimes.

She reaches desperately across the table and takes his
hand. Bateman pulls his hand away.

What do you want me to do, what is it you want?

The occupants of nearby tables begin to stare. Bateman is
becoming increasingly agitated and embarrassed.

(Looking uncomfortably around the room)
If you really want to do something for me, you can stop making
this scene right now.

Oh God, I can’t believe this.

I’m leaving now. I’ve assessed the situation and I’m going.

Where are you going?

I’m just leaving.

But where?

I have to return some videotapes.


It all really boils down to thrashing about on our milk-stained floors, transported by animal passion, until we sink back, exhausted, onto the cartons of yogurt. And of not having to rely on rancid Pakistanis for our orgasms.


What’s wrong with civil unions?

Marriage was a religious and cultural institution long before it was a legal one. On a practical level, sure, I’m for gay marriage, but on principle, I’d far prefer that the government not sanction any marriages at all, and leave them to the churches/social organizations a la baptism/bar mitzvah/X-Day.

And for those legal issues that come up – inheritance, right to make medical decisions, taxes, etc. – that’s what a civil union would be for. And ideally, you could register a person of either sex to be your civil unionist.

I mean, I’m an atheist. How is it my right to tell the Catholic church that it can’t define marriage?

Take marriage out of government.


Oh, I wholeheartedly agree. I don’t give a rat’s ass if what I get is called “marriage” per se. But, it damned well better have all the benefits that straight marriage gets, or fuck it, it’s just an “self-identify yourselves so we can send you to our shiny new Halliburton ‘relocation’ camps.”


(comments are closed)