Tying the Knot: Marriage Related News Chum

A number of news articles I’ve run across in today’s lunchtime reading are related to marriage… of all types.

The first explores the practical question of why one should get married. When one focuses on the practical, it is clear the reason is not to publically express a commitment to your spouse or to please your diety, but because if you are not married, you can’t get divorced. While that may sound like a trivial statement, there’s a problem when long-time cohabitating couples break up: there are no legal rules protecting the side when the relationship goes bad. This can be a significant problem when there are disputes. The article recommends written agreements for the “just in case”.

Of course, even if you do get married, there is a problem with recognition. This occurs when one state’s rules for marriage differ from another’s. In the last century, this was (alas) seen when one state permitted mixed-race marriage and another didn’t. Now, it is creating legal problems when one state recognizes same-sex unions, and another doesn’t. An example can be seen in Indiana, where a same-sex couple married in Illinois is now suing over the death of the partner in Indiana, which doesn’t recognize the union.

One obsticle to getting married is money, especially in these economic times. One church in Long Beach CA decided to address that issue: they offered a free group wedding ceremony and reception for any unmarried couples in their congregation. Evidently this was successful and they are thinking about doing it again. No word about how the offer would be affected if the ability to have same-sex marriages is restored in California.

Lastly, one of the most popular songs at a wedding is “Sunrise, Sunset”, written for the wedding scene in Fiddler on the Roof by Sheldon Harnick and Jerry Bock. The problem is that the lyrics are very gendered. One reverand in New York thought to contact Sheldon Harnick about this. The result: Sheldon Harnick has released alternate lyrics of the song for same-sex unions. All together now… “Is this the little boy I carried? / Is this the little boy at play? / … “