What is marriage for, anyways?

My Doktorvater, Dr. Douglas Farrow, was recently interviewed (January 31, 2009) on the “Drew Marshall Show” on the topic of where marriage is going in Canada. The write-up to the show is as follows:

To some, same-sex marriage is evidence that society has finally come of age. To others, it is yesterday’s issue, posing no danger to traditional marriage. To still others – McGill University’s Douglas Farrow among them – it has turned civil society on its ear, creating a new political situation in which several things are no longer clear: Is the state the property of the citizenry? Or are citizens, with their cherished personal associations, including marriage, now the property of the state? Who “owns” the children, now that natural parenthood had been replaced by legal parenthood? Is the family still “the natural and fundamental group unit of society,” as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights claims? Or is the concept of the “natural” moribund? What is marriage for, anyway?

For those who are still trying to figure out what the change of definition of marriage means for us from a theological and legal perspective, you can listen to the interview here.

One thought on “What is marriage for, anyways?

  1. David,

    I haven’t had a chance to listen to the whole interview yet, but it is interesting. The timing of your post is interesting too as the issue has been on my ind a lot lately although for a somewhat different reason. I am increasingly convinced that we need a “theology of marriage.”

    The “legal” or “state” question gets the most attention, including in the church. We marry based on the power of the state…it must be so since we divorce strictly by the power of the state.

    It seems to me that the core question is this, “what is it Biblically that makes a marriage a marriage?” The related question is “what is it Biblically that makes adultery adultery?” (It seems the two have at least one thing in common). Why is that divorce and remarriage is in some cases adultery? Add Farrow’s comments about children to the mix and we have a perspective that flies in the face of contemporary culture and state definitions. Is marriage “leave, cleave, and one flesh” or is it a “legal contract” for legal and financial privileges?

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