A philosophical question for a Sunday morning:

What is marriage?

For myself I see it as a formalisation of an existing relationship between two or more people; a statement to let everyone know to they are in this for the long term. If the various parties wish at the same time to draw up an agreement to agree how assets should be divided in the event of the relationship failing then this should be recognised as a legal document by administrators dealing with the break-up.

How would you define it?


  1. Me says:

    It is, to a degree, what people make of it, it is however a private contract and state interference should be minimal.

    In principle a pre nup should be honoured and taken at face value, unless, like any other contract, it’s voidable through duress. However the caveat to this is if the terms of pre nup would leave an unfair burdens on one or other part, which would have to be alleviated by recourse to state benefits then a redrawing of the agreement would seem desirable.

    I read in the news yesterday of a bishop getting cross as a couple of students, straight female and gay male, have got married to make a statement for their course work (predictably art students), “at least we can be honest about cheating on one another”. Is that devaluing marriage? The man of the cloth seemed to think so; my own view is that it reflects societies expect ions and interpretations of marriage, and if they differ from the churches view then it’s up to the church to fight it’s corner.

    (Disclaimer: I am a trustee of a charity in the field of matrimonial dispute – the views here are personal ones)

    • Misanthrope Girl says:

      The state should have nothing to do with marriage: it should not legislate on the gender or number of the persons involved and it should not offer any financial incentives… though for the latter to be feasible all personal taxation needs to be eliminated or brought down to the lowest possible level first.

      Religious organisations, as private bodies, should be left alone to decide what restrictions that they may place on people wishing to have a service under their auspices.

      Cue outrage from the Daily Fail and the religious right…