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Redefining marriage: London style

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Henry VIII redefined marriage by creating a church that allowed divorce. Others redefined marriage by prohibiting the polygamy of the Mormons (and most of the Bible).

Isn't intimacy a social institution -- being redefined constantly by changes in society (birth control! women working outside the hom.  Urban work replacing farm labor. And more.)

Doesn't the privileged access to nannies and domestic workers (and sex workers) "redefine marriage"?

Isn't prostitution (and the institution of unofficial "mistress" second wives) an integral part of "traditional marriage" as it has existed in real life?

Why wouldn't we "redefine marriage"? And if we did, what would we imagine (beyond the simple extension of bourgeois legal rights and property rights to same sex couples)? Is liberation of the poor and the despised possible without quite radical changes in intimacy?

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  • A common trait of conservative bigots is to whine about the supposed "redefining" of marriage; this is in spite of the fact that historically speaking marriage has been constantly "redefined". In complaining about same-sex marriage the reactionaries overlook the many instances which marriage had been previously changed: such as-marriage in exchange for property, inter-racial marriage, and now same-sex marriage. More to this point you are correct to bring up the use of nannies, divorce, and sex-workers *does* change marriage as nannies "limits" the labor of mothers, divorce enables the breaking of "sacred bonds", and sex-workers takes away the edge of the eternity heterosexist nature of marriage for use exclusively in reproduction. These are traits which the conservatives simply refuse to see. They would rather remain idle and in the past without examining their own absurdities.

    As for the re-imagining of marriage I assume you mean a marriage like bond initiated by two or more people? If so than I would say that a re-invented marriage built from the ground up in revolutionary society would be a more social oriented construct, maybe something which is undertaken in conjunction to labor and inter-personal intimacy. A institution which serves socialism and people personally rather than simply ensuring a reserve army of labor (as is the current norm).

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