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Can of Worms: Is marriage necessary anymore?
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As an american I would say yes (and voted as such) marriage is necessary still in the USA, because our tax code, inheritance laws, etc etc etc was built on the idea that most people would marry. I don't think you need to be married to be a couple, have a family, it is not necessary at all on a personal level...but on a societal level we would need to do a pretty major overhaul if say you wanted to abolish legal marriage here as an institution with all the various rights it gives people.
As for the rest of the world my answer would vary depending on the area and how marriage affects the individual society.
No, marriage is not necessary I think. Commitment to another person is. As Sweetscot says, marriage, interpreted in legal terms, is a means to ensure that property gets given to your biological heirs, preferably men, according to a big section of the world. To seperate the acquisition of valuable things from the commitment made heart to heart, legally, would be a good thing in my opinion. I'm not in favour of abolishing marriage, or any other public statement of commitment people wish to make (I'm married myself), but I married my wife long before I signed a piece of paper. We decided to have a ceremony to make a public statement of love, in front of our friends and families, for its own sake. We'd been married for five years before we did that.
I think that marriage is not necessary for all people, but for people to whom the tradition is a representation of their culture and beliefs, and an important symbol of their devotion to their partner, it is necessary to be allowed to have that celebration and make that gesture.
Yes, tradition is important. In Ireland, many people who never go to mass still have a Catholic ceremony, not because they really believe it, but for the sake of the spectacle, and continuing what their parents did. In many areas of the world you don't get a choice, and often get your wife/husband decided for you. I think that anybody should make any gesture they wish. My wife and I have had a civil (legal) wedding, a blessing from a friendly Catholic priest who I play music with, and a Pagan wedding jumping over our sweeping brush, and having our hands tied together, at our no-frills homemade reception. All of it was great, but we didn't NEED to do it.
It's necessary only for gold diggers. =)
Mark my words:
I WILL NEVER GET MARRIED
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