Suzanne Turner responds to a recent New York Times piece, which makes an argument to detach religious/cultural marital norms from civil unions.
Have you heard? It’s not only the end of men. It’s ALSO the end of marriage. Interwebs rejoice, a new invented controversy to get us all hot and bothered.
Folks, let’s get real. It’s really the end of women. Between online porn, unlimited opportunities for non-committed hook-ups, medical marijuana, and the X-Box, the ladies have been sidelined. So enjoy your power suits, your fat paychecks, and your nannies and daycare. We can lord it up all we want. Dudes could give a shit. They are checked out and watching Swedish bikini team girl-on-girl hot stuff in the basement. And that 50 Shades of Grey stuff—I mean do you really have time to get entangled in all the S+M equipment after a 16-hour day at the office bending the universe to your will?
And now, thanks to MIT Media Lab, there’s a wonderful warm jacket that expands and “hugs” the wearer when prompted by someone else on the Internet. Can you imagine the boom in sex toy trade once the Chinese get their intellectual-property-
So into this perfect storm wades Laurie Shrage with this weekend’s New York Times piece called “The End of Marriage.” The Florida International University professor makes a compelling argument to detach religious/cultural marital norms from civil unions, arguing, in part, that any unit that constitutes a bill-paying, care-giving family should get tax breaks and other benefits—no matter the make up of that entity, or whether it is a couple in the traditional sense of the word at all. Perhaps two siblings living together, or cousins, or friends could have the benefits of civil union. Or, in my case, the Senegalese nanny who raises my children, and—perhaps by extension—my mother who occasionally does our grocery shopping. And just for fun even those recent ex-con prison-bodied guys who keep the lawn and gardens gorgeous for almost no money.
Well, why not?
I’m all for it, with one caveat. We should be required to renew our state civil union recognition on a periodic basis, say every five years. That would require each party (no judgment on numbers in the union) to re-negotiate financial, personal, and sexual arrangements. Like professional performance reviews, we’d remember we should always be on our best behavior—picking up our own socks, metaphorically. Really, it’s an on-going Ketubah, renewable at certain intervals and perhaps enforced by the state.
I’m totally digging the idea of a civil union enforcement unit. It would remove the one last annoying family role I have to perform—that of perimenopausal Kali, Hindu goddess of destruction, having hot flashes and core meltdowns when I arrive home from work to find the house full of dog hair and not. one. piece. of fucking honors Calculus homework done. You think I have time to re-teach myself this shit and make a recalcitrant monosyllabic teenage boy cough it back up? Hell, let’s add a full-time honors tutor to our family for this five-year contract.
Shrage argues, with complete academic detachment, that the church can still oversee traditional marriage type unions, but the state is only responsible for economic units. I’m all over this, kiddies. I’m running an entire village here, complete with cottage industries. We should be able to be a corporation, complete with tax deductions and off-shore accounts.
Then maybe Mama would have time to get laid. That, however, we want completely off the books, not overseen by church or state. So detaching sex from marriage is a genius idea. Oh, wait—the guys will tell you—that’s not new at all—that’s basically what the marriage contract is all about anyway, right?
Suzanne Turner is the President and Founder of Turner Strategies, a public affairs and communications firm based in Washington, D.C. Before starting her own business, Suzanne spent seven years at Fenton Communications, where she served as Senior Vice President. Suzanne is the co-founder of Fem2.0, an online women’s rights community that is a pro bono project of Turner Strategies. She is also a co-founder of the Internet Advocacy Center and a founding member of Progressive Communicators of D.C. Suzanne studied at Johns Hopkins School for Advanced International Studies and the Université de Paris IV-La Sorbonne, and holds a BA from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.