Friday, May 16, 2008

Marriage à la various modes

Hoo ha. The California Supreme Court has set the cat among the pigeons by cutting down the state's ban on gay marriage. Traditionalist conservative blogs like Vanishing American are talking about whether this means legalizing polygamy is next.

Not so many years ago the very idea would have been absurd. But "anything goes" tolerance rolls on. In the U.K. the welfare state now recognizes multiple wives of Muslims.

After polygamy … no, I don't even want to think about it. There are endless possibilities.

Until the 19th century, the ruling Doges of Venice symbolically married the sea that had brought their city-state so much wealth through trade. Once a year they had a ceremony when the top dog, er, Doge was rowed out to the middle of the lagoon and he cast a large ring into the water.

Voltaire complained that the marriage was invalid because it lacked the consent of the bride.

That, however, doesn't seem to be an impediment to some Muslim marriages.


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