The divorce rate stands at just under 50 percent in the United States today — a 50 percent failure rate for that vaunted institution of marriage. And it’s logical to assume that any institution consistently failing half the time should be drastically reformed, if not junked altogether. Accordingly, Congress should act to draw up a Constitutional amendment abolishing heterosexual marriage.
Many will scoff. But the time is right. The gay marriage controversy has placed the issue of the curse of marriage squarely before the public. As it turns out, the outlawing of heterosexual marriage will nip the gay marriage “crisis” in the bud, as heterosexual marriage will already have been determined unconstitutional. Social and religious conservatives can rest easy that gays will never marry, and neither will anyone else. In the meantime, Congress can develop for would-be partners, gay and s! traight, a five-year contract, renewable at the end of the contractual period.
There are several excellent reasons to abolish marriage:
. It is unholy. With so many marriages ending in divorce, can God be pleased? The abolition of marriage will also decrease adultery rates, as couples will no longer come under the purview of God’s law. One less problem for God to worry about.
. It is costly. Newlyweds today blow vast sums on marriage celebrations, dunned into ruinous debt before they’ve hit the ground. Though drunken revelry and music are obviously good things, with some of the mystery and social force taken out of marriage, couples will be less likely to destroy their finances in feting their coupling.
. It is lazy. Under its presumed — that is, fictitious — sanctity, couples become neglectful of themselves and each other, satisfied that they’re “in it for the long haul.” Under the gun of a five-year contractual renewal, however, they’ll clean up their asses and their act: lose weight and then stay in shape; cook better dinners; have more frequent and more creative sex; go out more; entertain each other. Bottom line is that they will no longe! r take each other for granted.
. Its concomitant, divorce, jams up our court system with needless litigation, draining precious resources and generally wasting the time of judges while enriching greed-head lawyers. Annually, there are some 950,000 divorces in this country — that’s 12,350,000 divorces since 1990.
We need no more labor in this welter of foolishness. Couples bound under civil contract will have similar legal benefits and rights as in marriage contracts, with similar binding stipulations and riders, but the means of breaking the contract will be vastly widened and eased. Without the obstacles to separation, couples can quickly and easily move on with their lives, free of the mess that current divorce law makes inevitable. The parties go home happy, sane and solvent, to find new love and better times elsewhere. Who can argue with that? &nbs! p;
There are other hidden benefits to this reform. Since most social and religious conservatives clamoring about the sanctity of marriage are people who, benighted by old traditions, usually breed after marrying, the abolition of heterosexual marriage will eventually reduce their number, if not lead to their ultimate extinction, a net eugenic benefit (I speak here of extremist, radical conservatives who seek to impose their values on society and therefore act as a drag on democracy). Though this is unwelcome news to the Bible set, they can take comfort that marriage reform will also result in a net decrease in abortion, as o! ne of the key causal social stigmas — pregnancy out of wedlock — will have been removed altogether.
In any case, it should be clear: For almost two generations now, heterosexuals have bastardized, mocked, and debased the institution of marriage, undermining bedrock American values of thrift, open-mindedness, honesty, common sense and common decency. Isn’t it time we moved on?
CHRISTOPHER KETCHAM has written for Salon, Harper’s, Penthouse, and GQ.