OK, do we do this by religion, by minority group, by culture or what? Perhaps a mixture of all of those.. - MoonShadow
Don't forget the Christian splinter groups!
Oh, yes, that's true - we'd need subheadings for all the weird non-monogamous cults and such.. - MoonShadow
Marriage is a union between one man and one woman 'till death do them part. Under God. It is a holy union the purpose of which is the raising of children and the giving of comfort unto one another (although it doesn't actually say that in the bible). - Naath
(PeterTaylor) That giving comfort (or at least company) is the purpose can be inferred from NIV: Genesis 2: 18 - Jesus' use of Genesis in NIV: Matthew 9: 4-6 shows that Adam and Eve's partnership is normative for marriage. That raising children is the purpose is harder to show - offhand, I'd say that it's more the case that in OT culture a (married) woman who didn't have children was considered cursed. The giving of the law makes it easy to argue that marriage was considered the proper setting for having children, though: if a man had sex with a married woman then he (and she if she'd consented) were to be killed; if a man had sex with an unmarried woman then he would pay a hefty fine and could be forced to marry her.
Traditional Chinese definition
. . .
Secular definition 1
Marriage is a bit of paper obtained from the government stating that the parties to the marriage agree to abide by the contract of marriage and that violation of said contract is cause to dissolve the contract. This contract states certain obligations regarding the disposition of jointly owned property in the event of dissolution of the contract. One of the parties to the contract is the state and the state agrees to provide to the other parties to the contract certain privileges, vis the automatic designation of next of kin and certain tax benefits. - Naath
(PeterTaylor) I'm not sure that tax benefits should be considered part of the definition - I'd consider them incidental at best, since I've more than once heard my parents complaining that far from getting tax breaks by being married, they'd be paying less tax were they unmarried.
Secular definition 2
Marriage is a contract between the *parents* of the parties to the marriage regarding the disposition of property, sometimes regarding also the disposition of favours such as are in the powers of the parents to grant (in regard to political or financial benefit for the most part). It exists as a medium of regulating partnerships in order to join together estates. It is often a political tool. - Naath
S. D. 3
Marriage is about paternity. A man insists that his bride is a virgin and his wife is faithful so that he knows that his heirs are in fact the children of his body (this ties in with the other property arguments). AFAIK property and paternity are the original reasons for making marriage a contract between two people and the state rather than between two people and whatever-they-worship - Naath . .
Secular definition n
I'm going to file this under Naath definition 1. As it isn't entirely secular. Marriage is whatever you want it to be, cool?
Mp. The problem with this is that the government needs certain things to be stated in order to dole out tax breaks, sort out property etc. That people now don't get married but live together has caused stupid situations like the one a friend of mine found herself in - she got practically no benefits (while jobless) because she lived with her boyfriend. She'd've got more had she been on the streets. Now, I completely understand that some people don't want the associated religious-ness of marriage (even though it is secularly a piece of paper that you can sign for in about half an hour), which is why I suggested the 'civil partnership' thingy, inclusive of as many people/sexualities/years as desired. But without that information, the government is confused. More confused than normal. Of course, if you think that the tax breaks/inheritance/not-needing-an-attorney aren't important, then the above definition is fine ^^ - SunKitten
Does anyone else think that, if we get some sort of civil partnership, the benefits should be graded on factors like how long people plan to stay togetther? This would, hopefully, promote nuclear families (no, not that kind of nuclear) which, I believe has been shown, is generally better for the kids. Some kind of actual penalties for breach of contract might discourage people like the father of a friend, who basically only stayed in a relationship long enough to sow a few wild oats (git). Any thoughts? - CorkScrew
I think that could actually be long run harmful. A naturally stable family is good, but one that is held together by DuctTape? Mind you, I guess it worked that way for a long enough time.
Nuclear is the wrong term here, since that is the 'new' family type of the seventies - mum dad, couple of kids, dog and no extended family in the same city. Which is the bad bit. --Vitenka