Allan Takes Aim Blog

Hand Fasting: the right title for same sex marriage?

Posted on: 22 May 2013

This article replaces the article posted two hours ago

Hand Fasting: the right title for same sex marriage?

The ‘right’ to same sex marriage is in the category of rights conjured by people for whom the word ‘right’ has become a mantra and to hell with the ideas of people who disagree with them.

However, an issue that never seems to be mentioned is that, in every respect, except for the use of the word ‘marriage’ men and women of the same sex who enter into a legal contract of union gives enjoy the same civil rights as a heterosexual men and women. On that basis alone LGBT couples are no more dispossessed of a right to live on equal terms than any other man or woman in society.

Unfortunately for them, the contract between a man and a woman can in some, but not all cases, lead to the birth of children which is not something that can happen with people of the same sex no matter how coyly they present adopted children as ‘their’ children.

Before going further and discussing Hand Fasting, let me disabuse you of any idea that my non acceptance of same sex marriage comes from a religious basis. Indeed, not only do I object strongly to LBGT groups calling me homophobic I object just as strongly to religious movements hijacking marriage. Having no belief myself, other than that nature is mans’ creator, it is clear that nature’s creation process failed by not giving every man and woman the same attributes thus creating lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people with the same sexual needs as heterosexuals that can only be satisfied by different sexual practices.

Sad as it is, the men and women that nature created who were genetically different to others of the same sex are not the only ones nature has disadvantaged. Many men and women, genetically the same, can face problems beside which the problem of not being able to enjoy a marriage ceremony pales into insignificance.

That apart I have come to the view that in some cases the desire of some LGBT for ‘marriage’ is motivated by narcissism – which is love of a kind – or merely a device to legalise what even some LGBT people regard as the nearest they will get to heterosexual intercourse. I’d also like to tell the LGBT community that sex isn’t necessary in marriage, even between heterosexuals and nor is love. Indeed love is a much abused word yet allegedly it is the power driving LGBT groups to demand marriage.

If truth be known sex is a greater driver of marriage than love. And perhaps when the initial urge for sex weakens in heterosexual marriages such marriages often break down. Indeed, if heterosexuals were honest about their reasons for getting married I suspect sex with the girl of their dreams was a motivating force. That said however, some marriages are not founded on sex and love but on hope and respect.

But the saddest thing about the same sex marriage debate is its politicisation. That former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, British Prime Minister David Cameron, French President Hollande and U.S President Obama changed their mind is not unusual; politicians regularly change their mind when they think it politically beneficial. And if parents didn’t change their mind when faced with the issue they would be seen as poor parents. Nor does it make any difference if same sex politicians claim to be either father or mother in a same sex union: it is an inescapable fact that they cannot.

That said Marriage has always been understood as contract between a man and a woman. While I do not support the idea of it being attached to a contract between two non-heterosexuals, my research has produced what I think a suitable alternative.

During my research I discovered that in mediaeval times a form of marriage called Hand Fasting, a Norse custom first adopted in the Hebrides of Scotland, before spreading southwards. Like later marriage contracts Hand Fasting was bound by a contract which stated: “that a man take a maid as his wife and keep her for the space of a year without marrying her; and if she pleased him all the while, he married her at the end of the year and legitimatised her children; but if he did not love her, he returned her to her parents.” While the practice eventually died out it remained legal in Scotland until the Marriage (Scotland) Act 1939.

Hand Fasting, it seems to me could become the alternative name for same sex marriage. A Hand Fasting Act could then be drafted by LGBT lawyers to ensure it accurately covered their concerns. The Act might also make happy, people who are concerned about conditions applying to adoption by LCBT couples.

It seems to me also that not only could a Hand Fasting Act be appropriate but that it also provides the opportunity of creating a ritual for when a Hand Fasting ceremony is performed. A Hand Fasting Act could work well.


19 Responses to "Hand Fasting: the right title for same sex marriage?"

Hand Fasting sounds like a formal version of Engagement.

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I suppose Hand Fasting coulkd be seen as a kind of formal engagement. However, for the Norse and residents of the Hebrides and later the rest of Scotland, Hand Fasting as a trial marriage in every way whereas I am suggesting it as the formal union of LGBT couples.

LGBT couples who later want to formailse their Hand Fast agreement could also become engaged but let’s not forget that engagements are simply a promise with no legal basis though if the engagement was broken off one of the injured parties mnight sue for breach of promise.

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