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An Interesting Social Experiment

I recently came across an interesting blog post over at Religion Dispatches.  Tom Ackerman published his “Marriage Manifesto“, which is a fun little social experiment and statement that I think I might try during this holiday season.

Ackerman decides to launch an experiment with language love, and the law:

I no longer recognize marriage. It’s a new thing I’m trying.

Turns out it’s fun.

Fun indeed!  Ackerman decided to no longer recognize the marriages of those around him, much like what happened in the last election.  It’s an interesting idea.Ackerman replaces the words husband, wife, spouse, or fiancé, with “special friend, companion, boyfriend, or girlfriend.”  When he is questioned or corrected by his married friends or acquaintances, he simply says, “I’m sorry, my beliefs don’t recognize your marriage.”

It’s an interesting theory and experiment.  As Ackerman puts it:

A marriage is a lot of things. Culturally, it’s a declaration to the community that two people are now a unit, and that unity should be respected. Legally, it’s a set of rights and responsibilities. And spiritually, it’s whatever your beliefs think it is.

That’s what’s so great about America. As a Constitutionally secular nation, or at least in reality a vaguely pluralistic nation, we can all have our own spiritual take on what marriage is. What’s troublesome is when one group’s spiritual beliefs deny the cultural and legal rights of another.

But, back to the point. They say their beliefs don’t recognize my marriage, I say my beliefs don’t recognize theirs. Simple. It may seem petty, and obviously the legal part of the cultural/legal/spiritual trilogy is flip-floppy, but it may be the cultural part that really matters.

I think I’m going to try this little act of peaceful rebellion.  I’m curious as to the reactions I’ll get when I make people take just a moment to examine how some LGBT folks feel every day.  It might only last a second, but maybe they will realize that their relationships could, in theory, be “up for interpretation” and they’ll take a step back when dealing with relationship recognition for our community.

Or maybe not.

But I’m betting it will lead to some interesting conversations.

Be sure to go over and read the entire article on Religion Dispatches.

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