GOOD

Marriage Isn't Sacred

Let Kim Kardashian's 10-week romance serve as a reminder that love, not marriage, is what's holy.


So notorious layabout Kim Kardashian is getting a divorce. After just 72 days of marriage that started with a gaudy $10 million wedding, the most famous Kardashian sister is splitting with professional basketball player Kris Humphries, citing, of course, "irreconcilable differences."

Judging from the the public's guffawing, it seems like nobody is surprised by the breakup, especially not after reports claimed Kardashian made nearly $18 million auctioning off the media rights to her Big Day (a lump sum she protected with a rock-solid prenuptial agreement, of course). In retrospect, the Kim-Kris union appears to have been less a consecration of love and more an elaborate moneymaking scheme, a lucrative sideshow pawned off to suckers as true love. Now that it's all officially over, let's let Kardashian's loss serve as a lesson gained: Marriage isn't sacred.


For years now, conservatives (and some liberals) fighting against same-sex marriage have done so by defining it thusly: "Marriage is a sacred union between one man and one woman." The act's sacrosanct nature was part and parcel with its heterosexual nature, meaning it couldn't be broadened to include the LGBT community because eliminating the man-woman imperative unravels the holiness of the whole thing. But what that definition assumes is that marriage is holy in the first place. What if it isn't?

If marriage is holy, Indiana woman Linda Wolfe, who married (and divorced) 23 times by 2009, should probably be beatified. Late actress Elizabeth Taylor was married eight times to seven different men in her 79 years—was each marriage holier than the last? In 2004, when Britney Spears married her friend, Jason Allen Alexander, for 55 hours, her record label later released a statement claiming that the whole thing had been "a joke." Neither Spears nor her momentary husband were persecuted or prosecuted for treating a wedding, something that's supposed to be sanctified, like some sort of carnival ride. Neither did anyone think to question why it's even legal for two drunk kids partying in Las Vegas, as Spears and Alexander had been, to enter into marriage. We don't even allow people to skydive in America without half a day of preparation and instruction; why are people allowed to get married on whims? Is skydiving as holy as marriage?

Based on all the evidence at hand, the only conclusion we can reach is that marriage isn't holy. A married couple may feel that they've been blessed to find one another, and they may in fact look at their wedding as some sort of transcendental, spiritual event. But the actual institution of marriage itself hasn't been sacred at least since we started letting people get hitched at drive-through windows in the time it takes to microwave a Hot Pocket.

Marriage is a tax shelter and a smart way for a couple to combine assets. Love is the thing that's sacrosanct. The sooner we understand the difference, the sooner we'll understand why Kim Kardashian's wedding was never holy, and why countless gay couples around the United States who love each other despite marriage bans are truly righteous.

Photo via (cc) Flickr user david_shankbone

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