For many millennia, the institution of marriage has served society well. It creates stability, has provided children with a solid foundation, and has been the building block of whole communities. In fact, marriage is such an incredible success that most progressive governments have sought or are actively seeking to extend it to all people so that it is no longer the exclusive preserve of heterosexual couples. As David Cameron wisely put it when advocating the widening of marriage to include gay couples:
“Marriage is not just a piece of paper. It pulls couples together through the ebb and flow of life. It gives children stability. And it says powerful things about what we should value…I once stood before a Conservative conference and said it shouldn’t matter whether commitment was between a man and a woman, a woman and a woman, or a man and another man. You applauded me for that. Five years on, we’re consulting on legalising gay marriage. And to anyone who has reservations, I say: Yes, it’s about equality, but it’s also about something else: commitment. Conservatives believe in the ties that bind us; that society is stronger when we make vows to each other and support each other. So I don’t support gay marriage despite being a Conservative. I support gay marriage because I’m a Conservative.”
We normally despise everything that conservatives stand for. On this occasion, however, it was strangely impossible to disagree with anything Cameron said about his support for gay marriage. Not only did he want to conserve marriage, he wanted to make it available to anyone. It was almost as though Cameron had turned progressive for the day, or else was conforming to some hidden agenda given to him from on high. However, we reject such conspiracy theories.
Whilst we agree with Cameron’s words and subsequent actions in pushing through marriage reforms, we believe he should have made even more radical changes. The government could do so much more than merely pass legislation and then act as uninterested observer. Let us explain.
In many parts of the world, especially the Indian subcontinent and the Middle East, marriages are arranged between families. Whilst this does not suit the Hollywood ideal of “boy-meets-girl-and-fall-in-love” (pre-1990) or “cowboy-meets-cowboy-and-they-fall-in-love” (post Brokeback Mountain), the undeniable fact is that arranged marriages work. Arranged marriages create tight bonds between families, ensure peace, and serve a plethora of needs. Unlike non-arranged marriages, very few arranged marriages result in divorce. The success of arranged marriages proves that romantic love is not necessary for a couple to thrive together. Why then are not all marriages arranged?
Bigotry. Racism. Six Billion (maybe).
Although naysayers have predicted the end of arranged marriages for many decades now, the truth is that they are an unparalleled success. Certainly, based on divorce statistics, they are way superior to traditional ‘romantic love’ marriages.
What, then, can the state do to ensure that more couples benefit from the special bond of marriage? Society, after all, is crying out for more stability. Take house prices, for example. Given the population explosion, the fact that more people than ever before are choosing to live alone (postponing marriage or avoiding it altogether), houses are becoming less and less affordable. It makes every sense therefore for couples to come together, combine resources, and share a house.
A radical solution is needed. If an individual chooses not to be married by the age of say 21, for example, we believe the government should intervene and arrange a marriage between said individual and another person the government deems appropriate. Where possible, the state will take into account age, background, interests and maybe even sexual preference when choosing a mate, although this cannot always be guaranteed. Sometimes, more gay marriages are needed for the betterment of society, even though this may feel like a sacrifice to at least one of the newly wed. Deal with it, we say!
Simply put, the State knows best when arranging a marriage. What might seem, at first, an unsuitable match should prove a wise betrothal in the long run.
Our modest proposal then is that governments around the world create a Ministry of Love. Let the weddings take place!