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Legalising non-heterosexual marital relations? But what about marriage, family institutions?

By Harasankar Adhikari 

Is the slogan "women’s freedom" biologically relevant and an important issue? In fact, it is the most politically correct agenda. Therefore, this slogan of women’s freedom is nothing but confusion. We witness rapid progress in the field of technology and human rights changes ‘on the labour market, a revolution of women’s awareness, and the individualization of the course of human life.’ It influences changes in family and marital life, ‘such as the decline of patriarchy, the decrease in the number of children in a family, looking after children rather than bringing them up, the increasing role of the recreational function of the family, and the declining procreative function of the family.’ 
Here we can remember Sheila McIsaak Cooper’s opinion (1999): "The milestone of patriarchalism, is being questioned by interrelated processes of women's work and women's awareness transformation. The mass inclusion of women into the world of paid work has increased their bargaining power in relation to men as breadwinners. In addition, it has imposed an unbearable burden on women’s lives in the form of four-shift work (paid work, housekeeping, bringing up children, and night shift for husbands). Contraception, followed by in-vitro fertilisation and the prospect of using genetic manipulation, enable women and society to control the time and frequency of childbearing to a greater and greater extent."
It is good enough for women’s lives. But it is simultaneously evident that economic independence and education among women have diminished the stability of the institution of marriage. ‘Nowadays, making a decision to end a relationship by a woman does not have as unpleasant economic consequences for her as it used to in the past.’ Education and financial independence open new non-domestic vistas for women. Consequently, it changes women’s pro-family attitude. Even the desire for motherhood is inversely proportional to the level of women’s education. 
It has been observed that educated and high-earning women resign from motherhood because they feel that mothering represents low social status ‘as well as the most ideologically engaged conservative women.’ Further, it increases divorce and the number of emotionally neglected children, ‘who are brought up in continuously reconstructed and fluid relationships.’
Here, we can recollect the view of Pope John Paul II (2014). His view was that this revolution of customs and morals has often waved "the flag of freedom", but it has, in reality, brought spiritual and material devastation to countless human beings, especially the poorest and most vulnerable. It is ever more evident that the decline of the culture of marriage is associated with increased poverty and a host of other social ills that disproportionately affect women, children, and the elderly. 
It is always they who suffer the most in this crisis. The crisis of the family has produced a human ecological crisis, for social environments, like natural environments, need protection. It is therefore essential that we foster a new human ecology and make it move forward. Children have a right to grow up in a family with a father and a mother capable of creating a suitable environment for the child's growth and emotional development."
He also argued, ‘the consequences of the liberation of nature from the influence of culture (religious, ethical, and moral norms) are particularly harmful for family life. Free sexual expression, the ignoring of traditionally approved forms of family life, and the full democratisation of alternative forms of family life prove to be the triumph of whimsicality and lust (the nature) over the mind and responsibility (the culture)’.
Interestingly, the contemporary image of family has not developed any substitute mechanism of "self-discipline" to protect them against themselves. Modern people have not developed "new measures of controlling" the nature or the "human beast" Emil Durkheim stated, ‘When perceived as itself, separately from any authority regulating it from inside, our concupiscence is a bottomless abyss that nothing can fill. (…) A desire that cannot be satisfied is a continuous torture. (...) Only society, whether directly and in its entirety, or whether through one of its organs, is able to play this regulating role, as it is the only moral authority superior to an individual, and individuals recognise this superiority. Only society is endowed with the necessary esteem to make law and specify the limits that should not be exceeded.’
From the viewpoint of anthropology, ‘the contemporary progressive discourses making all (any) choices in the field of starting a family and sexual activity equal seem to be excessively optimistic, as the increasing freedom turns out to be an even stronger surrender of human beings to the power of nature’.
We are very happy to legalise non-heterosexual marriage and marital relationships. But what is the future of marriage and family institutions in our society?



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