[This is another of my guest posts at "Family Scholars Blog." It is also crossposted on "Alas" and on "TADA."]
I’m not sure if this scholarly consideration of marriage has been discussed on Family Scholars Blog already.
When it comes to being adorable, Jessie has pretty much everyone here at Family Scholars Blog beaten. (Even me, and I’m scrumptious.) Nonetheless, as a newly minted (albeit temporary) Family Scholars blogger it’s my sad responsibility to report that Jessie and Grover’s notion of marriage fails the universality test.
This brings up the obvious question: Why, oh why, didn’t Sesame Street bring on an actual expert on marriage to be interviewed by Grover? David, if you’re reading this, perhaps you could clarify: Did Sesame Street invite you as a guest? Is it possible that they asked, but you had a scheduling conflict, so they had to settle for Jessie? And where is Jessie’s doctorate from, anyway? Inquiring minds want to know.
What do I mean by saying that Grover and Jessie’s description of marriage fails the universality test? Well, a couple might be legally married but decline to hug and kiss. Or they might be legally married but not live together or see each other every day. A couple might be married without being friends, or even without trying to help each other.
I can think of similar errors that I’ve heard in other people’s descriptions of marriage. For instance, a marriage doesn’t have to have love to be, legally, a marriage. It doesn’t have to have children, or even the possibility of children, to be legally marriage. Not all legal marriages are heterosexual. Not all legal marriages are exclusive. Not all legal marriages include sex.
So what can we say that is universally true of all legally recognized marriages — or, at least, of 99.9999999% of them?
I think the only thing we can say is this: Other than adoption, marriage is the only way two unrelated or distantly-related people can legally become each other’s closest kin.
Someone should tell Grover.