Getting Married eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 213 pages of information about Getting Married.
without legal remedy.  At all such points the code will be screwed up by the operation of Votes for Women, if there be any virtue in the franchise at all.  The result will be that men will find the more ascetic side of our sexual morality taken seriously by the law.  It is easy to foresee the consequences.  No man will take much trouble to alter laws which he can evade, or which are either not enforced or enforced on women only.  But when these laws take him by the collar and thrust him into prison, he suddenly becomes keenly critical of them, and of the arguments by which they are supported.  Now we have seen that our marriage laws will not stand criticism, and that they have held out so far only because they are so worked as to fit roughly our state of society, in which women are neither politically nor personally free, in which indeed women are called womanly only when they regard themselves as existing solely for the use of men.  When Liberalism enfranchises them politically, and Socialism emancipates them economically, they will no longer allow the law to take immorality so easily.  Both men and women will be forced to behave morally in sex matters; and when they find that this is inevitable they will raise the question of what behavior really should be established as moral.  If they decide in favor of our present professed morality they will have to make a revolutionary change in their habits by becoming in fact what they only pretend to be at present.  If, on the other hand, they find that this would be an unbearable tyranny, without even the excuse of justice or sound eugenics, they will reconsider their morality and remodel the law.


Monogamy has a sentimental basis which is quite distinct from the political one of equal numbers of the sexes.  Equal numbers in the sexes are quite compatible with a change of partners every day or every hour Physically there is nothing to distinguish human society from the farm-yard except that children are more troublesome and costly than chickens and calves, and that men and women are not so completely enslaved as farm stock.  Accordingly, the people whose conception of marriage is a farm-yard or slave-quarter conception are always more or less in a panic lest the slightest relaxation of the marriage laws should utterly demoralize society; whilst those to whom marriage is a matter of more highly evolved sentiments and needs (sometimes said to be distinctively human, though birds and animals in a state of freedom evince them quite as touchingly as we) are much more liberal, knowing as they do that monogamy will take care of itself provided the parties are free enough, and that promiscuity is a product of slavery and not of liberty.

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Getting Married from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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