history of family or … marriage equality

Most Western legislations have reached the stage where they need to progress their laws to cater for new family structures and arrangements. Somewhat surprisingly same sex marriage seems to be an emotional issue in most countries.

I am sure you’ve “had enough” of the discussion and political drama. Someone who I dearly respect, put a strange post on social media, and I feel the need for perspective. My hope is to be funny yet serious enough and for my ramblings to be somewhat helpful.

1/ Bit of history

The thing that most people forget being caught up in their emotions is that the family structure has always evolved.

A family is defined as a kinship group. In the pre-historic days of the hunter-gatherers, a family was pretty much the tribe, females & males were relatively equal – oh and they were living paleo, too.
With the agricultural revolution came the gender specific roles, men where starting to take patriarchy, polygamy was the norm. With the Romans the concubine was introduced.

In some cultures marriages are arranged by the families, and I’ll say there is a fine line to that, in some cases the peer groups are so small leaving limited options, which I would almost call “semi-arranged”. (Rumour has it that Iceland is desperately trying to enlarge its genetic pool by getting foreigners into the country.) This puts Tinder, Grindr & co. not in such a bad light, does it?
The household structure changed from the extended family to the nuclear family, which is mother, father and children. The nuclear family has only been common since the 19th century.
On a site note, women’s suffrage is pretty recent too, in Switzerland (the only true participatory democracy) women’s suffrage only completely ended in 1971.

(And I am just badly paraphrasing Google here… I wasn’t around at the time to conduct empirical studies.)

Next thing you know, divorces got introduced, then they got too expensive and the “patchwork family” became the new black where anything goes. The concept is a loose arrangement of the nuclear family where genetic / blood relationships are less important.
Now to freak you out, one of my great uncle and his son married two (adopted) step sisters after the uncle’s first wife passed away. So one of them became the mother-in-law to her sister. Totally legal and no incest involved either… a bit freaky but.

Revenons à nos moutons, marriage equality is about getting same sex partners into the (patchwork) family game and getting them some white picked fences.

2/ Homosexuality (and my theory of 8 genders)

Obviously that requires homosexuality, which is the attraction to the same sex. This is quite common in mammals (in particular sea mammals) and birds, not as much in humans. The recognition of homosexuality is a whole different story. Let’s assume, that most parts of most Western countries are moving away from being homo-phobic, which is the fear of people that are same-sex oriented. Which to me is odd, how can you be afraid of something that you haven’t experienced (and that is not really threatening) – and there are many things all of us haven’t experienced.

I have this theory of 8 genders. It is completely unfounded, not based on any research or studies. It purely exists in my head to simplify things… and it might either help you … and / or make you laugh (all of which is a good thing, so I feel like sharing).

The sex or gender is defined by the XY-chromosomes. By default all humans are female (XX) and, simplified, if one X gets replaced with a Y, you buy everything in blue. (Note: 2 genders)

Then comes the development of the sexual orientation which they say happens in the 2nd trimester of pregnancy based on the production of hormones, in particular testosterone. You have an XX with over-release of testosterone you will have a female homosexual, the under-release of testosterone on XY will have a homosexual male. Now there is a raft of discussions as to the release of hormones during pregnancy… and I am not getting involved. (Note: 2 genders x 2 sexual orientations = 4)

Lastly, there is puberty. Let’s blame it again on the hormones… we end up either tough (butch / masculine) or soft (tender / feminine). I am trying to hide the fact that I am a softy behind a beard… and it’s working much better than it should! You will find the soft guys in IT and / or accounting, the tough blokes drive utes – and we are not generalising here at all. (Note: 2 genders x 2 sexual orientations x 2 “puberty” = 8 Q.E.D. 😉)


3/ Religion

Religion for me is about faith, spirituality, charity and kindness rather than cultural or institutional.

Further I don’t think many churches should get involved or provide advice as to family structure. Particularly not the Catholic Church given their representatives are not living in a family structure, let alone a partnership with another human.

As far as the sacred texts in the Bible and the Quran goes. They do have their time and their place and there is a lot to learn.
They have been written “in the day” and living by them literally as far as I know is not very smart phone compatible. Generally I think they aim at teaching value, appreciation and kindness.


In my humble opinion this change is a natural evolution of social and cultural structure and has been coming for some time. Some cultures and legislations adapt earlier, some will adapt later – and we already know the candidates (Scandinavia will beat Anglo-Saxony to it).

Personally I don’t blame anybody for wanting to hold on to the “perfect family picture” (think white picked fence) given the pace the world is currently changing at. MLC’s “Life unchanging” campaign is a perfect example… (complacency being the foundation for a campaign, there is a first in life for everything).

Having said that, discrimination might be an easy target, but I doubt it will be the answer. (On that note, I don’t think populist policies will be either.)

One final thing. I get that everybody is annoyed with politicians in pretty much any country where they make a big fuss about it. In my native Germany marriage equality has been openly used for political strategies for coalition building in an election that hasn’t even happened – and embarrassingly enough they got the dates wrong and ended up having the conscience vote before the election. Ooops
Australia being my country of residence is currently organising a plebiscite, wait no, a postal survey, that might or might not be used for the political parties to decide whether or not they might or might not allow their members of parliament a conscience vote on marriage equality. What a bunch of idiots! – Seriously, if you’re not frustrated, I don’t think you’re normal.
I reckon Merkel actually got lucky to save herself the drama. Australia could end up with its own version of Brexit style embarrassment. It will come anyway, Australia could be later than Russia to adapt (and see how I just implied Australia wants to be more developed and “modern” than Russia).

What do we learn from this?
Simple, when you AirBnb, by all means stay at a place owned by a gay couple. It will be the cleanest and neatest you have ever stayed at!


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