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'Companionate' advocates: Our forebears in 'attacking traditional marriage'

by Jeremy Hooper

Now it's marriage equality for same-sex couples. But back in the late 20's, it was another concept that was threatening to rock "traditional marriage" from its moorings. Or so its critics would have you believe.

The subject was "companionate marriage," which essentially dealt the right of couples to live in equal marital partnerships without children, with legalized birth control, and with the ability to dissolve the union by mutual consent (and without financial obligations to one another) if the marriage failed. Check out this seventy-one-year-old news article and marvel at the similarities between the way this supposedly "radical" idea was attacked then, and the way our supposedly "radical" couplings are attacked now:

Oakland Tribune, June 10, 1928



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Your thoughts

Just one small correction: it's 81, not 71 years old.

Posted by: Mike | Nov 17, 2009 7:21:36 PM


Posted by: John Ozed | Nov 17, 2009 8:02:27 PM

The issue goes a lot further back. When Julia McNair Wright published her household encyclopedia in the late 1870's, one of the three young family narratives she used to pull her hundreds of pages together featured a young woman who was raised to make up her own mind by a well off but widowed father (who for some reason did not remarry). The marriage she got was emphatically a matter of mutual consent. The other two were more traditional, but not unaware of issues of consent. Mrs. Wright was fairly conventional, but not ignorant about it. Her massive publishing history may be compared to that of more radical feminists like Louisa May Alcott. They both thought it a crime to keep girls ignorant, if only because men did sometimes die.

Posted by: Jonathan | Nov 18, 2009 2:04:16 PM

BRAVO!!!!!!!!!!!!!! G-A-Y where did you EVER happen upon this news-clipping?!?!?!?!

Take THAT and choke on it, Mags!!!

Posted by: Wade | Nov 18, 2009 3:15:20 PM

I think today we call that shacking up. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Posted by: Bill Ware | Nov 18, 2009 4:18:20 PM

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