Sunday, June 26, 2011

The classroom of the future

A Sociology class 80 years from now...

  “Today we will continue our discussion of the evolution of marriage in the United States in the 21st century. As you may recall, we left off the last class at the year 2011, when marriage was still considered by some to the province of a man and a woman, but many states had endorsed the idea of any 2 humans being able to be legally married. Who would like to continue the discussion? Yes, Barry, go ahead.”

  “Shortly after marriage between any two humans and civil unions became accepted, the Multi-Partner Marriage Alliance was formed with funding from the Mormons. The MPMA decried the idea of marriage as an institution between 2 people as an old-fashioned idea ignorant of the new realities of the 21st century. Doctors and scientists proved that the desire to be married to more than one partner at a time was genetic and not learned. Naturalists found many examples in nature of group mating as further proof that MPM was a natural occurrence and not a lifestyle choice. Group marriages were sanctioned by new churches and the North Dakota Supreme Court ruled in a landmark case that laws against multiple partner marriages were a civil rights violation and that MPMs were to be legal. Groups from all over the United States flocked to North Dakota to get married and in order to get in on the group marriage boom, the other 49 states quickly legalized MPMs.”

  “Well done. Now who can tell me what changes to marriage came about after the legalization of MPM’s? Jennifer?”

  “In the Mid 21st Century, Jeb Olson, a farmer from Nebraska, sued the state for the right to marry his cow, Maribel. He was scoffed at and accused of concocting a scheme to get his cow onto his health care plan, since Maribel was sick and needed a heart transplant. Olsen lost his lawsuit and then Maribel died and Olson took his own life the next day. Within the next 2 months over 20,000 farming families from the Midwest sued for the right to marry their cows and bulls. They formed the Human-Bovine Defense League and part of their trademark was to commit suicide if their cow or bull passed away before they could be married. The HBDL was met with opposition from the religious right, the LGBT community, and the MPMA, who successfully lobbied Congress to pass the 2062 Defense of Marriage Act, which stated that marriage was an institution between humans only. The HBDL were undeterred and continued to sue and protest for the right to marry their cows. The protests were met by counter protests which were sometimes very violent, culminating in the slaughter of 6 men, 3 women, and 9 cows at a Jacksonville, Wyoming HBDL meeting. An Academy Award winning movie depicting the massacre “For the Love of a Cow” was produced and elicited the sympathy of people all over the world. In 2068, the European Union passed a law recognizing the marriage of humans and cows. In the United States, the HDBL was joined by groups of people who wished to wed their dogs, cats, ferrets, etc. Their efforts led to the passage of the Mammalian Marriage Act, which defined the right to marriage between any group consisting of at least one human to any other number of humans and mammals. This put the America in the lead of the human-animal marriage movement.”

  “That’s good Jennifer, but I think any discussion of the HBDL must include the military’s refusal to allow the service of anyone involved in a human-mammal marriage until forced to by the Supreme Court. But that’s a topic for another day. Who can bring us up to the present time? Yes, Qanat, please continue.”

  “Last year, the Maryland Legislature passed a law allowing the marriage of humans to their state reptile, the Terrapin and all other turtles. This has sparked an outrage of the proponents of traditional marriages, who believe the sacred institution of marriage was designed for humans and mammals and that a turtle is not capable of professing love for a human. The law is currently being reviewed and no human-terrapin marriages are being allowed except for the 23 that were performed before the injunction.”

  “That’s correct, Qanat. Let’s see a show of hands. Who is in favor of human-turtle marriages? Who is against? Well, we seem to be fairly evenly split on the issue. Amy, why are you in favor of human-turtle marriages?”

  “People used to think the sun revolved around the earth, smoking was good for you, and that marriage was only for a man and a woman. Now the same people who said the earth is flat say you can’t marry a turtle. Why shouldn’t we be able to marry a turtle if we want to? It’s a basic human right.”

  “A compelling argument, Amy. Jan, why are you against human-turtle marriages?”

  “I think that marriage is something sacred designed for humans and other mammals and allowing humans to marry turtles would destroy the institution of marriage. And if we let humans marry turtles, what’s next? Spiders?”

  “Any response, Amy?”

  “Jan, your mother is married to 2 goats along with 2 other humans. Don’t you think other people should have the same right to marry a turtle that your mother did in marrying 2 goats?”


  “We'll continue this discussion next time. Class dismissed.”