It’s pretty safe to say that gay marriage is getting more presidential candidate support now than in any other time in our nation’s history. There’s former Alaska Sen. Mike Gravel, Ohio Rep. Dennis Kucinich…okay, there’s two. You can’t accuse Kucinich of just playing to his vegan base to get the nomination. This time, he’s branching out.
I’ll be the first to admit that marriage isn’t for everyone, whether they’re gay or straight. And I’m not alone in that feeling. According to recent data released from the Census Bureau, there are now more unmarried households than married in the US.
Just last week, in the feverish debate over same-sex nuptials, the San Diego city council passed a measure in support of gay marriage. The mayor had promised to veto. Then in a stunning development announced that he would support the decision. No matter what city this has happened in – it gets dander flying and San Diego has proved to be no different.
However, despite all the overturning and the protesting with the hope of ‘saving’ marriage, the institution itself has quietly slipped away. The majority of Americans are now not getting hitched.
So people who WANT to get married – can’t and people who CAN get married – won’t. It’s like how rich people who have everything are thin and poor people who have nothing are fat. Or how the Axis of Evil has more countries than the Coalition of the Willing – its just one of those weird things in modern American life.
So why aren’t people getting married these days? I think it boils down to one simple reason: cost.
According to a survey done by the Fairchild Bridal Group, the average American wedding costs $30,000. On the other hand, according to the US Census Bureau the median American household income is only $44,389.
And if anyone thinks, ”Well, it doesn’t HAVE to cost that much.” – you might as well be talking about the surface of Mars, because you haven’t been there! I wasn’t into conspiracy theories until I was a bride. Then I experienced one firsthand. As soon as you mention you are getting married – blood is in the water and the sharks come to feed.
The hook propagated by those who work in the bridal industry (note that they don’t call it ‘the groom industry’) is that if your mate isn’t able to take out a second mortgage for the cake, then maybe you’re not marrying the right person. “If your fiancé can’t afford a decent wedding, what’s the marriage going to be like?”
What will it be like? Wracked with debt. Overextended on APR. Monthly installed financial serfdom. Foreclosure! Isn’t it romantic?
When I said that I didn’t want to spend a lot of money on something, whether it was my dress – the invites – or the minister – I was treated like I just walked onto a dealership and said that I want to buy a car with no tires. “You can’t just cheap out on the MOST IMPORTANT part,” they would chime.
For the record: I married for looks because I deeply believe marrying for money is shallow.
It’s the wedding industrial complex that has made marriage into the Spruce Goose. The bird is just too heavy to fly for most Americans.
The idea of spending 30K with no chance of a return investment and no low-end sailboat to show for it – is deterring. Instead of the idea that being married is a way to improve one’s income and lifestyle (there is data to that effect), now it’s the idea that you need to have money in order to deserve to get married.
If the American Dream is to come from nothing and make something of yourself, then the American Fantasy is that some undeserved windfall will make you rich. No one wants an entire industry to look at them as poor or cheap. The pressure is intense. People are putting off marriage until that ‘some day’ comes and they can afford a wedding.
A law recognizing same-sex spouses won’t destroy marriage. But grandiosity will.