Re: "Spouses", "marriage", and change

Lief M. Hendrickson (hendrick@NOSC.MIL)
Wed, 20 Dec 1995 16:54:40 PST

On Dec 20, Mike Salovesh wrote:

>I don't think we're going to get very far by saying "by definition,
>spouses are this and are not that". By whose definition? Who chipped
>that definition into stone and bound the governments of the English-
>speaking nations to recognize it above all other definitions?

One answer to "whose definition?" is the statutes of civil code (i.e.
our laws). They are not "chipped in stone" and can be changed by
legislative action.

The side-track discussion of what is meant by spouses has been what is
traditionally meant by spouses in our society. "Spouse" in another
society may have a different connotation. For example, where laws
allow polygamy, a man may have several spouses. Here that would be
bigamy. That's a statement of fact, not a value assessment of the
different lifestyles.