Enter freely and willingly.
(Courtesy of weddingtv.com)
A recent post in Facebook got me to thinking about life choices.
In a "status update" of a page I "liked", the moderator opened the topic of the opposition to same-sex marriage, with the common objection being that "you can't reproduce!" and because the page had an admittedly liberal slant, the reactions of everyone were more or less the same: not having children, whether by circumstance or choice, is not an acceptable reason to deny people marriage.
I am sure that those with a conservative bent have the completely opposite view: isn't that the reason why the DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act) was instituted? That the reason why marriage is supposed to be "only" between a man and a woman is because the supposed end goal of the union is to produce offspring.
The subject of children is a particularly touchy one in a country like ours, where we see ourselves as pro-family, pro-child and matriarchal. Our entire culture is such that when young adults reach a certain age - if you've managed to escape having a teenage pregnancy - everything around us seems to conspire and pressure one message: hindi ka na bata, magpakasal ka na para magkaroon ka na ng anak. (You're not getting any younger, get hitched and make babies already!)
We have conflated and confused the terms marriage and parenthood.
The uncomfortable truth is, one can exist without the other. A marriage does not have to produce children. And you do not have to be married in order to bask and cringe, simultaneously, at the experience of parenthood.
I've always held marriage to be a legal contract, probably in opposition to what most people "dream" of it to be. An understanding to cohabit, make a home, be with each other, for purposes of getting legal benefits and protections. Which gives rise to yet another uncomfortable truth.
Having children is optional.
I've heard the arguments that try to shame this state in marriages: "you're afraid of responsibility"; "who will take care of you when you grow old?"; "how can you be so selfish?" and the proverbial mainstay, "do not go against the natural order, what God wants!"
After years of hearing these kinds of "arguments", it might be helpful for the next person to ever bring them up to remember that:
(1) I am responsible for my life, you for yours.
(2) We should take care of ourselves, period.
(3) Having children when you don't want them is selfish, just to satisfy some cultural expectation, or to have a "caretaker" is the real selfish thing.
(4) Your religion is your choice. Mind your own beeswax.
We certainly have a propensity to makialam. (get into someone's business) That goes for both the personal (parents asking when the baby is due) or the political (religious leaders telling our President what to do). If we are truly supposed to make our own choices in our own lives, then it is time that we draw a line in the sand, cut the umbilical cord, however that is manifested, and stand by our own decisions.
No one said that independence was easy. But it is worth it.