How Things Change

Fifty years ago television would not show a married couple in the same bed (in the US).  The occasional scene in Rob & Laura Petry’s bedroom clearly displayed twin beds with a comfortable space between them.  Even Lucy & Desi, who were married in real life, had separate beds on the set.  The families depicted in those days on television mostly showed mom, dad, and children (I.e. Leave It To Beaver; Father Knows Best; Lassie; The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet).  Even The Munsters and The Addams Family had a traditional structure, though it may include some extended family.

For a long time (and still in some countries), women were not allowed to vote. While the right to vote regardless of race was ratified in the US in1870, five years after the end of the civil war, it was nearly 100 years later that the civil rights movement took place and the US culture finally began to realize the impropriety of racial slurs.  Yet even in this growing cultural revolution acknowledging the individual separate from their race, creed or gender, the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) became law. The supreme court realized the folly of a law so discriminatory and repealed it. Our Federal government will now have to recognize legal agency in relationships beyond a man and a woman in matrimony. It’s a two edged sword because besides granting legal rights long afforded a married couple, our government can now be expected to enforce responsibility of each person in the relationship for the other, and to no longer turn a blind eye to this relationship where laws preventing related party transactions are concerned. As the old saying goes, “Be careful what you wish for”. 

So now when a scene from Modern Family shows Mitch and Cameron waking up together in bed, remember a couple of things:  1) these cultural adjustments have come very hard for some people and so you need to have patience with them.  Helping them see the real people involved and how they care for each other the same as in a “traditional” relationship will go a long way toward building acceptance.   2) government recognition of a union brings new responsibilities and disclosures. You can’t have your cake and eat it, too.

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