Stacy McCain has assiduously covered “the other side” of the Courtney Stodden-Doug Hutchinson nuptials, in which Courtney’s mother, Krista, gave permission for her 16-year-old daughter to marry 51-year-old Hutchinson.
Now, Da TechGuy blog is a Catholic blog, so I’ll start with the reasons why Catholics might oppose such a union: marriages wherein the woman is under 18 when she weds are the most likely to end up in divorce. Although Hutchinson and Stoddard were wed in a church, or with the consent of their pastor, they only dated for a very short time (perhaps four months?) before getting married. Catholics usually require at least six months, which is designed to prevent rash decisions (or, hypothetically, a 16-year-old with a crush on an older man from making a decision that affects her for the rest of her life). Furthermore, pre-Cana classes cover everything from finances, intimacy, Natural Family Planning, discussions with a priest, the sacrament of marriage, and the mentorship of a married couple.
For those who take marriage seriously, and believe that marriage is a life-long commitment and a union that no man may put asunder; for those whose religion prohibits re-marriage after divorce (unless the marriage was invalid to begin with); for those who believe that strong families are the bedrock of a free society, such a union is problematic. The age difference is but a small part of this: it’s the likelihood of divorce, the (apparent) lack of pre-marital preparation (so necessary for helping couples to think through the reality of day-to-day wedded life that they may otherwise not consider), and the idea that love would survive waiting for Courtney to grow up a bit.
Moreover, as a conservative feminist, I abhor the exploitation of women. Like almost all of my ilk, I view prostitution and pornography as exploitative, not good. The voluntariness of the action does not negate the fact that it can be abusive. I know that most young girls who have sex are not doing it as an “empowered” act, but are losing their virginity to older men who push them into this. Like many girls, I’ve been pursued by older men, and, as I discussed with Stacy yesterday, saw over and over how genuinely good men who were attracted to my then-young self held back (or, upon finding my age, stopped pursuit immediately), while the scary ones acted as if they were entitled to me. Men who want what is best for the very young women to whom they are attracted wait for them, romantically and sexually.
That is my opposition to this union, and, while we can’t do anything to rewind time and stop it from happening, we can ensure that any other sixteen year olds who crush on older men do not make such a rash decision. By “we,” I mean sane-minded people, and often conservatives who care about the integrity of marriage and the family.
But what I can’t understand is why any liberal would care about this union. These are the people who think that a 16-year-old should be able to access the Pill, condoms, Plan B, and abortions for free, without her parents’ knowledge nor permission. They think that elementary-school children should have sex ed. They think that “marriage is just a piece of paper.” These are the same people who refer to prostitution as “sex work,” believing that there is nothing exploitative about sexual activity so long as it is consensual. Any age, any situation, any length of time the people have known each other – it’s all good, so long as she says “Yes.” They don’t think that “feminist porn” is an oxymoron.
So why do liberals care if Courtney Stodden gets married? It’s not that she’ll be having sex, not that they think it’s a sacrament, nor a life-long commitment, nor anything but a social institution with government largesse attached. So what is your problem, liberals? Bristol Palin got the same treatment – apparently, the only bad sexual decision-making that teenagers can engage in is to do it within the confines of matrimony, or ensure that your children grow up with a mommy and a daddy. Explain that insanity, please.
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