Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Should prostitution be legal? (Starting a conversation)

This is the monologue for the most recent episode of Why? Radio: "Should Prostitution Be Legal?" with guest Peter De Marneffe.
Click here to listen to the episode.

When my wife and I got married, we signed a Ketubah, a Jewish wedding contract. It is a beautiful piece of art and we proudly display it framed in our living room. It has the same text in both English and Hebrew, and it is signed by two witnesses. The Ketubah is obviously very meaningful to us.

Yet, at the same time, it feels odd to me to describe a marriage in terms of a contract. A wedding is not a quid pro quo; we are not agreeing to exchange goods and services. Yes, of course, this was once the case; marriage is built on a long tradition of consolidating power and wealth. And even now, there are significant economic consequences to getting married. My wife and I hold joint property. There is a specific order of inheritance. We share debt. But these have become secondary reasons for getting married. The primary ones are that we love and are devoted to each other, that we are want to build a life together and create a family, we are committed to raising a child and adding to a community that is larger than us.