Marriage Rights and Responsibilities, Marysa and David Sacerdote, laser cut watercolor painting on paper, 40 x 23 inches ©2018

Marriage Rights and Responsibilities, Marysa and David Sacerdote, laser cut watercolor painting on paper, 40 x 23 inches ©2018

The Rights and Responsibilities of Marriage

Marriage has been evolving from the beginning of its establishment. In Colonial America marriage was mainly a matter of property and reproduction. “When a colonial woman married, she gave up any legal right as an individual. She was legally bound to obey her husband, just as she would obey God.”[PBS.org]. Most people in present day American would not define “traditional marriage” as a contract over property. Rather, romantic love and eternal commitment is largely seen as the rational for marriage. As I endeavored to include what people uphold as sacred in “traditional marriage” for my Equality of Love project I struggled to find one cohesive, long standing believe system that defined what traditional marriage might be. Ultimately, this led me to include The Rights and Responsibilities of Marriage as the third part of my project. The Rights and Responsibilities of Marriage is a list from 1997 of 1,138 statutory provisions determining benefits, rights, and privileges of marriage from the United States Government Accountability Office (GAO). It was originallly comprised upon request from the defense in the U.S. Supreme Court case United States vs. Windsor, the case that ended DOMA (the Defense of Marriage Act, which stated marriage was only to be between a man and a woman). This list removes any preconceived and/or subjective ideas about what traditional marriage may be and replaces it with factual legal document that explains how marriage is literality defined in America. The painting I created to represent longstanding marriage traditions in America has this document lasercut into an image of a heterosexual couple married in America in 2017.