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By now, you've heard about the suggestion of U.S. Senator Marco Rubio ("Tea Party"/FL) that marriage is the best and most cost-efficient preemptive to poverty.

Unfortunately, what he doesn't want you knowing (at least to Your Correspondent) is that he's a fan of the old "shotgun" approach to marriage, howbeit forced or coerced (and we've yet to see a case on Divorce Court involving such a potentially unhappy scenario excused as being one with "cultural heritage" in certain less-enlightened circles of "poor whiteism" that conservative prolefeeders insist is the "REAL AmeriKKKa").

Or, for that matter, the old Scots-model "marriage by proclamation" as made the village of Gretna Green (just inside the Scots border from England, know) notorious and infamous thanks to Lord Hardwicke's Marriage Act 1754 (applicable only to England and Wales, know) requiring that both partners in a marriage be at least 21 unless parental consent was secured beforehand, and that same be solemnised in a church setting; by contrast, under Scots law, you can be as young as 16 to marry, and the "ceremony" (or what passed for it) could be as simple as a "handfasting" (where both partners join hands) before whoever was willing to preside over the proceedings (as long as there were at least two witnesses to same).

And more often than not, it was the Old Blacksmith's Shop that was the wedding venue of choice, with the local blacksmith willing to perform the Rite of Marriage at any hour (especially important because of Gretna Green's being situated at the junction of five coach roads connecting London to, among other places of importance, Edinburgh and Glasgow--not to mention being the first settlement of consequence coming out of England into Scotia), with the blacksmith's hammer ringing over the Auld Anvil announcing to all in the vicinity that another Gretna Green wedding had been carried out. (Never mind that the disapproving parents of one or the other, in hot pursuit all the while in England, would be caught off their guard when they heard the news.) As the Gretna Green website explains the significance of the blacksmith's anvil (which is on display at a museum inside the Old Blacksmith's Shop) in marriages thus solemnised, "
romantically it is said that like the metals he forged, the Blacksmith would join couples together in the heat of the moment but bind them for eternity."

Of course, it wasn't quite necessary to go to the Old Blacksmith's Shop if you wanted marriage, Gretna Green-stylee: Under Scots law, anyone of legal age could solemnise a marriage, so long as the partners to the act were at least 16 and you had at least two witnesses; hence, it was theoretically possible to solemnise Scots weddings in such venues as pub rooms, hotel lobbies, livery stables--in short, practically anywhere. But the Old Blacksmith's Shop figured prominently out of convenience more than anything.

Until 1940, when an amendment to the Marriage Act applying to Scotland outlawed "marriage by proclamation," requiring marriages be solemnised only in a chruch or registry office, while still keeping the mininum age at 16. (After 1856, one of the partners to a potential marriage had to stay at least 21 days in Scotland prior to the solemnisation thereof, which was repealed in 1977--at which time, concurrently, the Anglo-Welsh age of consent to marriage was lowered from 21 to 18.) In 2002, a major relaxation of Scots wedding laws allowed civil ceremonies to be performed in licenced venues, giving Gretna Green renewed attention for would-be couples (extended to same-sex such in 2005, when Scotland allowed civil unions).

Still, though, the Scots seem to have had it more lenient when it came to marriage: Despite church objections to simple handfasting as one with declaring marriage as early as 1563, there was an annual Lammas fair at Langholm, a few miles northeast of Gretna Green, where, until the mid-18th century, couples could enter into one-year trial marriages to see if they were the right match for each other--but (again, via the Gretna Green website) not without potentially damaging issues:
Although in most cases some sort of certificate or 'marriage line' was given, there was no need for any written record to be kept and this haphazard state of affairs led to considerable legal difficulties.

Most of these unions were genuine love matches but the looseness of the system encouraged abuse by a growing proportion of fortune-hunters and bigamists, while the corrupt and greedy parsons could easily be bribed to forge documents, change dates or perjure themselves when cases came to law.

The aristocracy and gentry were particularly disturbed by this hopeless legal tangle because it often affected the inheritance of their property. They were especially worried by the ease with which penniless adventurers could entice and seduce their daughters and heiresses and irrevocably marry them, without parental knowledge or consent, at any place or at any hour of the day or night!
(Lammas, in case you're wondering, is a traditional Scots harvest festival usually held in mid-August; the term itself is a corruption of "Loaf Mass," in that such involved as an offering loaves of bread whose flour came from the first cutting of grains thus harvested. Think of it in the same vein as the root meaning of Kwanzaa, itself Swahili for "first fruits.")

Is this what Senator Rubio has in mind with his Grand Delusion of using potentially coerced marriage as a preemptive to poverty, never mind its potential byproducts of fecundity and ignorance in the long run?

"Another small house is finished in the next block"
(to Engrishfy the closing remarks on every episode of
Vic and Sade through the years)


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