I am involved in a discussion about a post at an atheist forum that claimed that gay marriage would smash the patriarchy. Uhm, I don’t think so. I am finding it difficult to articulate exactly why. I think that marriage can’t smash the patriarchy has a lot to do with marriage’s history, which is purely patriarchal. And certainly the hierarchy that is created amongst relationships with marriage at the top (and thus heavily rewarded) has something to do with it. Marriage is clearly valued more than other relationship. Which leads to the question: why? What makes marriage better than other relationships? Somehow I am drawing a blank here! I suspect it has a lot to do with the ability of controlling procreation: When people are married it is (usually) fairly easy to know who the father of the children is. It gives the state (and the church/synagogue/mosque) a great way to regulate both sex and child rearing. So, it is highly valuable from the perspective of the regulators but why would individuals value it more highly than other forms of relating? The only answer I can come up with is circular: Marriage is valued more because marriage is the highest form of relating. Am I missing something? If so, what?