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Marriage Equality - 19th Century

Marriage Equality - 19th Century

Is this really where the definition of marriage is "frozen"?Under the old English system of coverture, a woman’s independent legal personality was suspended during marriage and was subsumed by that of her husband, such that she did not have the legal capacity to enter a contract, sue in tort, own personal property, receive wages, carry on a business, or manage her real property or receive rents and profits therefrom. The old common law doctrine of marital unity also precluded married women from suing their husbands and effectively gave married men immunity from prosecution for violent crimes committed against their wives.

At one time, prior to the 19th century, the typical marriage was essentially an economic partnership, in which husband and wife worked together in interlocking work-roles in a joint enterprise, with well-defined jobs for the male and female partner. With the advent of industrialization in the 19th century, men began to engage in waged work outside the home, taking on the role of “breadwinner”; wives became “homemakers”, labouring without wages within the confines of the home and economically dependent on their husbands. These gender roles, although referred to as “natural” by those who sought to preserve this particular configuration of marriage, were in fact short-lived.

(Information Provided by EGALE Canada)

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