Lucy Stone - Marriage Protest

Marriage Protest

In late 1854, Stone agreed to marry Blackwell. The two set the date for May 1, 1855, and Stone began again to book lectures, including an appearance in Toronto before the Parliament of Canada in support of a proposed married woman's property law. In the months leading up to their wedding, Blackwell wrote a letter to Stone saying "I want to make a protest, distinct and emphatic, against the laws of marriage. I wish, as a husband, to renounce all the privileges which the law confers on me, which are not strictly mutual, and I intend to do so." Inspired by prior wedding statements made by John Stuart Mill and Harriet Taylor Mill in 1851, and by Theodore Dwight Weld and Angelina Grimké in 1838, the two wrote up a tract they called "Marriage Protest" and printed a number of copies to hand out at their wedding. To begin the ceremony, they stood up together and read the Protest, after which the usual marriage service (less the word "obey") was officiated by Reverend Thomas Wentworth Higginson, who approved with "hearty concurrence". In part, the Protest read:

...We protest especially against the laws which give to the husband:

1. The custody of the wife's person.

2. The exclusive control and guardianship of their children...

Higginson wrote a description of the ceremony and forwarded a copy of the Marriage Protest to the Worcester Spy which ran the piece. William Lloyd Garrison's paper The Liberator reprinted the item, adding "We are very sorry (as will be a host of others) to lose Lucy Stone, and certainly no less glad to gain Lucy Blackwell." Newspapers across the country picked up the story and published the full text of the Marriage Protest. Many poked fun at the union; the New Orleans Daily Delta toyed with the likely failure of the new couple to find a willing third party to act as arbitrator when the two equals quarreled.

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Famous quotes containing the words protest and/or marriage:

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