A reader writes:
The university teacher writing about young couples getting married solely to have sex offers a perfect example of how, over time, a practical religious requirement can morph into fundamentalist law. In societies without reliable birth control, for example, the religious requirement that sex should only take place within marriage helped ensure that children could be brought up within the security of a recognized social unit, the family. People still had sex outside of marriage of course, and children have always been born out of wedlock, but the taboo at least helped to curb the practice.
But in an age where the danger of children born out of wedlock has been greatly diminished by advancements in birth control, the idea that marriage in and of itself is a vehicle for sex is outmoded. To demand kids not to have sex before getting married, while refusing to educate them on birth control and safe sex, leads to the very problems the original religious tenet tried to prevent: unwanted pregnancies and parent-less children.