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  • Institution of Marriage Defended Throughout the Nation

    The institution of marriage has seen better days in America. The question now is how Americans will think about, shape, and participate in marriage going forward. Will Americans seek to strengthen marriage, including through laws and policies that promote the public goods of responsible childbearing and the faithfulness of husbands and wives to each other and their dependent children? Or, will Americans reject the traditional understanding of marriage and replace it with mere government recognition of whatever private arrangements two or more people wish to make?

    Throughout history, and in the law of most jurisdictions in America still today, marriage has been understood as a natural institution involving the unique unions of men and women. Legal regulations and social norms concerning entry into and exit from marriage and the incidents and effects of marriage might have changed through time. However, until quite recently, “it was an accepted truth for almost everyone who ever lived, in any society in which marriage existed, that there could be marriages only between participants of different sex.” After all, only unions between individuals of different sexes can naturally produce children and, “but for children, there would be no need of any institution concerned with sex.”

    Today, however, the debate about marriage includes not only whether and how to strengthen marriage but also, more fundamentally, what marriage is. In recent weeks, for example:

    • Federal judges in California have ruled against two laws, one state and one federal, that defined marriage as a man and a woman.
    • Legislation passed in Washington and Maryland that redefines marriage in those states, and a ballot measure in November would do the same in Maine.

    In other jurisdictions, however, Americans are taking steps to defend, protect, and strengthen marriage—in the process debunking the myth that redefining marriage is somehow a foregone inevitability. For example:

    • After New Jersey lawmakers passed marriage redefinition legislation in February, Governor Chris Christie (R) vetoed it, arguing that the people of the state should decide the issue for themselves.
    • Republican lawmakers who supported same-sex marriage in New York are now facing a political accounting.
    • Pro-marriage groups in Washington and Maryland have announced initiative/referendum challenges to the same-sex marriage laws recently passed in those states.
    • Attorneys defending Proposition 8, the California marriage amendment, have asked a larger panel of judges to review the same-sex marriage decision issued earlier this year by a three-judge panel of the same court.
    • When President Obama and his Department of Justice stopped defending the constitutionality of the federal Defense of Marriage Act, the U.S. House of Representatives, acting through the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group and under the leadership of Speaker John Boehner (R–OH), stepped up to the plate. Lawyers representing the House have appealed a federal court decision that ruled against the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in February.
    • In New Hampshire, proposed legislation would repeal a same-sex marriage law previously enacted in the state.
    • Ballot measures in North Carolina (May) and Minnesota (November) would amend the constitutions in those states to protect marriage as one man and one woman.

    As the debate about marriage continues, increasing numbers of Americans will be forced to confront and decide fundamental issues of law, morality, and culture. On the one side of this debate is the view that marriage as one man and one woman is a form of institutionalized bigotry no better than racism. In this view, it is unjust for the state not to bless same-sex unions with both the benefits and label of “marriage.” Private institutions and individuals who object to facilitating or expressing moral support for same-sex marriage could face potential civil liability and discrimination in access to government benefits. Too often, those who disagree with redefining marriage are also subject to public derision and even threats, intimidation, and other harms.

    On the other side of this debate is the view that marriage is a natural institution that the state does not create but that the state should protect because of society’s civilizational interest in promoting childbearing and the faithfulness of spouses to each other and their dependent children. Proponents of marriage as one man and one woman focus on the public purposes of marriage, not the private reasons individuals might choose to marry, and have defied intense stereotyping by articulating a wide range of nonreligious reasons for supporting a traditional marriage policy, including that redefining marriage will contribute to an expanded and more intrusive government role in private life. In this view, support for marriage as one man and one woman does not equal animosity against friends, family, and co-workers who experience same-sex attraction. Rather, support for marriage reflects a morally just and constitutionally valid social judgment that the unique union of a husband and wife should be accorded a unique status in culture and law and that doing so provides significant benefits to children and all society.

    As the U.S. Supreme Court recognized long ago, “the public is deeply interested” in maintaining the institution of marriage, because “it is the foundation of the family and of society” and without it “there would be neither civilization nor progress.” Marriage remains just as important to society today. Efforts to defend the core meaning of marriage as having something to do with mothers, fathers, and children should be coupled with efforts to strengthen marriage in general.

    Posted in Featured [slideshow_deploy]

    14 Responses to Institution of Marriage Defended Throughout the Nation

    1. grendelkhan says:

      Until quite recently, it was an accepted truth for almost everyone who ever lived, in any society in which marriage existed, that there could be marriages only between men and women of the same sex. Or a man and his chattel property. Or, while not for "almost everyone", for many, between a man and several women.

      Blanket appeals to tradition without further justification are about as meaningful as blanket appeals to go die of the Black Plague because it's *traditional*.

    2. Gary Lindsay says:

      This essay is meaningless nonsense. Natural begatting of children is irrelevant, unless you with to ban adoption, artificial reproduction technology, or parents dying before children at 21. Civil marriage should be extended to any consenting couple because it stabilizes households, which stabilizes society.

    3. Gary Lindsay says:

      The red herring of polygamy is irrelevant. Polygamy is inherently abusive to women, and creates all sorts of complications in the contract part of marriage, under law. Polygamy can only work in a culture that treats women as chattel property.

    4. Al Alborn says:

      Hummm… I'm guessing there were similar arguments regarding Slavery, Woman's right to vote, Jim Crow laws, etc., etc., etc. As a Libertarian, I simply don't care what others choose to do as long at they don't hurt other people or take their stuff. That being said, i will defend the Liberty of all by fighting for their right to live as they please (as log as they don't hurt other people or take their stuff).

      Those who worry a little too much about other people's purely personal choices are a risk to everyone's Liberty.

    5. Robert says:

      There is already legal protection in the US Constitution for “right to privacy.” Gays are legally free to do what they want in the privacy of their own home. And there is already legal protection of “Domestic Partnerships.” Two people living together have rights with owning a house together or paying taxes together. However, the issue with Gay Marriage is a moral one. The Gay advocates want society to endorse homosexuality as natural and capable of “Holy Matrimony.” This, society has not been willing to do. Gay marriage has been on the ballot and voted down in 31 states that it has been proposed. Here is why: we have the fairest system in the world. We are a democracy. The majority rules. 85% of Americans state that they are Christians according to the US Dept of Commerce. Christians believe that the Bible is God’s Word and our main guide for ethics in society. The Bible clearly states that homosexuality is a choice. It is extremely wrong behavior. It is a sin involving sexual lust. God says, “you should not lie with a male as with a woman. It is an abomination.” Leviticus 18:22. There is a long list of Biblical examples. Here is another: “God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.” Romans 1:26-27. America can not endorse moral corruption and expect God’s continued blessing.

    6. Jerry says:

      There is no stopping a gay preson. Read the acount of Lot where the angel made them all blind and they continued to search for the door and demanded that the men inside come out. They are given over to their wickedness.

    7. RennyG says:

      When there is "moral rot" within a nation, it's government topples easily. But with wise and knowledgable leaders, there is stability!! Simple words of wisdom!! Where do we stand as a nation!!!!!

    8. John says:

      The Libertarian argument for this is a phony one. History has already shown that by allowing this you are increasing not decreasing government into your private lives. If a true conservative is opposed to increasing intrusive government and loss of liberties then he/she will reject this abonimation known as same sex marriage.
      This has resulted in unfair additional government burdens being imposed on businesses especially small business, loss of religous liberty and conscience, and loss of parental consent in the public schools. True conservatives support the right of parents who love their children and who wish to teach their children proper morals and conduct. Counterfeit marriage has allowed the sexual predators into the public school and access to our children against the wishes of loveing parents.
      Any so called conservative or libertarian who supports the homosexuals attack on the institution of marriage is no conservative at all but is really a radical or liberal.

      • Chris Porto says:

        John, your argument lacks merit. there is no logic there. Anyone who believes in smaller government should reject any law that limits someones right to get married. There is no evidence what so ever to suggest this would increase any involvement in private lives by government . You have made no points to support your claim. your blatant bigotry in referring homosexuals as predators is offensive and nothing but pure ignorance. All studies conducted have shown there is nothing detrimental to the development of a child if they are in contact with authority figures who are gay. This has been held up by all major medical institutions in this country, and it has been shown there is no harm in homosexuality and is perfectly healthy by the American Psychiatric Association. You really need to check your facts.

        Also by allowing others to marry this does not pose any threat what so ever to anybody else's marriage. There is no evidence to support that claim and history has refuted it in states where gay couples have been allowed to marry. All that is going to happen is people who love each other will be able to get married nothing more. That is an expansion of freedom for all.

    9. Christopher Porto says:

      This is %100 false. This idea that societies have always defined marriage between one man and one women through out history could not be more wrong. In fact it rarely has been defined as between one women and one man solely for the purpose of reproduction. this is just factually wrong. All I need is one example to prove this wrong… King solomon. there you go done. Bringham young of the early Mormon Church.

      In fact in MN the jewish church has officially come out against defining marriage as between only one man and one women because through out there history they have found that is not how marriage has always ben defined. and By the way that history is the first half of Catholic history too.

      As far as the reproduction argument i think this is down right offensive. My Grandparents were married for over 60 years. I am 25 years old they spent at least 30 years being married without having any more children or wanting to. under your ideology their marriage should be illegal. Because they weren't having children. Should every man who gets a vasectomy be forced to get a divorce? or every women who goes through menopause?

      Your arguments absolutely no logical sense what so ever. It contradicts ALL of human history and it is entirely based on assumptions that aren't backed by any facts what so ever.

    10. Larry Post says:

      The present day spread of homosexuality.
      The world-wide creation of pluralistic societies.
      Each is part of a historical plan to create a
      world government. “The World Rule Conspiracy”
      at http://minus.com/m1TpifFb explains it all.
      Please read it and pass it on.
      Thank you,
      Larry Post

    11. John Curtis says:

      – The campaign for Same-Sex Marriage is not about marriage.
      – It is about spreading homosexuality.
      – It is about creating many secretive bi-sexuals in high places
      who then will be politically controlled through blackmail.
      – And beyond that, it is about ultimately destroying the family
      unit and unity altogether. Go to:
      – "The World Rule Conspiracy" at http://ge.tt/#!/9FZfpZ8/v/0
      and read the Who and the Why of it all.

    12. Steve K says:

      This thing about "children" being involved in the definition of marriage? (Specifically Christopher Porto's comments). It's not necessarily that two people MUST have children to be married….it is about the natural order of the Animal World around us. Yes…you may find exceptions to procreation, but you certainly MUST admit (or lie to yourself) that it's a MALE and FEMALE…which would lend itself to a Natural Law. Also…if you are going to boil down to simple "love" and happiness" of every individual, you MUST admit any form of marriage including polygamy and family marriages. Who are you to dictate what makes others happy or not? No rules…just love and happiness right? Or else you are a phony.

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