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  • The Future of Marriage and the Wisdom of Tradition

    As Sherif Girgis, Robert P. George, and I argue in The Wall Street Journal, the future of marriage is the future of humanity.

    Conservatives rightly uphold the institution of marriage between a man and a woman because marriage is the seedbed of society, the necessary precondition for limited self-government.

    But not everyone sees it this way. With the Supreme Court expected to decide this week whether to hear challenges to traditional marriage laws, now is the time for citizens to think deeply about the nature and purpose of marriage.

    Marriage unites a man and woman holistically—emotionally and bodily, in acts of conjugal love and in the children such love brings forth—for the whole of life.

    In the revisionist view of marriage, however, what sets marriage apart from other bonds is emotional intensity—what one philosopher refers to as your “number one person.” But nothing about emotional union requires it to be permanent. Or limited to two. Or sexual, much less sexually exclusive. Or inherently oriented to family life and shaped by its demands.

    As a result, redefining marriage to include same-sex relationships would harm the common good as it obscures the true nature of marriage and thus weakens the marriage culture. Weakening marital norms would hurt children and spouses, especially the poorest among us.

    Empty appeals to “equality” get us nowhere. As my co-authors and I argue:

    Every marriage policy draws lines, leaving out some types of relationships. Equality forbids arbitrary line-drawing. But we cannot know which lines are arbitrary without answering two questions: What is marriage, and why does it matter for policy?

    The conjugal and revisionist views are two rival answers; neither is morally neutral. Each is supported by some religious and secular worldviews but rejected by others.… So voters must decide: Which view is right?

    The best philosophy, theology, sociology, and what G. K. Chesterton called the democracy of the dead—tradition—all suggest that the conjugal view is right.

    As we argue in our new book What Is Marriage? Man and Woman: A Defense, marriage is a uniquely comprehensive union. It involves a union of hearts and minds but also a bodily union made possible by sexual complementarity. Marriage is inherently extended and enriched by procreation and family life and objectively calls for similarly all-encompassing commitment, norms of permanence, and exclusivity.

    In the op-ed, we detail why conservatives would be ill-advised to abandon support for conjugal marriage even if it hadn’t won more support than Governor Mitt Romney in every state where marriage was on the ballot.

    Read our WSJ article here; our book may be ordered here.

    Posted in Featured [slideshow_deploy]

    7 Responses to The Future of Marriage and the Wisdom of Tradition

    1. Bobbie says:

      One main reason for marriage to be defined as union between one man and one woman is state of fact, the only balance of humanity that has the natural ability to procreate starting from the foundation of marriage. Structured, sound and principled. Nothing to do with sexual preference that's influenced not inherited. Sex isn't a necessity to survive as marriage isn't either! To suggest people are born with sexual preference is manipulation only making it perverted!! Why would Obama purpose teaching sex at age five unless he has special interests in mind? Words without truth? Teach the kids sex at age five and you're depriving them their childhood inviting them to think things five year olds doesn't have the mind to comprehend nor should they be ignored basic fundamentals the mind CAN AND DOES grasp at age 5. Biology is fine to teach anything outside of that is intrusion.

      Marriage always had a meaning that people have just lost all tolerance for under President Obama!! Hmmmm??! If true marriage is redefined, remove true marriage from government recognition.

      • KeithS says:

        I think we did not go far to define Marriage from the Theological view. Marriage is a covenant between God,Man and a Woman. Not just a Man and a Woman. When we define it as covenant between just a man and woman we only have to convince the majority of men and women to accept this alternative. But when God is involved this would not be acceptable.

    2. Dave Carlin says:

      You might want to look at my new book, "Homosexualism versus Catholicism." And note that it is homosexualism (an ideology) that I'm writing about, not homosexuality (a practice).

    3. Jake says:

      Marriage is a license issued by government to allow two individuals to combine households for mutual benefit. The Constitution guarantees equal protection under the law to all citizens. Government issued contracts must be available to all citizens under the Constitution. The fact that two men or two women wish to enter into this agreement shouldn't be anyone's concern but their own. Procreation is not relevant to the conversation. Married people are not required to procreate in order to enter into the marriage contract.

      People that you don't know, that you'll never meet, getting married does not affect you regardless of their orientation. Concerning yourselves with this issue is silly and childish.

      • Bobbie says:

        if you understood the reason and accepted the true definition of marriage than procreation has all the relevance in the world. Don't tell your opinion to state what affects people. That's pretty disrespectful. It's a deep disappointment that Americans would go to this extent for their own selfish purposes and reject the fact it affects everybody married traditionally and since the CIVILITY OF MAN! But I agree to take away true marriage seen through the eyes of God, not government! The government doesn't have to permit us access to see loved ones where the only financial benefit is in child deductions,, but all the power to the intolerant of America where progress is destroying something for someone else! Marvelous selfish ones.

    4. Manuel says:

      The only reason marriage exists, is that when men and women get together they produce babies. Over thousands of years society has determined that the best way to raise those babies to civilized adulthood is for their parents to be married. During that time it was also determined that it is best for the man and woman to be married before they produce the babies. To call any other relationship marriage, is to destroy its meaning.

    5. Freedom says:

      This whole standard of "children have it best when______" is totally awesome.

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