Government recognizes marriage because of its benefits to society

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  • Marriage is not created by government. It is older than the Constitution, older than America, older even than the church. It exists in every known human society and it always has something to do with bringing men and women together so that society has the next generation it needs and children have both mothers and fathers, as they need. Maggie Gallagher puts it simply, saying that “children need mothers and fathers” and “marriage is the most practical way to get them for children.”
  • While the bulk of the work of inculcating morals into rising generations is left to religion and cultural institutions, government has a role to play in how it recognizes institutions such as one man/one woman marriage, which has been shown to be a boon for the raising of healthy children and avoiding a plethora of social ills.
  • The healthier and more resilient a society is, the better able it will be to deal with whatever problems arise. Anything that hurts society reduces its ability to deal with any and all problems.
  • Behavior matters – in fact, behavior is civilization. To take a simple example, certain behaviors are a recipe for success. The odds of someone living in long term poverty are practically nil if a person finishes high school, gets married, and waits to have children until after getting married.
  • It is within this larger discussion that the debate over marriage and so-called “gay marriage” takes place. Government, through statute, encourages and discourages behavior.
  • In a free society, vast numbers of things are neither forbidden nor facilitated. They are considered to be none of the law’s business.
  • Homosexuals were on their strongest ground when they said that the law had no business interfering with relations between consenting adults. Now they want the law to put a seal of approval on their behavior. But no one is entitled to anyone else’s approval.
  • What we enjoy in the West isn’t accidental, and its preservation isn’t guaranteed, either. “We the People,” though our government, have every motivation to make sure we do what we can to insure the continuation and strengthening of, rather than the weakening of, the social fabric.
  • When a society protects and honors marriage, it benefits in a number of ways that the sociological data backs up in spades.

The societal benefits of marriage:

  • A Centers for Disease Control report notes, “Marriage is associated with a variety of positive outcomes, and dissolution of marriage is associated with negative outcomes for men, women, and their children.”
  • Marriage Is Good For Children. Research clearly demonstrates that family structure matters for children. A Center for Law and Social Policy Brief concludes, “Research indicates that, on average, children who grow up in families with both their biological parents in a low-conflict marriage are better off in a number of ways than children who grow up in single-, step-, or cohabitating-parent households.”
  • Although marriage is especially important as the fountainhead of natural family life and the well being of children, even childless marriages are a social anchor for children.
  • Marriage is Good for America. The family is the fundamental building block of society. When marriages and families are healthy, communities thrive; when marriages break down, communities break down.
  • Moral, polite, physically healthy and stable individuals make better community members and citizens. Thus, you can clearly see that as the family goes, so goes the society.
  • Twelve leading family scholars recently summarized the research literature this way: “Marriage is an important social good associated with an impressively broad array of positive outcomes for children and adults alike…. [W]hether American society succeeds or fails in building a healthy marriage culture is clearly a matter of legitimate public concern.”
  • When their mothers and fathers don’t get married and stay married, bad things happen to more kids more often: more poverty, welfare dependence, child abuse, sexual abuse, substance abuse, physical illness, infant mortality, accidental death, homicide, premature and promiscuous sexuality, early unwed pregnancy, suicide, juvenile delinquency, educational failure, conduct disorders and adult criminality. Children suffer and whole communities pay the cost in crime, social disorder and high taxes as government steps in to deal with the needs created when families fall apart. Family structure matters and the family form that does the best job for kids is the child’s own married mother and father.

Citizen Link has summarized some of the research on why marriage matters for children, as well as the importance of having both a father and a mother involved in parenting a child.

Why Marriage Matters for Children:

“The liberal Center for Law and Social Policy, a child advocacy organization, recently reported “Most researchers now agree that…studies support the notion that, on average, children do best when raised by their two married biological parents…”

How Fathers Matter for Healthy Child Development:

Fatherhood is just as essential to healthy child development as motherhood. In some measures, father-love is more important. The professional journal, Review of General Psychology, finds “evidence suggests that the influence of father love on offspring’s development is as great as and occasionally greater than the influence of mother love.”

Why Children Need Father-Love and Mother-Love:

“To be concerned with proper child development is to be concerned about making sure that children have daily access to the different and complementary ways mothers and fathers parent.”

Click the above to read more about educational attainment, crime, premarital sexual activity and Illegitimate childbearing, poverty, physical health and mental well-being, substance abuse, and physical and sexual abuse.

Click here to read more about the research explaining some things that should be obvious to most thinking people, but nevertheless are not:

*  Mothers and Fathers Parent Differently.

*  Mothers and Fathers Play Differently.

*  Fathers Push Limits; Mothers Encourage Security.

*  Mothers and Fathers Communicate Differently.

*  Fathers and Mothers Prepare Children for Life Differently.

*  Fathers Provide A Look at the World of Men; Mothers, the World of Women.

*  Fathers and Mothers Teach Respect for the Opposite Sex.

©2008 John Francis Biver

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