On Marriage: Libertarian confusion, Q & A, and the Princeton Principles

This series could go on for weeks because a wealth of excellent material has been written on the topic of why marriage between one man and one woman needs to be defended. Below are short excerpts from a few more excellent resources. What is abundantly clear is that our political leaders have no excuse for not aggressively articulating what is wrong with so-called “gay marriage” or “civil unions.”

From: “The Stakes: Why we need marriage” by Maggie Gallagher, (emphasis added).

  • The fantasy of certain (not all) libertarians is that we can privatize marriage and the result will be a utopia of religiously created social order. But if marriage is just a religious rite, then it cannot also be a key social institution in a secular, pluralist nation.
  • The consequences of our current retreat from marriage is not a flourishing libertarian social order, but a gigantic expansion of state power and a vast increase in social disorder and human suffering. The results of the marriage retreat are not merely personal or religious. When men and women fail to form stable marriages, the first result is a vast expansion of government attempts to cope with the terrible social needs that follow.
  • There is scarcely a dollar that state and federal government spends on social programs that is not driven in large part by family fragmentation: crime, poverty, drug abuse, teen pregnancy, school failure, mental and physical health problems.
  • The conservative project of limited government depends on recovering marriage as the normal, usual, and generally reliable way to raise children.

Questions and Answers

This excerpt is from a Q&A with Maggie Gallagher in the National Review – click here to read the entire article.

Don’t homosexual people need the benefits of marriage?
If medical proxies aren’t working, let’s fix that problem. If people need health care, let’s get them health care. Don’t rewrite marriage laws in order to satisfy a small fraction of adults who have personal needs and problems.

Are you saying gays can’t be good parents?
Two men might each be a good father, but neither can be a mom. Children are hungry for the love and attention of both their parents – their mom and their dad. Marriage is about giving children the ideal, and no same-sex couple can provide that.

Why do you want to interfere with love?
Love is not an excuse for adults to do whatever they want and assume the kids will adjust. We need to get back to basics, including the idea that one major goal of marriage is to remind men and women that we have the obligation to do the best we can to give our children the protection of a married home in which they can know and love both their mother and their father.

The Princeton Principles

Finally, Ryan Anderson wrote an excellent piece titled “Beyond Gay Marriage” in the Weekly Standard and outlined the contents of a short book by the Witherspoon Institute of Princeton, New Jersey, called Marriage and the Public Good: Ten Principles. In Anderson’s words, it states “the unique importance of conjugal marriage for individuals and societies from the perspective of varied academic disciplines: sociology, psychology, biology, history, economics, moral and political philosophy, and law.”

Below are a few excerpts from it with emphasis added.

  • With the end of marriage as we know it, the door is open to polygamy and polyamory (two or more men married to two or more women).
  • Gay-rights leaders have explicitly endorsed relationships consisting of multiple (more than two) sexual partners, and have even argued that justice requires both state recognition and universal acceptance of such relationships.
  • Unlike the arguments from the radical social left which are mere assertions, Marriage and the Public Good: Ten Principles is a heavily researched, meticulously detailed scholarly document citing the best, most recent academic findings on marriage, family structure, and spousal and child well-being.
  • According to the drafters, the document seemed necessary for two reasons. First, because the very idea that the public has an interest in – “a socially supported normative understanding of marriage” – is under attack, especially in the academy.
  • To make matters worse, “too often, the rational case for marriage is not made at all or not made very well.” Defending marriage would thus “require confronting these attacks, assessing their arguments, and correcting them where necessary.”
  • The Principles do just this, concluding with a statement as bold for the academy as it is commonsensical to most Americans: “We are persuaded that the case for marriage can be made and won at the level of reason.”
  • Second, the authors–almost all of whom are professors–thought that they owed this report to their students: “On behalf of our students, we need to make this statement, since marriage is above all a choice for the young: they need arguments to counterbalance the dominant arguments now attacking marriage as unjust and undesirable, and they need to know what marriage is in order to sustain their own marriages and raise their own children.”
  • The authors of the Princeton Principles demonstrate how and why the demands of those advocating for “gay marriage” lead to the detriment of spouses, children, and civil society.

You can read the entire statement of the Princeton Principles here.