Marriage: What the debate is about and not about

  • Marriage is not an unimportant, secondary issue. The healthier and more resilient a society is, the better able it will be to deal with whatever problems arise, whether it is war or economic downturn. Anything that hurts society reduces its ability to deal with any and all problems. So, even though the immediate concern is successfully dealing with problems such as the economy, the war of terror or whatever, nothing is more important than protecting the health of the society that must deal with these issues now and into the future.
  • Critics say that restricting marriage is about legislating morality. In fact virtually every law defines morality in the sense that it dictates what is “right” and “wrong.” A simple example would be laws making theft illegal. The foundation of any society is agreement on certain behaviors that will be either encouraged or prohibited for the overall good of that society. In a democratic system, these ground rules are set by the majority. It is not really relevant what the basis for setting these ground rules might be, whether religious beliefs, personal philosophies, etc. so long as the majority agree upon them.
  • Our society “denies” people their “rights” more often than homosexual activists would have us believe. There are restrictions on free speech, religious liberty and gun ownership and those are rights explicitly mentioned in the bill of rights while marriage is not. These restrictions exist because the common good outweighs an individual’s claim to an absolute right. Society has protected traditional marriage because of its benefits to society.
  • Protecting marriage is not about the majority denying the “right” to the minority. If fact, this entire “gay marriage” controversy is about a small minority trying to force the majority to change a time honored and proven institution.
  • Some people argue that because a person is born with tendencies towards a certain predilection they should be granted the same privileges society bestows on the nature-based union of a man and a woman.
  • The debate over marriage is not about feelings. The institution of marriage doesn’t exist to help people who engage in aberrant sexual behavior feel better about themselves.
  • If marriage is a “legal” right, who can’t get married? If any two people have the legal right to marriage, why not three people? The current lawsuit against the state of Nebraska to nullify the Defense of Marriage Amendment does include the rights of bisexuals. Bisexuals would like to marry one person of each sex. Why not two brothers? Why not two roommates or two business partners? On what logical basis could marriage be denied to anyone? Marriage could become a mere contractual convenience. The legal, social, financial and tax implications of this change are both unknown and potentially enormous.
  • In any discussion of changing social policy, the burden of proof to justify it must be on those advocating the change. In the case of demands for legalizing same sex marriage, the burden is on those advocating this policy change to make even a minimal case that it will not hurt the rights of the majority to pass on a healthy society to future generations.
  • It may not always be possible to make such a case conclusively. In the face of common sense, logic, historical examples and a growing body of social science research legalizing same sex marriage would undermine marriage and the natural family. Advocates of same sex marriage have a particularly heavy burden on this issue. Significantly, they never even try to make their case in this context.
  • Marriage isn’t about “fairness.” Americans want to be fair, and many are automatically sympathetic to the complaints of homosexuals that they are being “discriminated against” because they are prevented from marrying. Yet, we discriminate all the time, often for good reasons. Criminals, for example, are discriminated against in many ways as a way of protecting society. What must always be examined is the basis for any discrimination. If it results in a net benefit to society, it is justified.
  • Marriage is not just about love. In fact, in many cultures where arranged marriages are still the norm, it is not about love at all. Marriage is recognized by society for its critical role in maintaining that society. Because of this, societies have always regulated marriage in some ways. For example, most societies do not sanction a brother and sister marrying, no matter how much they love each other. Marriage is not simply a legal way to demonstrate love or affection.
  • Marriage is a virtually universal human institution. In all the wildly rich and various cultures flung throughout the ecosphere, in society after society, whether tribal or complex, and however bizarre, human beings have created systems of publicly approved sexual union between men and women that entail well-defined responsibilities of mothers and fathers. Not all these marriage systems look like our own, which is rooted in a fusion of Greek, Roman, Jewish, and Christian culture. Yet everywhere, in isolated mountain valleys, parched deserts, jungle thickets, and broad plains, people have come up with some version of this thing called marriage.
  • Marriage exists to help increase the percentage of healthy, functioning, financially independent people.
  • Anything that affects society’s concept of marriage or the traditional family affects institutions that have been proven throughout history and across cultures to be essential to a healthy society. The more serious the potential negative impacts might be, the greater the justification for the majority to prevent them. Nothing is more critical to the future of any society than protecting and promoting marriage and the natural family.


The Top Five Reasons to Oppose Same-Sex Marriage by Maggie Gallagher:

  1. Marriage is about affirming the ideal. And when it comes to children, science and common sense both say: Mothers and fathers both matter to children.
  2. Same-Sex Marriage sends a terrible message to the next generation: alternative family forms are just as good as traditional families, children don’t need a mother and a father, and marriage is about adult desires for affirmation or benefits, not about the well-being of children.
  3. It’s just wrong for the law to pretend that two men being intimate are the same as a husband and wife, especially when it comes to raising children.
  4. Marriage belongs in the hands of the people. Four judges in Massachusetts have no business rewriting the moral rules our kids are going to live by.
  5. Marriage isn’t a special interest, it’s a common good. Every American benefits from a healthy marriage culture. All Americans pay the price in increased taxes, social disorder, and human suffering when mothers and fathers fail to get and stay married.