What have Illinois Republican politicians done to protect marriage?

The question in the headline could actually be posed about any and every issue that faces our state and our nation. This column continually argues that it’s all about public opinion, and our legislators – federal and state – have an important role to play in shaping public opinion.

Unfortunately, still too few of those who campaign and those who hold office accomplish what is supposed to be their number one job (to win support for and then enact good policies).

The following headline in the Sun-Times today could have been avoided had our Republican leaders done their job advancing the GOP Platforms.

‘Good chance’ state House will OK civil unions

For years marriage has been under attack. For years, our leaders could have benefited from the research and analysis explaining why marriage should be protected. Yet how many Illinoisans have ever heard anything from our GOP politicians in this state on this all-important, societal building block issue?

Two and a half years ago we compiled notes on the issue for easy reading. It’s time to re-post them. Here’s the first installment.

Why marriage matters: Understanding the basics

The question of why marriage should be kept between one man and one woman is actually a pretty simple issue. Marriage isn’t about “coupling,” or two people feeling something for each other. Marriage is an institution recognized by the state because it is a building block of society.

Paraphrasing the Heritage Foundation’s Robert Rector, its value is supported by “the cumulative weight of human history” as well as “all the major world religions.” Its tradition is supported by Western legal precedent and by the long-held views of most Americans who support the natural order.

From www.heritage.org:

What is marriage?

Marriage is uniquely beneficial to society because it is the foundation of the family and the basic building block of society.

*  It brings significant stability and meaning to human relationships.

It remains the ideal for the raising of children.

It plays an important role in transferring culture and civilization into future generations.

Marriage is not merely a private contract, but a social institution of great public concern.

As social science research and government surveys increasingly show, the decline in marriage since the 1960s has been accompanied by a rise in a number of serious social problems. The Heritage Foundation has produced “The Positive Effects of Marriage: A Book of Charts,” which documents the positive effects of marriage on men, women and children as well as the detrimental effects of broken marriages on individuals.

What Are the Consequences of Redefining Marriage?

Changing the definition of marriage would undermine the very nature that gives marriage its unique status in society. Ultimately, forcing marriage to mean all things will force marriage to mean nothing at all. If marriage becomes just one form of commitment in a spectrum of sexual relationships rather than a preferred monogamous relationship for the sake of children, the line separating sexual relations within and outside of marriage becomes blurred, and so does the public policy argument against out-of-wedlock births or in favor of abstinence.

Decisions about sex, marriage, and childbearing are not merely personal. They have deep social consequences, particularly for children…

Religious Liberty Threats:

“…making gay marriage a legal right will likely impose serious constraints on religious speech, assembly and worship; once gay marriage becomes the law, those who oppose it become outlaws.”- A. Picarello, Becket Fund for Religious Liberty (click here to read the whole National Law Journal article.)

Frank Turek recently wrote an article titled, “Gay Marriage: Even Liberals Know It’s Bad.” In it, he said:

“Why not legalize same-sex marriage? Who could it possibly hurt? Children and the rest of society. That’s the conclusion of David Blankenhorn, who is anything but an anti-gay ‘bigot.’ He is a life-long, pro-gay, liberal democrat who disagrees with the Bible’s prohibitions against homosexual behavior. Despite this, Blankenhorn makes a powerful case against Same-Sex marriage in his book, The Future of Marriage.

He writes, ‘Across history and cultures…marriage’s single most fundamental idea is that every child needs a mother and a father. Changing marriage to accommodate same-sex couples would nullify this principle in culture and in law.'”

Turek goes on to answer the “how so?” question, as well as the “so what?” question. Click here to read the entire article.

Up next: The defense of marriage can and must be improved.

©2010 John Francis Biver