Will Marriage Be Meaningless in America?

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 16, 2004

As those of you that read this column might guess, my articles occasionally move people to respond and sometimes those responses are not positive.

Lately, my articles on the dangers of same-sex marriage have generated quite a few responses from people who disagree with me.

One critic made the point that “…our founding forefathers guaranteed our right to freedom from the imposition of the views of rightious (sic) groups upon us involuntarily.”

Email newsletter signup

I couldn’t agree more.

In a representative republic a group, righteous or otherwise, should not be able to impose anything upon their fellow citizens.

The essence of republican government is the ability to reason together through the political process to determine as Plato said, “…how we shall order our lives together,” rather than have a group (i.e. four judges in Massachusetts) impose their views upon the majority involuntarily.

Such an abuse of power renders the Constitution’s guarantee of representative government meaningless and puts us under the rule of a small group of jurists.

The strain that this abuse of power imposes on the fabric of our republic should not be underestimated in the least.

If the courts impose same-sex marriage upon us against the will of the majority it will unleash a vast, radical social experiment that is opposed by the majority of Americans.

In so doing, the courts will fundamentally reorder American society and in the process further undermine the rule of law.

Some of my critics argue that banning same-sex marriage is an unconstitutional intrusion by the government, but it is not. The government has a legitimate responsibility to limit certain activities where it has a compelling interest to do so for specific purposes such as for public health and safety purposes, particularly when the activity involves children.

Though homosexual activists try to deny it, this debate first and foremost centers around what is best for children.

Consequently, the people, acting through their representatives or through the amendment process, have every right to protect children.

As Dr. Matthew Spalding of the Heritage Foundation puts it, same-sex marriage “…does not expand marriage; it alters its core meaning.”

Dr. Spalding says that to redefine marriage so that it is no longer related to the relationship between fathers, mothers, and children is to sever the institution from its nature and purpose.

Marriage has already experienced a substantial decline in American through ill-conceived public policies. In the late ’60s and early ’70s “no-fault” divorce was legalized in every state resulting in an avalanche of divorces and giving the U.S. the highest divorce rate of any industrialized nation in the world.

“No-fault” divorce was all about what was most beneficial for consenting adults, with little regard for what was best for their children.

Thirty years later there is ample evidence that “no-fault” divorce has weakened and undermined marriage. The U.S. Census Bureau now reports that half of all first marriages end in divorce and that since the 1970s cohabitation has increased by over 800 percent.

The social welfare programs of the 1960s are another example of the unintended consequences of a well-intentioned, but ill-conceived social policy that has resulted in an explosion of out-of-wedlock births.

Since the ’60s the overall out-of-wedlock birthrate for all children has quadrupled and for African-American children it is now almost 70 percent.

As a direct result, the number of people in jail has increased almost tenfold from just over 200,000 in the 1960s to over 2,000,000 today, with the majority of inmates coming from broken or never-formed homes.

There is ample evidence from outside the United States that same-sex marriage will harm the institution of marriage. Since same-sex marriage was legalized in the Netherlands and Sweden it has seriously accelerated the demise of marriage and family structure in those countries.

In those countries the majority of children are now born to unmarried couples. In the past, most cohabiting couples there would marry after the birth of their first child; now that trend is declining and evidence indicates that the legalization of same-sex marriage has rendered marriage meaningless to the point that couples are no longer marrying at all.

If marriage is predominantly about the happiness of consenting adults, then all relationships regardless of who or what is involved must be given equal footing. But marriage is not about a legal arrangement for the benefit and happiness of consenting adults, it is about giving birth to and raising the next generation of children. Therefore, it is not in the best interests of society that marriage be rendered meaningless by a small group of activist judges.

They would not only overrule the will of the vast majority who oppose same-sex marriage, but would also stand in opposition to the verdict of all of recorded history that marriage between one man and one woman is best for the raising of children and the well-being of society.