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Same Sex Unions - An Assault on Marriage

  

There has been a steady drum beat of courts overturning marriage laws.  The latest to fall was Iowa, when a judge struck down his state's marriage law, called it unconstitutional, and ordered the state government to recognize same sex marriage.  We have witnessed it in California (2005), Massachusetts (2004), Vermont (2001), and Hawaii (1998).  

And so, little by little, but relentlessly so, we observe the phenomenon of unelected judges imposing by decree their vision of equal rights upon the rest of us, and usurping  the institution upon which our civilization is based.  Indeed, it is marriage itself that is under siege - and upon its fortunes rests the fate of much that is good and dear to us all.

It is the case that marriage has been threatened by a host of legal and cultural factors for decades, none of which pertain particularly to same sex unions: these include no fault divorce, secularization, radical feminism, non marital cohabitation, illegitimacy, and the cult of self expression, all of which have taken their toll.  

But it is same sex union that represents the graver threat for in the juridical mandates requiring the various states to rewrite their marriage laws, we have also the requirement that marriage be redefined.  To suit the current fashion, the age old understanding of marriage as consisting of a union between one man and one woman, will need to be defined … as what?  The union of a person and a person?  Or, perhaps, a man and his underage daughter or a woman and several husbands or any combination of partners, sexual orientation, and ages that may come into vogue?  Or, perhaps it need no longer be limited to humans?   And how is the law and culture to address such antiquated concepts as mother, father, husband, and wife?    

After all, once existing barriers are unloosed, the same defining strictures that have persisted since the dawn of civilization, who is to say what the proper designation should be?  And, if any are imposed, could they not then be portrayed as arbitrary, unfair, and dehumanizing by the next contingent of activists as gay advocates argue today, and particularly so since Western culture as now comprised values tolerance, diversity, and muddle headed non judgmentalism above all else?  If marriage is divested of its preferential status, what array of options and choices will fill the vacuum and what will be the consequences of overturning this most crucial cornerstone of society?     

Same sex advocates argue as follows: they hold that the demands of equality as granted by our constitution justify their demands; that to deny marriage to same sex couples is to treat homosexuals as less than equal; that gay couples are as committed and loving as heterosexual couples; that traditional marriage is unfair and discriminatory; that the gay marriage struggle is the moral equivalent of the civil rights movement for blacks in the sixties.     

But equal rights do not give individuals the right to redefine fundamental institutions, particularly one in which the social apparatus depends so heavily.  It is regrettable that homosexuals who are denied the right to marriage may feel lessened, but the role of marriage is not to enhance self esteem or promote diversity, nor is it to endorse alternative lifestyles; marriage exists to provide the most secure and nurturing environment to raise children and create families that will give rise to the next generation of engaged and productive citizens.  The public maintains an abiding interest in marriage as the creator of households.     

Any interference with this essential formula leads inevitably to a range of social ills that will plague society for generations as evidenced by the last forty years when new paradigms for marriage, family, and lifestyle took root that have undermined the institutions that societies depend on to thrive and succeed.  Children born or raised outside the traditional family, to single parent or divorced homes, are far more likely to live in poverty, fail in school, engage in criminal activity, and suffer in their own adult relationships; many, if not most, will require the intervention of the state to police, rehabilitate, support, and sustain at great cost to society.     

Children flourish when raised by their married, biologic parents who make lifetime commitments to one another and to their offspring, and no other institution, arrangement, or program can accomplish this effectively.  Families are the basic and indispensible unit of society, and marriage is the bedrock of family. 

That marriage has been weakened by competing models and altered cultural habits (cohabitation, illegitimacy, divorce), is also not an argument to erode it further by diluting it with an array of other marital options, but rather to restore it by promoting a positive marriage culture; by, for example, rolling back unilateral no fault divorce in homes with children under the age of 18, as the Heritage Foundation has recommended, adjusting the tax code to favor and encourage marriage, imparting marriage skills to young people and couples through civic groups, churches, clinics, and high schools. Marriage “activists” in government, media, schools, and communities should uphold marriage and bear witness to the upheaval that arises when children are born or raised out of wedlock. 

Marriage, in other words, is simply too fundamental to society to allow unelected judges to decide on.  In referendum after referendum, the people overwhelmingly support traditional marriage.  A constitutional marriage amendment is needed to protect this battered but essential institution.   
 

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