The Education Action Network

Taking Back America By Taking Back Our Schools

Article by: Mary Fielding Summerhays

Preserving marriage is the great issue of our time. Redefining marriage to meet the objectives of proponents of same-gender marriage will remove the natural family–father, mother, and children–as the basic unit of society. It would, as a matter of law, deny the ideal that children need a mother and a father, and further, that children need mothering and fathering, the very factors that prepare them for their role in nurturing and sustaining the families of the future. The impact on civilization as we know it would be profound. If you are pro-family, you may hear common arguments and questions that need a ready answer. This article considers questions pro-family advocates are frequently asked.

FAQ: Why can’t traditional and nontraditional marriage coexist? Traditional marriage is the only institution that protects a child’s right to have both a mom and a dad. Children cannot defend these rights on their own, but rely upon marriage law to do so. A legal redefinition threatens children’s rights as well as the gender-based rights of all Americans. We join others in calling “upon responsible citizens and officers of government everywhere to promote those measures designed to maintain and strengthen the family as the fundamental unit of society” (The Family: A Proclamation to the World).

FAQ: How does my gay marriage hurt you? Same-gender marriage defines men and women as exchangeable units and requires that government institutionally endorse and promote that uniformity, making gender complementarity obsolete. This definition removes from the law a child’s right to have a father and a mother and denies the indispensable functions that mothering and fathering provide. Removing gender requirements from marriage further threatens all gender-based rights affecting alimony, presumption of paternity, custody considerations, and even privacy in public locker rooms, restrooms, and showers, all of which depend on the recognition of our unique gender needs.

We may look to British Columbia, Canada, for an application of same-gender marriage dictates. Birth certificates now require a place for the mother’s name and a check-off box for the “other parent/father.” There, the valuable part fathers play in raising healthy and successful children is now legally recognized as merely optional. Canada has created a legally-endorsed system that discriminates against men and that will alienate more fathers from the lives of their children.

FAQ: Why is the definition of marriage such a big deal? Marriage is an institution that defines all of us as we relate to the common goal of raising a young generation prepared to keep our nation strong. Whether married or single, each of us has a relationship to that common societal goal. In order to protect children and the homes that nurture them, it is essential that we be able to define ideas, behaviors, and relationships that either support or threaten the family. For this reason society has always identified such things as children, parents, heirs, siblings, and monogamy, as well as adultery, abuse, “home-wreckers,” incest, and the like. Each of these identifications starts with a clear definition of marriage.

For their own self-preservation, societies have defined marriage as the union of a man and a woman whose marital privileges are based upon their commitment to protect and nurture the children that may be created as a result of their union. This natural union recognizes that men and women are complementary, that reproduction depends upon their biological differences, and that the children born to them need both a father and a mother.

FAQ: Why does the government regulate marriage and family? Marriage protects those made vulnerable by the procreative act. This unique contract protects children who have no power to consent to their own creation and who require decades of sustained nurture and protection to thrive. Since the first objective of any society is to survive and to perpetuate itself, the government has an interest in the stability of the homes where children are raised.

There is no reason to have a government registry of relationships except in that “society needs babies, children need mothers and fathers; marriage is a word for the way we join men and women together to make the future happen.” –Maggie Gallagher.

FAQ: How can marriage be about children, when not all marriages have children? Not all couples have children, but all children have parents. To ensure a nation’s future, we must look at marriage from the child’s point of view. Adults can meet their own needs and require no assistance from the government to achieve successful and loving relationships. But even aged or infertile couples contribute to society by following the marital norms of sexual exclusivity and permanence, practices that prevent out-of-wedlock births and the creation of fatherless children. Simply stated, if married men are faithful to their infertile wives, they will not be going around creating children out of wedlock.

FAQ: Why not leave marriage up to religions? In our nation, religion does not have the power to demand child support payments, negotiate and enforce custody, or punish those who abuse spouse or offspring. Since abuse and abandonment are inherently irreligious acts, offenders will likely have already left the jurisdiction of church discipline. By retiring its interest in marriage, government will have declared such destructive behavior irrelevant. Thus those made vulnerable by the procreative act–children–would be abandoned and abused without legal recourse.

FAQ: Shouldn’t religion stay out of politics? Would you say that to Reverend Martin Luther King? Most movements to improve law were led by religious leaders, including the abolition of slavery, child labor laws, and the civil rights movements. Our government was also founded on moral and religious principles.

FAQ: Isn’t same-gender marriage about love? Today, same-gender couples are free to love and live as they wish. However, marriage should be reserved for those relationships that are willing and able to participate in the public good of creating and raising children. Redefining marriage as a same-gender union rests upon the premise that emotional intensity is the foundation that sets marriage apart as a legal bond. The government has not been in the business of reaffirming romantic or emotional attachments, but it is in the business of protecting children and ensuring societal stability.

FAQ: Isn’t the love expressed to children in same-sex unions the same as in opposite-sex unions? Overwhelming empirical evidence shows that children need the fathering and mothering that natural marriage provides. Even in a gay union where love for children is the focus, children are distanced from their basic need for a mother and a father.

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