Why marriage is best defined for America as union between one man, one woman

The last southern state to settle the marriage question – North Carolina – will vote in May. The vote may reaffirm the important role of traditional marriage in raising healthy children and maintaining a free society. Photo: www.truthonhealth.org

WASHINGTON, April 4, 2012 — North Carolina is the only remaining southern state that has not explicitly defined marriage in its constitution as a union between one man and one woman. Voters there will get the chance to vote on the definition of marriage in their May 8 primary. President Barack Obama and NC Governor Beverly Perdue have both spoken out against the amendment.


The vote is important for two reasons. It places this decision in the hands of the citizens of the state versus judges, and it creates the opportunity to reaffirm the important role of traditional marriage in raising healthy children and maintaining a free society.

Marriage has not historically been treated as a constitutional “right,” yet government in America has played a role in regulating and encouraging it since colonial days. This is because marriage creates the households that produce and protect children, foster businesses, and promote charity and every other aspect of civil society. This contribution to maintaining society is why government can legitimately seek to strengthen the traditional institution of marriage.

The Family Research Council suggests that the federal government can strengthen marriage through pro-family tax policy (eliminate the “marriage penalty”), abstinence-until-marriage programs, and welfare reform.

According to Nancy F. Cott’s report, submitted in the case of Perry v. Schwarzenegger in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, “marriage laws have changed over time often in the face of strong resistance by courts and legislatures.” Examples of where marriage laws have changed include polygamous marriage, marriage to close blood relatives, marriage of adults to minors, binding husband and wife identities (coverture), racial barriers and proving fault in divorce.

Changes to laws regarding marriage have centered on the preventing infringement upon natural rights or health. The removal of past restrictions are in line with recognition of individual natural rights, i.e., black and white men are inherently the same, men and women both have a right to property, protection of children and their health, etc.

Does acceptance of same sex marriage naturally follow in the evolution of marriage?

Homosexuality is not a natural right. There is no comparison between the legal ability of a black man to marry an Asian woman and a man to marry another man. Lifestyle freedom of choice is enshrined in this country and no one should be persecuted for legal choices made between consenting adults.

However, changing the definition of marriage to include variations on coupling other than one man and one woman contradicts natural law: No other union can produce children, which are the primary ingredient to a continuation of society. Any role of the state in marriage must be explicitly aimed at protecting and perpetuating society.

To blur the lines between what is statistically and experientially known to be good for society and what is a lifestyle choice is an unwise step.

Are the rights of Lesbian and Gay Americans being violated?

Some argue for same sex marriage to be recognized by the state in the name of civil rights. All Americans are guaranteed equal protection under the law by the 14th Amendment. Private contractual arrangements, such as wills, durable power of attorney, health care proxies, and life insurance policies are available to everyone.

Laws protecting people against domestic and other forms of violence are not suspended for unmarried homosexual partners. No state with constitutionally defined heterosexual marriage has ever ruled that marital status has any impact on domestic violence laws. The Ohio Supreme Court affirmed that their marriage protection amendment would not affect the application of the state domestic violence laws.

Morality is inextricable from prosperity and self-government.

In penning the Northwest Ordinance, Thomas Jefferson wrote, “religion, morality and knowledge” are “necessary to good government.”

George Washington in his Farewell Address stated, “Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports.”

George Mason in the Virginia Declaration of Rights wrote, “That no free government, or the blessings of liberty, can be preserved to any people but by a firm adherence to justice, moderation, temperance, frugality and virtue, and by frequent recurrence to fundamental principles.”

None of us is perfect, but as a society, we must set standards for the good of the whole. A vote yes for marriage between one man and one woman is not a vote against the rights or well-being of our gay friends and relatives. It is an affirmation for the society we all enjoy and hope to preserve for our children, born and unborn.

Constitutional amendments keep judges from defining marriage.

If not defined by constitution, same-sex couples married in other states where these unions are recognized can move to states without a constitutional statement and sue to have their “marriages” recognized. These types of lawsuits have been filed across the country and prompted many states to act, including TexasOklahomaPennsylvaniaNew JerseyWyomingNew MexicoNebraskaMissouriIndiana, and Rhode Island. In the lawsuits, same-sex couples demanded that the definition of marriage for everyone be permanently changed.

Some argue that same-sex marriage should be allowed for the protection of children adopted into those partnerships. According to the Williams Institute, a gay think tank at UCLA, only 22% of same-sex couples are raising children. Because the number of same-sex couples is so small, and because so few of them are raising children, only 0.12 percent of U.S. households constitute same-sex couples raising children.

Some believe that marriage should be handled exclusively by the church and that everything pertaining to agreements between adults should be under the purview of contract law. Such a break may make for easier debate, yet marriage plays such an inextricable role in creating and holding society together, it may be impossible to separate its definition from the governance of society.

Carla Garrison follows current events with one eye on history and the other on the future. As a follower of Christ, her goal is to encourage people to know the truth and use it as a call to personal action. Read more at Truth be Told.

Follow Carla on Twitter and Facebook.


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Carla Garrison

Carla writes about current issues and events with an aim toward telling the truth, using the writings of great thinkers, dead and living, as well as common sense.

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