Ryan T. Anderson has a great series of articles about marriage at Ricochet, released in conjunction with his new book, co-authored with Sherif Girgis and Robert P. George, What Is Marriage? Man and Woman: A Defense.
In the first installment, published on Dec. 10, Anderson discusses why marriage matters. He also debunks one of the flimsy arguments homosexual activists and their apologists try to use to divert attention from the real issue, i.e. that homosexual “unions” in no meaningful way resemble real marriage. That dodge is that conservatives are “obsessed about sex” or that we are ‘obsessed with homosexual behavior.” As Anderson aptly points out, this fight for the truth was forced on us by homosexual activists; we did not choose this focus, but merely defend that is right. Further, conservatives have been engaged in the defense of marriage going back to the 1960s and 1970s when “no-fault” divorce began to shred the stability of society; this was long before anyone was insane enough to utter the words “homosexual” and “marriage” in connection with one another.
In Anderson’s second part, “So, What Is Marriage?,” he attempts to break marriage down into its component parts and meaning. Not that long ago, everyone instinctively understood what marriage is, without even thinking about it–there was no need to articulate it, since everyone understood it. But now that we have homosexual activists attempting to hijack and counterfeit marriage in an effort to use it as a device to legitimize a sexual union that can never be legitimate, we suddenly find ourselves having to explain the obvious to spoiled five-year-olds (a task that can be tremendously difficult, as anyone who has ever tried will tell you).
Anderson’s second part debunks the fallacy proffered by homosexual activists about “marriage equality”:
Why? Well, every law makes distinctions. Equality before the law protects citizens from arbitrary distinctions, from laws that treat them differently for no good reason. But in order to know if a law makes the right distinctions—if the lines it draws are justified—you have to know the public purpose of the law, and the nature of the good being advanced or protected.
The truth is, homosexuals already have marriage equality. Homosexuals are subject to the same requirements as everyone else in creating a marriage: marriage partners must be of legal age, consenting, not closely related…and you need a man and a woman. Just as you can’t create a bathroom with all male or female plumbing parts, and as you can’t make a sandwich without either the bread or the filling, and as you can’t join two mechanical parts without both nuts and bolts, so you can’t create a marriage without a man and a woman; simple science and biology makes this obvious.
As Anderson says, “…the sexual difference between a man and a woman is central to what marriage is.” The old bunk that illegitimately attempts to compare homosexual behavior to the innate, morally-neutral characteristic of skin color–it just doesn’t fly. A man and woman of different skin colors bring all the necessary equipment to form a marriage–and the children that are the natural and practical outcome of a mixed-race marriage are the proof. The skin color of the marriage partners is no more important than their hair or eye color. The color or shade of their skin is irrelevant; but if you try to join two penises or two vaginas, the combination is about as useful and rational as trying to create something using two bolts or two nuts–and just as absurd. It produces nothing of use to society, unlike a real marriage, which creates the next generation of that society and provides the best and most stable environment for the development of that next generation of society.
This segues into Anderson’s third part on “Why Is Government In the Marriage Business?” As he points out, it isn’t because government has a compelling interest in romance. It isn’t because government has a compelling interest in who has the hots for who. It isn’t because government has a compelling interest in who wants to hang out with whom for the rest of their lives (or until they get tired of each other). No, it is because of what I said in the last paragraph: because only a real marriage produces society’s next generation, and provides the optimum environment for the development of that next generation.
Even if you are self-centered enough not to care about the welfare of developing children, you should care about the billions of dollars that family instability costs the taxpayer each year–not to mention the cost to seemingly uninvolved citizens who bear the consequences of unstable children who act out that instability in the form of crime (vandalism, theft, assault, rape, murder, and other violence).
Anderson cites some of those taxpayer costs:
A study by the Left-leaning Brookings Institution finds that $229 billion in welfare spending between 1970 and 1996 can be attributed to the breakdown of the marriage culture and the resulting exacerbation of social ills: teen pregnancy, poverty, crime, drug abuse and health problems. A 2008 study found that divorce and unwed childbearing cost taxpayers $112 billion each year. And Utah State University scholar David Schramm has estimated that divorce alone costs local, state and federal government $33 billion each year.
As Anderson points out, there are even some Left-leaning experts out there who are willing to concede what has been obvious to every other previous generation of humanity:
Consider the conclusions of the Left-leaning research institution Child Trends:
[R]esearch clearly demonstrates that family structure matters for children, and the family structure that helps children the most is a family headed by two biological parents in a low-conflict marriage. Children in single-parent families, children born to unmarried mothers, and children in stepfamilies or cohabiting relationships face higher risks of poor outcomes. . . . There is thus value for children in promoting strong, stable marriages between biological parents. . . . [I]t is not simply the presence of two parents, . . . but the presence of two biological parents that seems to support children’s development.
There is simply no better combination for raising healthy, well-balanced boys and girls than the men and women who created them; this allows boys and girls to see first hand the proper behavior for both males and females, and to see first hand how males and females live and work together in complimentary and healthy fashions. Further, when you consider that no one will love and protect a child like the man and woman who created that child (we see this in the higher abuse rates in step-parents and cohabiting boyfriends, etc)., it becomes clear why a healthy society should be doing everything possible to foster and maintain the traditional marital home. The absolute disaster which family breakdown has caused in the black American community should sober all but the most frivolous and selfish liberal.
I have been publicly defending marriage for approaching a decade now, and have had occasion to break down in some detail precisely what marriage is, what makes it important, and why the state has a compelling interest in protecting it–as the state protects legal currency–from being counterfeited.
Others like the National Organization for Marriage have also put together some very clear and informative information about marriage, its meaning and importance. Still others have pointed out important truths about marriage, such as the fact that it is not a “friendship registry,” and the fact that there is no legal or practical basis for calling a homosexual union a “marriage.”
In addition to the importance to children and families, marriage and sexual normality must be defended in order to protect religious freedom; sexual anarchy and religious freedom cannot peacefully coexist.
Some libertarians don’t believe government should be involved in marriage at all. As a person who also believes in limited government (though from a conservative perspective rather than a libertarian one), I sympathize with the libertarian desire to get government’s grubby hands off anything we can. However, it is both naive and unrealistic to expect that government would have no connection with the institution of marriage. Maybe–maybe–once we get government out of the unconstitutional welfare and entitlement business, as well as taxation based on marital and family status, it could possibly be practical to consider a governmental hands-off position on marriage. But until that happens (and I wholly support a return to constitutional limited government), marriage and the state sanction of it will be utterly inseparable. (Besides, many segments of the church have become so compromised by secular liberalism that I have doubts the church would be an adequate defender of marriage). If we try, we will be throwing the sheep of marriage to the wolves of the Left–and marriage is vastly too important to the stability of society to do that. The best we can do for the foreseeable future is to defend marriage from being counterfeited and “redefined” (as much as you can “redefine” the meaning of “hot” or “cold” or “good” or “evil”
Those who care about marriage, family, truth, and the welfare of our society should do all they can to educate themselves on this important issues, so that they can clearly articulate these principles to policy makers and their fellow Americans. Be mindful, though, that most homosexual activists are utterly disinterested in facts, science, truth or reality–and more than a handful of of their “useful idiot” policy makers are similarly hostile to the truth; don’t let their hostility dissuade you from articulating the truth, because you never know who you may get through to.
Marriage is infinitely too important to surrender to shallow emotionalism, fallacous arguments, laziness, and a fruitless quest to legitimize a behavior that will never have legitimacy. It’s time the grownups stood up and put an end to the insanity.