To the contrary

What’s the interest of government in marriage?

Special to The HeraldJuly 11, 2014 

“Marriage: The act of uniting a man and a woman for life … Marriage was instituted by God Himself for the purpose of preventing the promiscuous intercourse of the sexes, for promoting domestic felicity, and for securing the maintenance and education of children.” – Noah Webster’s 1828 American Dictionary of the English Language.

Oregon, Utah and Pennsylvania are the latest in a seeming epidemic of recent decisions by federal judges in striking down state marriage laws and constitutions. Federal judges who have disenfranchised voters in substituting their own will for the will of the people. Men and women in black robes who have overstepped their constitutional authority in taking upon themselves the task of redefining the institution of marriage and illustrating an arrogance that is beyond comprehension.

Add to that an attorney general of the United States who abdicates his constitutional duty by refusing to defend laws enacted by Congress, who oversteps his constitutional authority in granting legal recognition to homosexual “marriage” in states where it is illegal and lex rex, the law is king, has become rex lex, the king is law.

While homosexuality certainly violates the moral law, it is not a requirement that everything that is immoral should be illegal. It is immoral to get drunk but the government has no interest in a citizen who gets drunk in the privacy of his home. Let a drunk individual get behind the wheel of an automobile on public streets, and it is an entirely different matter. The law should encourage that which is virtuous, but trying to suppress every vice sometimes makes matters worse, as we saw in prohibition, where illegal alcohol spawned murder and mayhem.

So why the objection to grant legal recognition to homosexual marriage? One of the roles of government enshrined in our Constitution is that its primary duty is to “promote the general welfare,” not individual welfare. Constitutionally, our laws should promote what is collectively best for citizens as a whole. While they should protect individual rights, they should not promote what is best for particular individuals or groups of individuals at the expense of the citizenry.

So the question becomes, “Why should we have marriage laws in the first place?” The answer is to encourage and strengthen marriage because in the normal course of things marriage leads to children and we can’t have strong families without strong marriages.

The government has an interest in whether or not families are strong because the family is the building block of society. Families produce children, shelter and nurture them, teach them how to be good citizens. Families teach children to grow up and take on social responsibility so that they will get married and have children. The cycle repeats itself and the future of the nation is secure.

If this cycle doesn’t happen, children grow up to be irresponsible, families become dysfunctional, everyone suffers. The culture dies and the nation descends into chaos.

Even the most liberal among us can’t take an honest look at our culture today and say that the devaluation of marriage has been a good thing. We spend billions every year on social pathologies directly traceable to the breakup of marriage. Our prisons are full of young men who grew up in fatherless homes.

Leaving aside the moral question, this makes homosexuality irrelevant to the discussion of marriage. Homosexuals have nothing to do with the purpose of government giving legal recognition to marriage. Homosexuals don’t keep the generational wheels turning.

The primary purpose of sex is procreation. The overwhelming majority of heterosexual marriages do produce children. Homosexual unions can’t be anything but sterile.

One may argue the case for adoption or in vitro fertilization by homosexuals, but two people of the same sex cannot possibly provide the nurture that a parent of each sex can provide. Social research makes an overwhelming case that children thrive best with a mom and dad, not a mom and mom or a dad and dad.

The argument is made that two people who love and are committed to each other should be able to marry. While love is important to any marriage, government is not interested in love per se, but in encouraging a social institution whereby the next generation of citizens can be protected and nurtured.

If love outside of procreation were the government’s primary consideration, then people could marry their dog, cat, a person of the same sex or multiple partners, and the concept of marriage as understood from the dawn of civilization would become meaningless. What is the harm in letting homosexuals marry? While not every law promotes a moral principal, the law is a teacher. It lends an air of respectability to what is legal, and the goal of homosexual activists in seeking legal marriage is simply to legitimize their lifestyle. Giving legal recognition to homosexual marriage teaches that marriage and procreation have nothing to do with each other. It renders the word marriage meaningless and if the word is meaningless the institution itself becomes meaningless.

When the basic building block of society becomes meaningless, the society will eventually collapse. We have already damaged marriage enough as it is, why accelerate the process?

The author is a resident of Fort Mill.

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