Why Marriage? by Tom McClintock

© 2005 Tom McClintock

Reproduced under the Fair Use exception of 17 USC § 107 for noncommercial, nonprofit, and educational use.


 

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June 14, 2005 — The argument for "gay marriage" is founded on the premise that marriage is simply a profound statement of devotion made between individuals, and denying homosexual couples this option is therefore discriminatory. It is a classic case of a perfectly logical conclusion arising from a perfectly false premise.

Marriage is an institution that exists in nature — it is the institution through which we propagate our species and inculcate our young with the intrinsic social behaviors that human society requires.

A child does not ask to be brought into this world — it is summoned by the willful act of a man and a woman. By so doing, that man and woman acquire a profound responsibility to the child — and to each other in the raising of the child.

A body of law has grown up around this natural institution. A marriage is solemnized to legally establish the unique tapestry of duties and responsibilities inherent in raising a child. Spouses cannot capriciously walk away from their responsibility to the family they have created. Their resources and earnings are pooled to assure the mother has the support and security she will rely upon as she makes the sacrifices of motherhood. Inheritance is arranged so that the resources of the family pass immediately to the surviving spouse to carry on the responsibilities both have mutually entered.

Centuries of experience have shaped the legal status given to marriage. Not the least of this experience is that children acquire critical social understanding from both the mother and the father, and that such an environment offers by far the best chance of successful social and emotional maturation for the children. Other experience also enters into the law. Polygamy is forbidden because of the stresses it places on the stability of the home. Marriage involving unemancipated minors is forbidden, as is marriage between close relatives.

It is true that some marriages are childless by either fate or design. But that does not alter the fundamental institution or the desirability of a society establishing, maintaining and protecting it.

This traditional concept of marriage has been undermined to the point that a third of all children are today born out of wedlock. No-fault divorce laws have weakened the responsibility parents have to maintain a stable environment. Welfare laws have made fathers disposable by replacing their earnings with a more reliable check from the state. Out-of-wedlock births that were once the object of societal disapproval are now casually accepted.

And the societal damage is substantial. A wealth of sociological data warns that a child raised outside of a traditional marriage faces much greater obstacles in becoming a well-adjusted adult.

One aspect of the assault on marriage is the movement now afoot to blur the distinction between marriage and homosexual partnerships. And it's an important distinction. A partnership exists when two or more individuals come together to associate with each other on mutually agreeable terms for a defined purpose. In partnerships the only responsibilities are to the other partners under terms freely negotiated and agreed to by them. No third party is involuntarily summoned into it. A homosexual relationship is obviously in the nature of a partnership and not a marriage.

True, some homosexual couples seek to raise children. But such an arrangement does not alter the fact that it is a fundamentally different relationship than a marriage. Nor does it negate the child's right and need to draw fundamental and unique sociological guidance from both a mother and a father. No matter how loving and caring, a homosexual couple cannot offer that.

Abraham Lincoln once asked, "If you call a tail a leg, how many legs has a dog? The answer is four. Calling a tail a leg doesn't make it one."

Nor does calling a homosexual relationship a marriage.

 

Senator McClintock represents the Nineteenth District in the California Legislature and his email address is tom.mcclintock@sen.ca.gov .

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| EJF Home | Find Help | Join the EJF | Comments? | Get EJF newsletter |

 

| Families And Marriage Book | Abstract | Family site map | Family index |

 

| Chapter 1 — Marriage, The Bedrock Of Civilization |

| Next — Marriage And The Limits Of Contract by Jennifer Roback Morse, Ph.D. |


 

Added January 24, 2006

Last modified 4/11/15