Marriage Is More Than Just an Emotional Bond

This week, the fate of traditional marriage rests precariously in the hands of the nine unelected justices of the Supreme Court.   Keep in mind, historically, traditional marriage has been upheld by American jurisprudence as the union of one man and one woman.

This morning on MSNBC the Heritage Foundation’s Ryan T. Anderson discussed the conservative view of marriage.  He contends that the nine Supreme Court justices should not be the sole arbiters of the definition of marriage in the U.S.

In response to the question of whether marriage is a fundamental right that should be extended to same-sex couples, he contends that while marriage has to be color-blind, it cannot be gender-blind.

MSNBC contributor Jonathan Capehart disagreed with Anderson.  Capehart prefers to base his arbitrary definition of marriage on being “in love,” and on what same-sex couples “want,” including “dignity and respect.”  He erroneously contends that same-sex couples are no different from heterosexual couples that want to get married.

It is simply not true that there is no difference between homosexual couples and heterosexual couples, unless one uses the tenuous and subjective standard of “being in love,” which is an emotionally based rather than a rationally, historically, or biologically based definition.

As the Heritage Foundation has explained, marriage is and always has been about more than meeting the emotional needs of consenting adults; any legal argument that ignores this reality is a poor and flawed one:

That is the nub of the Equal Protection issue. If marriage as an institution were only about the relationships adults form among themselves, it would undoubtedly violate Equal Protection for a state (or the U.S. Congress) not to recognize as marriage any adult relationship seeking that recognition. But marriage is and always has been about much more than the self-fulfillment of adult relationships, as history, common sense, legal precedent, and the trial record in the Hollingsworth case itself demonstrate. Because the institution of marriage is the principal manner in which society structures the critically important functions of procreation and the rearing of children, it has long been recognized as “one of the cornerstones of our civilized society.”  The Supreme Court itself noted more than a century ago that “the union for life of one man and one woman” is “the sure foundation of all that is stable and noble in our civilization.”

Moreover, basing the definition of marriage on merely the emotions and desires of adults would allow the government to redefine marriage however it wants:

In recent decades, marriage has been weakened by a revisionist view that is more about adults’ desires than children’s needs. This reduces marriage to a system to approve emotional bonds or distribute legal privileges.

Redefining marriage to include same-sex relationships is the culmination of this revisionism, and it would leave emotional intensity as the only thing that sets marriage apart from other bonds. Redefining marriage would further distance marriage from the needs of children and would deny, as a matter of policy, the ideal that a child needs both a mom and a dad. Decades of social science, including the latest studies using large samples and robust research methods, show that children tend to do best when raised by a mother and a father. The confusion resulting from further delinking childbearing from marriage would force the state to intervene more often in family life and expand welfare programs. Redefining marriage would legislate a new principle that marriage is whatever emotional bond the government says it is. (emphasis added)

This debate is not about what any person wants marriage to be.  It is about what marriage is. Same-sex relationships and opposite-sex relationships are different by nature.  No one is arguing that same-sex couples should not be allowed to live and love as they please.  Indeed, same-sex couples are already allowed to do so in every state in this country.  However, they should not be able to redefine marriage for everyone else.

Please Share Your Thoughts