30 Home Truths on Marriage
With marriage so heavily under attack today, it is worth once again reminding ourselves just what marriage is, what its purpose is, and why it is important. It is also vital to get some clear thinking on what homosexual marriage entails. I have already written many articles and books on all this, but in an age of unreason and mass confusion, restating basic truths becomes a duty.
Here then in outline form (see the documentation for all this in my books) are some basic truths about marriage and family which we must always keep at the forefront of the debates raging all around us today.
Marriage (the union of a man and a woman) has been around throughout human history and throughout all human cultures. While various variations on the theme can be found, marriage has always been primarily about male-female pair bonding, recognized socially and legally because of any children which may proceed from such a union.
The state did not invent marriage. It simply recognized an already existing vitally important institution. Thus the state can no more redefine the essential nature of marriage than it can the law of gravity. The laws of nature which explain the complementary union of a man and a woman to become a husband and wife are inviolate.
A husband and wife are always potentially mothers and fathers, because of the male-female union. Marriage at its heart involves the conjugal act, where coitus marks genuine marriage apart from non-marriage, as our laws have recognized. Homosexual unions of course by their very nature do not and cannot entail the conjugal act.
It is exactly because human sexuality is fundamentally connected with the possibility of procreation that societies, and the state, have taken such an eager interest in marriage. All societies are built on the next generation, and no institution exists which does a better job of raising and rearing the next generation than heterosexual marriage.
That some heterosexual married couples cannot have children, or do not want children, does nothing to change the primary purpose and function of marriage. An unread book is still a book, regardless if its primary purpose is not being actualised. So too, marriage remains what it is, despite the exception of infertile couples.
Marriage has always existed to unite a man and a woman as a husband and a wife, and equip them to be a mother and a father if any children arise from their union. If children had nothing to do with marriage then the state would have nothing to do with marriage. But the state has a pressing interest in how the next generation is treated, since society itself is dependent on this.
Marriage is not companionship – many intense emotional relationships exist, but they are not necessarily marriage relationships. The state has no interest in many other sorts of relationships, even emotionally intensive ones. Two elderly sisters living together would have strong emotional attachments to each other, and a fond love for one another. But the state has no interest in legislating concerning such a relationship, primarily because it is non-marital in nature.
Close friendships are also another important type of relationship, but governments have no interest in legislating on their behalf, or extending to them special entitlements reserved for married couples. Societies extend benefits to heterosexual married couples because of all the great benefits such couples give to society.
Marriage carries with it the expectation of permanence and exclusivity. It is meant to last, and it is meant to exclude all others. That is again a safeguard for any children which come about from that union. The first major redefinition of marriage in the West occurred when no-fault divorce laws replaced fault-based legislation. These laws struck deeply at the heart of the permanent and exclusive nature of marriage.
Not every marriage has children, but every child should have a mother and father, and marriage increases the likelihood of this. Marriage is what keeps a mother and father connected to any offspring that come about from the conjugal union. Children desperately need and have a right to their own biological mother and father as much as is possible.
The social science research is abundantly clear that children do best, on average and for the most part, when raised in an intact, two-parent heterosexual married family. Social pathologies such as increased risk of drug abuse, poor educational performance, suicide, and criminal activity all go up, as the research makes plain, when children are raised in other family structures.
As with any rule, there are exceptions to this, but generally speaking, children fare best by all social indicators when raised in the traditional two-parent family. Because children do thrive in this family structure, governments have – or should have – an interest in promoting that sort of family structure, while discouraging other types which are less conducive to child wellbeing.
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