Why do we support marriage as a union of one man and one woman?


It’s not about romance. And it’s not about the desires of adults.

Speaking before lawmakers in Indiana yesterday, Ryan Anderson eloquently stated why the state has an interest in marriage that goes beyond our feelings and emotions:

“Whenever a child is born, a mother will always be close by. That’s a fact of biology. The question for culture and the question for law is: Will a father be close by? And if so, for how long? Marriage is the institution that different cultures and societies across time and place developed to maximize the likelihood that that man commits to that woman, and that the two of them take responsibility to raise that child….” 

“The state’s interest in marriage is not that it cares about my love life, or your love life, or anyone’s love life just for the sake of romance. The state’s interest in marriage is ensuring that those kids have fathers who are involved in their lives.

Well stated.

Actually, I encourage you all to watch Ryan Anderson’s testimony to the Indiana House Judiciary. Take 11 minutes to brush up on the best and most sound defenses of why the state should define marriage as a man and a woman.




  • http://CatholicVote Christina Delgado

    Brilliant arguments. Thank you for your courage to speak the TRUTH.

  • Mike Conley

    That is fine and I believe your church can work to pursue that goal. However, what good serve to keep two people that do love each other from marrying? If they had a child through adoption would two parents be better than one? This argument is completely hollow as well when those who cannot have children (because of age or infertility) are not restricted from marriage.

    This is only about enforcing the version of marriage that you and your church are comfortable with the power of the state. It isn’t about a “harm” being done to anyone else.

    • Joshua Mercer

      The state doesn’t really have an interest in affirming relationships. So why would you have the state affirm the relationship of two lesbian women or two gay men? Is the purpose of the state giving out marriage licenses to affirm the relationship of two adults — and nothing more? If we want to talk about visitation rights, or inheritance, or health care — or any benefits… laws can be passed to allow any couple to establish benefit arrangements. The only coupling which produces human life (which needs feeding and caring and rearing) is a man-woman couple. We have called this unique arrangement marriage. It is right and proper for our society (both in culture and in law) to ensure as best as we can any child created has the support of the mother and father who created them. When that is not possible (as in my wife’s case), we should try to find a substitute mother and father. Did you notice in this comment, as well as my blog post, that I needed to appeal to religious dogma and doctrines? That’s because the reality of creating human life is obvious, or should be. Every child is created by a mother and a father. We the people have a duty to make sure that we pass laws to give each child the best chance of being raised by a mom and a dad. Changing the definition of marriage — refusing to recognize the unique role of mother and father in creating new human life — will harm the next generation. Just as divorce caused unbelievable harm to my generation. (Oh, and yes, I favor ending divorce, but failing that, I have called for it to at least be reformed: http://www.catholicpulse.com/cp/en/columnists/mercer/121012.html)

      • Jack Mason

        Has it ever occurred to you that your definition of marriage is inaccurate?

        • Joshua Mercer

          No. I freely admit, it has not occurred to me to think marriage should mean something other than a male-female couple. Even if you give it another name, the male-female couple remains the only pairing which creates new human life. That’s a biological fact. We have used the term marriage to describe the lifelong commitment of this man and woman for the purposes of raising any child they create.

          • Jack Mason

            Biology is the study of nature. Marriage is simply a contract between two people created by individual States. Where in biology is there any evidence that your definition of marriage is accurate? Simply because it takes a male sperm and a female egg to create a fetus doesn’t make your definition accurate. We, as human beings, do not exist solely to pro-create. You’re asking our society to accept your chosen religions’ definition of marriage with no supporting evidence. God isn’t nature and nature isn’t God.

          • Joshua Mercer

            I did not say that marriage was a biological fact. I said it was a biological fact that a male-female coupling is the only pairing that can create a human person. What we choose to do about this biological fact is up to us, of course. I suggest that society maintain its support for marriage as a unique role of one man and one woman. Of course, people get married for a host of reasons: love, intimacy, companionship, starting a family, and many more reasons. All those are great reasons but the state is really only getting involved to ensure that any children created in such unions (marriages) are fed, sheltered, reared, and loved.

            Also, you state that marriage is simply a contract. That’s baloney. I signed a contract with Verizon Wireless. I did not marry them. What man would show a ring to a prospective fiancee and say: “Will you enter into a contract with me?” Of course marriage is a legal contract, but it is so much more than that.

      • Steve W

        Well, at one time, the “purpose of the State giving out marriage licenses” was to, as they put it, “protect the public health by requiring blood tests as a prerequisite of obtaining a marriage license”. The license was proof that the State accepted the tests that were done. BUT.. this was held to be a tool of discrimination – doctors would proclaim a couple’s blood “incompatible” if they were of different races. So, the blood test requirement – and with it, the ONLY justification for State issued marriage licenses – was discarded. Now, the primary purposes of State-issued marriage licenses, are: 1) to generate revenue through licensing fees (licenses are sold, not “given out”), and 2) to necessitate court involvement in divorce (a person’s “right to associate” should include a right to end an association at will – but a judge is required to “un-officiate” a marriage license).

        The right to marry (with a consenting adult) – the right to assemble a family by marriage – is an exercise of the First Amendment “Right to Assemble”, and like the legal right to speak (blasphemy), and the legal right to worship (non-Christian faiths)… the LAW must recognize and protect the right to assemble (a family that does not conform to Christian definitions of “family”).

        The Church does NOT have to recognize same-sex marriages – but the LAW must do so.

      • Steve W

        So… would you recognize a marriage between a man and a woman, when both are over age 65 and the woman is diagnosed as incurably, permanently infertile? That couple can not have children, so, what purpose would it serve to allow them to marry?

        • Dan

          Straw man. Anderson’s premise was that society takes interest in marriage in order to attempt to ensure the proper care of offspring resulting from the union; not to affirm romantic relationships.

  • Steve W

    He makes a reasonable argument here…. for limiting divorces when spouses have children together. It says absolutely NOTHING about the actual question: What is the state’s interest in denying anyone’s right to assemble a family by marriage with any other consenting adult?

    Is there some REQUIREMENT that people have children? Does the law (or the Church) demand that everyone procreate, and/or apply penalties to people who choose not to? Does ANY law even require me to marry ANYONE? Because, if celibacy is a legal choice for me, and childlessness is a legal choice for me, then the State interest in children I do not have, does not exist.

    It is false to say that churches would be required to betray their faith and recognize same-sex families assembled by marriage. The First Amendment protects religious freedom, and such a demand would certainly violate the First Amendment. (Of course, this Amendment also protects the right of Muslims to worship Allah – which violates a Jewish and Christian Commandment – but the Constitution’s absolute guarantee of a Muslim’s religious freedom, does not require any Jewish or Christian church to recognize Allah.)

    The First Amendment protects another important human right – the right to assemble. Marriage is an exercise of this right. You know.. “what God has here assembled [etc..]” It is an article of faith that God assembles marriages – but the debate here is about which marriage assemblies the LAW must recognize – and, just as the law must protect religions that violate the Second Commandment by worshipping a god you don’t recognize, so too, the law must recognize and allow marriage assemblies that violate your doctrine and are not recognized by you. The First Amendment requires this.

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  • Rajesh

    Man and man living together or Woman and woman living together will lead to end of humanity. Even of they adopt a child and bring up, what will they teach the child about human union as man and man or woman and woman…..what ?

    • Jack Mason

      Are you suggesting that the 90% 0f the population that is heterosexual will stop having children simply because gays are allowed to marry?

      • Steve W

        Jack, I think that IS part of what the author is saying. I think the belief is that if the State accepts same-sex marriage, that will be seen as acceptance of same-sex lifestyles… which will cause more people to pursue same-sex lifestyles instead of seeking an opposite sex partner… which will result in fewer heterosexual marriages.

        Of course, to believe that, one must first believe that there are a number of people who have same-sex desires but who stifle them in order to conform to social pressure to be heterosexual, AND one must feel that the use of social pressure to dictate one’s desires, affections and actions, (i.e., to DENY the Free Will that God saw fit to GRANT to Adam & Eve) is a right, proper and noble purpose in society.

        I wonder… if I built a time machine that could transport a group of religious leaders back to Eden… would they form a ring around the Tree of Knowledge in order to block Eve’s access, would they say, not just “don’t eat that fruit”, but actually “we won’t let you eat that fruit”? I think they would – I think THEY THINK they know better than God!

        • Joshua Mercer

          If the state allows same-sex marriage, it will have the effect (culturally) of greater acceptance of same-sex lifestyles. I don’t think either side of this issue really disputes that. But I am not suggesting that this would lead to less marriages between men and women. It may or may not. My objection is that if two men or two women are considered a married couple, then charities who refuse to allow adoptions to same-sex couples will be forced to do so or shut down. That has happened in Boston, Washington DC, and Illinois. Changing the marriage law in several of the states has certainly lead to a greater acceptance of same sex couples. But social acceptance is not the only goal. The state is increasingly being used to punish bakers, photographers, and Christian adoption agencies.

          • Steve W

            I agree with you regarding the “bakers, photographers and CHRISTIAN adoption agencies” – the State should not compel people (the bakers & photographers) to do business with anyone against their will. If an entrepreneur’s religious principles inspire them to decline a sale, that should definitely be their right under 1st Amdt religious freedom. Compelling the involuntary service (which also stirs thoughts of 13th Amdt protections..), to serve the interests of the same-sex marriage advocate groups is wrong – for the EXACT SAME REASON that asking the STATE to deny same sex couples their Right to Assemble their families by legal marriage (and state-agency adoption), ONLY to serve the interests of same-sex marriage opposition groups (including the Church), is wrong.

            Decline to perform same-sex wedding ceremonies in your church, as a violation of your holy doctrine – I accept that, in fact I fully support your right to decline ANY recognition of those marriages IN YOUR CHURCH. But, over at the marriage license office, the ONLY doctrine they MUST follow, is the Constitution and the law – and I believe emphatically that these REQUIRE State recognition and equal protection (outside the realm of the Church) of the Assembly rights of same sex couples. So long as there IS a marriage licensing system within State law, it must not discriminate – but if the whole marriage licensing scheme, combined with the legal benefits afforded to marriage assembled couples, were ever to be scrapped for violation of the Right to Assemble – THEN, marriage would return to its former status as a purely religious function, and religious doctrines would define and govern marriage.

        • Jack Mason

          Steve, that’s a great analogy and a great point. As a sidenote, I was always curious why God didn’t want us to eat the fruit from the tree of knowledge. It seems to me that the fruit from the tree of knowledge is data obtained by experiencing our existence. Why would God not want us to experience our existence?

  • http://Www.yahoo.com Dianne

    Marriage should AWAYS be between a man and a woman. Period, end of message. Any questions? Talk to God.

    • John

      God didn’t create marriage. Or at least, the Catholic “God” didn’t. Marriage has been around for much longer than the Catholic Bible has been. Beena marriages were a pre-Islamic Arabic form of marriage that goes back before recorded history, or is that just a myth like dinosaurs? I mean, I guess we could follow the Bible though. Then women would have to quit trying to make something of themselves and just be a “virtuous wife” like the Bible says. In other words, go make me a sandwich!

      • Jack Mason

        John, spot on and very humorous.

      • Steve W

        John… I don’t think that anybody who practices Christian faith and follows the Bible, believes that God came into existence when the Bible was written. But that’s what you’re saying: “marriage is older than God, because marriage is older than the Bible”. That’s just not logic, sorry. We could debate whether or not God exists (or has ever existed), but those who believe in God and follow the Bible, God is – by definition – older than everything in the Universe, He is credited with creating the whole thing!



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