With opinions on the definition of marriage flooding your news feed today, you’ll probably come across a few comments to the tune of “the government shouldn’t be involved with marriage in the first place.”
There is a reason the government is involved and it’s because of this reason that we should not be redefining marriage away from its long-standing definition.
Primary purpose of marriage
Having policy on marriage is rooted in the primary purpose of marriage – caring for the next generation.
“Marriage is society’s least restrictive means of ensuring the well-being of children.” – Ryan T. Anderson
“Marriage is a socially arranged solution for the problem of getting people to stay together and care for children that the mere desire for children, and the sex that makes children possible, does not solve.” – Sociologist James Q. Wilson
“[T]he state has an interest in promoting the familial arrangement whereby a mother and a father raise the children which came from their union. The state has been in the marriage business for the common good and for the well-being of the society it is supposed to protect. Kids do better with a mom and a dad. Communities do better when husbands and wives stay together.” – Pastor Kevin DeYoung
Why do we offer marriage licenses in the first place?
Government became interested in marriage licenses and marriage policy as a means to help children be cared for by their mom & dad; rather than making them wards of the state. You could go back all the way to the English Parliament passing the Marriage Act of 1753 – requiring a relationship to be formally and publicly declared a marriage in order to gain state recognition. Without the government handing out licenses and knowing who was married, it was increasingly impossible, due to urbanization, to know what man to hold responsible to care for “fatherless” children.
There is a uniqueness in a mother and father committing to care for each other and any kids they raise and thus this relationship is worth unique treatment in our policy on marriage. And it’s a primary reason why 50 million Americans in 30 states voted to have an amendment placed in their state’s constitution defining marriage this way.
Social Justice and Equality
Besides the Supreme Court steps, another top site for news cameras is Baltimore. When we analyze what’s happening there, the problem is not the fires and violence over the last few days – though that needs to be combated and controlled. The root problem involve deeper issues like brewing animosity towards police authority and a call for social justice.
In the same way with marriage in America, the root problem is not with the recent actions by courts redefining marriage policy – though defending marriage from redefinition is critical. It is more our society increasingly being built on broken marriages, single-parent homes and fatherlessness and a need for men and women to get back to what our marriage policy has historically been rooted in.
Violence should not be the answer to “social justice” and redefining marriage should not be the answer to “equality.” We can live equally in America while promoting the “socially arranged solution” of marriage as a union of husband and wife caring for the well-being of our children and our children’s children.