Subject Areas


Saving Our Society

Can we hold onto our virtues?

The Threat to Marriage and the Family

A recent newspaper guest columnist (Kevin Foley) writes that no one has explained how “same sex marriage threatens the institution of marriage.” The following is my response. His statement that “Marriage, after all is a private contract between two people” and is “nobody else’s business” exposes his ignorance of the institution. On the contrary, marriage is a very public affair, sanctioned by the state, religions and the community. 

The family is the basic unit of civilization, of utmost importance to successful societies. Families were not invented by priests or kings, but arose in the earliest times to advance humanity beyond primitive conditions.

Civilization prospered by forming small, cooperative groups; foremost among which was the family. Fathers were protectors and providers, and mothers labored at bearing, caring for and educating the children, fulfilling essential function of creating a new generation equipped to maintain society. Marriage is the community’s acknowledgement that a man and a woman have joined together to create such a family.

Christianity, Judaism and other religions solemnize marriage for their adherents through ceremonies such as weddings. Implicit in the ceremony is that the children will be raised according to the community’s values. In other words, the family provides continuity into the future. Although civil marriages have no religious context, they serve to formalize the same goals: to secure the future of the community.

Understanding the crucial importance of families, governments have provided special incentives to enable families to survive, reproduce and to care for their children. These incentives are neither “rights” nor “privileges” but are established by the community to assist families in their indispensable role of providing for posterity.

Foley portrays gay marriage as a civil rights issue; but it is not. Gay couples can live together without government interference; they can contract between themselves, make mutual wills, and name each other in powers of attorney and in living wills. In short, they can do what any other couples do, except to provide children to continue civilization. Instead of being a civil right, “gay marriage” would create special legal and financial privileges for a self-selected group of individuals, while providing no discernible benefit to society.

Gay advocates say that “love” is grounds for legal recognition, but society has never accepted such a proposal. Entering a loving relationship — either heterosexual or homosexual — is a matter of personal choice and does not justify any special support from society.

It is obvious that marriage often fails to fulfill society’s goals. Some families choose not to — or are unable to — have children. Other families fall apart and nullify the advantages of having two parents. Even more frightening is the number of children born to unwed mothers: children who will never have the guidance of a father. 

Widespread dissolution of family integrity plagues society with many under-educated, under-civilized young people who are not equipped to maintain our culture. This is a daunting problem that would only be acerbated by inserting the utterly indefensible concept of the “gay marriage” family to the problem.

Mr. Foley fails to give reasoned, logical support for his claims; his rants are not a suitable substitute for knowledgeable argument. 

Foley proposes that past discrimination against gays is grounds for marriage licenses today: This is an illogical and unworkable remedy for past sins. He implies that the absence of legal gay marriage causes suffering equal to that experienced by African slaves and their descendants: a gross and idiotic assertion. 

Citing President Obama’s personal opinion that gays should be married, so that they can access “legal rights and benefits not otherwise available,” is hardly compelling evidence supporting his argument.

Mr. Foley rejects Godas the creator of marriages. I have no direct insight into this matter. But, however marriages came to be, I feel confident that the plight of gay couples was not the primary consideration.

Ignoring the importance of marriage and families will destroy society

Originally published in the Marietta Daily Journal