Why Does the Government Recognize Marriage?

To many, that question might sound like the kind of philosophical, thought-provoking question that might be asked in college-level public policy or US government course – but the answer is central to the Gay Marriage debate. The only legal argument that Gay Marriage proponents have on their side is one interpretation of the Equal Protection Clauses found in the US and State Constitutions. Those who support this interpretation argue that current marriage restrictions deny Gays the right to marry. But this argument only holds up if the primary purpose of our government is to make people happy and comfortable, rather than make the country stronger.

If the purpose of the government is, as I believe, to help promote and protect policies that help keep the country strong and prosperous (in this case, the kind of traditional marriages necessary to create and maintain the strong families our country needs), then the Equal Protection Clause is not violated by a ban on Gay Marriage – because, as strange as this may sound, it only prevents Gay Marriages, and not marriages involving Gays. Homosexuals are free to marry members of the opposite sex, and Heterosexuals are no more able to marry members of the same gender than Gays are.  Although this may not satisfy their personal attractions, it is no more discriminatory than a drinking-age law that feels more restrictive to a teenager inclined to drink as opposed to, say, a teenager who’s religion forbids alcohol consumption.

It is only when an alternative theory of government, one that says it exists to make people happy and comfortable, is used that Marriage amendments and the Defense of Marriage Act appears to be illegal. Only if you believe that the Government recognizes marriage because it wants all its citizens to be happy (which it may, but what other policies demonstrate this view?), do you have a legitimate argument that Gay Marriage is protected under existing law – and thus a legitimate reason to attempt to circumvent or overrule the will of the people through the court system.

Of course the “happy and comfortable” argument has hidden dangers that even many advocated of Gay Marriage may not support. If the government exists to make people happy, rather than promote stable social bonds that provide a return benefit, then how do you deny marriage rights to others groups, such as those who want polygamy, sibling marriage, or even marriage to animals?  Also, if the government is required to make sure people are happy and comfortable, what arguments are left against the kind of European Welfare that has done irreparable – or at least lasting – damage to the economies of the EU? Socialized medicine, cradle-to-grave welfare, unemployment to those who have no desire to seek work – all of those are just one bill in Congress away if the government is supposed to provide for the physical and emotional comfort of each individual citizen.

Gay-Rights Activists are, of course, free to push for new legislation to allow them to marry, but it is only through a twisted, and dangerous, interpretation of the Constitution that they are attempting to overrule our Democratic process and use the courts to impose a radical and unpopular change to what constitutes a family.

26 Comments

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26 responses to “Why Does the Government Recognize Marriage?

  1. cjnorris

    Nice try except that divorces need to be adjudicated.

  2. Marriage is set apart by our people as the single institution designed to raise children. It used to be that the state saw its interest in seeing the next generation raised by a loving father and mother, and wrote laws to ensure that each child was entitled to such. Nowadays, our freedom to write such laws have been eroded by the Supreme Court and federal government, going far beyond the powers delegated to them. We have no power to ensure that sexual relations—the only activity by which children are created—occur only in a stable environment where children produced would be welcomed by a loving father and mother committed to each other and their family.

    Really, Homosexual Marriage (there is nothing “gay” about it) is the next step on our society’s decline to chaos and despair.

    We have lost the understanding of the importance of children, the family structure, and the dependence our society has on seeing the next generation raised in bonds of love. It’s only natural that a people so degenerate as us would not only tolerate, but accept such an affront to eternal principles of happiness.

    We are suffering terribly under the burden of children born to unwed mothers, mothers and fathers who simply can’t devote their entire lives to their love and their families. We see our prisons filled, our people’s lives empty and hollow without purpose, the only forms of pleasure watching debauchery on TV and in our movie houses, our music corroded until it is static noise interrupted by vulgar language of the most despicable sort, etc…

    Why are we like this? Simply because we fail to admit that the core institution in our society is the family, and that government must protect and sustain the family in order to protect the children, and that everyone has an interest in seeing wives and husbands love each other and their children and nothing else.

    Heck, even ancient Rome recognized the importance of the family and wrote laws to defend the institution and punish adultery and other crimes. I can’t think of any ancient society of any noteworthiness who didn’t do the same. We are not any different.

    If we’re going to reverse this trend, we need to teach the importance of chastity, the importance of the family, and how mothers and fathers should be committed to each other and their children. We need to publicly denounce debauchery in all its forms, ridicule it, point out how it is leading our society into trouble, and all the adverse effects of all harmful substances and behaviors including pornography and alcohol. We need to, as those who understand the importance of morality, valiantly defend it in the public square against the tidal surge of immorality that has swept the nation.

  3. Greg

    “as I believe”

    This is the subjective nature of your position.

    The government doesn’t need to be concerned whether or not people are married.

    The government keeping its citizens safe by which to engage in free choice of free markets is the concern for which pluralistic tax dollars are allocated.

    Happiness is a subjective emotional term utilized by each individual to decide personally his or her pursuit of such.

    Civil Rights are about EQUAL ACCESS for which it upholds EQUALITY = OPPORTUNITY

    UNLESS THERE IS A SOURCE FROM WHICH THE DEFINING OF MARRIAGE IS BY AN AUTHORITY, THEN IT IS DENYING ACCESS.

    The Source of the definition is SUBJECTIVE.

    Everyone’s Source for defining morals and values are vast, personal and subjective – emotional opinion. We don’t put civil rights to a vote by upholding one opinion over another when that opinion is at a cost to others without their consent.

    Get government out of this issue once and for all.

    Secular ceremonies for those who are not religious

    Churches still define marriage as they wish

    Contracts outline all issues of wealth, health and bequeathment

    No tax credits for marriage

    Only legal recognition is from a contract

    All ceremonies are symbolic as they are now

    To NOT demand government out of this issue to give freedom to ALL AMERICANS to decide their lives and define marriage as they wish, is to force AMERICANS to adopt and accept PERSONAL SUBJECTIVE DEFINITION of marriage.

    No one gets to decide how another should live; nor does anyone have authority or knowledge of how a person should live and what choices that person should make for self

    Trying to take ownership of marriage by defining and demanding others accept a definition and viewpoint is living your life at a cost to others without their consent.

    Your derivations in life to decide your personal values and morals are subjective – forcing others to believe as you believe is not freedom

    • Jacob

      “No one gets to decide how another should live; nor does anyone have authority or knowledge of how a person should live and what choices that person should make for self”

      This statement is grossly false, and has no place in your argument. If it were true, why have any law at all? Laws dictate how we should live. A blatantly obvious example of this is that it is illegal to murder someone. As is it to rape someone. If I have to explain this further, I would feel inclined to get depressed about the future of this country. Either modify your statement to actually make it true or take it out completely.

      If you don’t want to, I invite you to look at history to learn that when any institution stops caring about what is true and uses lies (even when they might not be recognized as such) to influence and persuade those around them, that institution quickly degenerates and dies. I hope I’ve made my point clear, and I wish you the best.

  4. Greg

    Folks, I don’t know how else to tell you this, but your OPINIONS are NOT FACTS.

    You’re not understanding the difference.

    You are projecting your perspective of life and how others SHOULD live – that’s an OPINION not a FACT.

    This is what liberals do all the time – infringe on others by demanding they live as liberals “believe” they should live – what to eat, who to marry, which light to turn on, how much gas we can buy, what speech is inappropriate…

    If you derive your morals and values from a “source” that “source” is SUBJECTIVE – meaning, it’s not a FACT it’s your OPINION.

    There are billions of other human beings who DON’T hold your opinion.

    So what you’re telling Americans is that YOUR OPINION must be made LAW because YOU KNOW how EVERYONE SHOULD LIVE.

    What happened to FREEDOM; FREE CHOICE.

    Living your life at no cost to others without their consent?

  5. Greg

    BTW – your “government” is NOT an authority, it is a guardian of its citizens to uphold the Constitution and its citizens freedoms.

    Defining ANYTHING for another person is taking away his freedom to define it for himself in pursuit of personal happiness.

    • Ashaley

      What you are forgetting greg is that the United States does claim to be a democratic government. This is not opinion this is fact. And the definition of what makes a democratic government different from other government is that they must protect individual liberities and give everyone the right to pursue their own happiness. Now how that should be carried out is the real and only issue here. Not IF it should be carried out. Because if our government is not going to care for people’s happiness or being “comfortable….then WE ARE NOT A DEMOCRATIC government anymore and that is NOT what this country was founded on.

      I’m not going to give my opinion on what should be done because I do not know. I only know or feel that our government has been overstepping its boundaries into the personal lives of the individual in all aspects and it is slowly taking away EVERYONE’s freedom and individual liberties. We are seeming to be more and more forced into what our leaders or politicians want us to do…and it appears to mostly be for money purposes.

      If it our country is going to be a democratic government, then we need to live up to what a democratic government is, and not keep changing the laws to what a few or even what the majority once. The only role a government has is to keep the peace and protect its citizens, not interfer with their daily lives.

      • Joe R

        Ashaley, A few respectful corrections for your post:
        1) We are not a democratic government. We are a republic. This means we are governed by a representative government that is constrained by the constitution. The people should not be subject to the whims of an out-of-control congress, president, or judicial branch.
        2) The government does not give us rights. The Constitution doesn’t spell out the rights that the government gives to the people, it defines and most importantly LIMITS the powers ascribed to the government. Our rights are endowed to us by our creator. The government is there to protect those rights.
        3) Our government certainly was NOT founded on the principle that they are to care about our happiness or comfort. That is nowhere in the constitution.

  6. Right, so lets just have no standards, no rules, no set right or wrong, lets just let every single person do what feels right to them – regardless of the larger effects on society.

    Sorry, wrong answer. If we can’t grant people more freedoms without adverse effects on the country as a whole, by all means, be my guest.

    But to allowing Gay Marriage does serious damage to our ability as a society to promote those social institutions which are necessary for our national survival and prosperity. The family – and by that I mean the ACTUAL mother/father/children family that has served us well for a couple hundred years in the US – is the most basic and most important element of our social fabric, which is in turn essential to our continued role as a superpower on the military and economic level.

  7. Homosexuals are free to marry members of the opposite sex

    Ah. So this brings us back to your assertion that marriage ought to be a completely pleasureless experience? Or that it makes no difference if marriage is a completely pleasureless experience?

    But in any case: your advocating for pleasureless, unhappy marriages is actually a side-issue.

    The idea that a gay person’s rights are not being infringed upon because he or she can always ditch their chosen partner and go marry someone else, is a nonsense argument. As Loving vs. Virginia explicitly states: marriage is a civil liberty essential to the orderly pursuit of happiness, and the state has no business ordering someone to break off with their chosen life partner and pick someone more acceptable to the state.

    If the government exists to make people happy, rather than promote stable social bonds that provide a return benefit

    But you are arguing that the government should not promote stable social bonds that provide a return benefit: that the government should promote breaking up stable social bonds. (And what exactly is your difficulty with the Declaration of Independence, which asserts that the pursuit of happiness is an inalienable right? You seem to feel that the Declaration got it wrong, and that happiness is thoroughly alienable…)

    then how do you deny marriage rights to others groups, such as those who want polygamy, sibling marriage, or even marriage to animals?

    Huh? I already explained this issue, at fair length, with regard to polygamy and sibling marriage: and I resent your disgusting assertion that same-sex marriage in any way equates to bestiality. I have been polite to you, and you come out with this kind of repulsive insult about me and other gay people? How dare you: do you have no regard for courtesy in debate?

  8. Gay Marriages DO NOT, BY THEMSELVES, PROVIDE A RETURN BENEFIT TO SOCIETY. The Government does not subsidize marriage to make people feel better – it does it because, most of the time, when straight people get together, they have kids – who are essential to the survival and prosperity of the US. Gays are incapable of having children together.

    —-

    “Huh? I already explained this issue, at fair length, with regard to polygamy and sibling marriage: and I resent your disgusting assertion that same-sex marriage in any way equates to bestiality. I have been polite to you, and you come out with this kind of repulsive insult about me and other gay people? How dare you: do you have no regard for courtesy in debate?”

    …and I write my blog only for your pleasure of knocking traditional unions? I don’t think so. If you haven’t noticed, you aren’t my only reader. You might “resent” what I post, and you are free to do so. Guess what? I’ve been on your site – I resent what YOU post. Does that mean you are supposed to stop posting it? I don’t think so. If you don’t like what I post, and don’t care to repeat arguments once in a while – then find a different choir to preach to. You are welcome to share your viewpoint. You are welcome to criticize mine. You are NOT welcome to display an arrogance as if you are the only person I write for.

    —-

    “and the state has no business ordering someone to break off with their chosen life partner and pick someone more acceptable to the state.”

    No – but it that is not what happens when the government tells a Gay Couple it isn’t going to subsidize their union. Denying two people government-recognized marriage isn’t telling them they have to split up. They are still free to remain in the relationship; and they are, in fact, still free to get married in a church if they so choose – and the church approves.

    • Chris

      Gay couples might not be able to create children of their own, but they adopt children that have been abandoned by their straight parents. I’d say that is definitely a “return benefit” to society. But it’s not the government’s job at all to promote one sort of societal behavior over another. It’s only job is to promote freedom! Somehow this has gotten lost over the last couple hundred years.

  9. Matthew, if you noticed, I have not objected to your stating your views on same-sex marriage – that’s debate.

    Nor have I objected even to your assertion that same-sex couples do not provide any return to society – that nothing they do is, in your eyes, worthwhile. I disagree – but I support your right to make that assertion.

    I objected to your vicious insult comparing same-sex relationships to bestiality. That is a disgusting thing to say – regardless of whether you know a gay person is reading your blog or not.

  10. “comparing same-sex relationships to bestiality. ”

    Firstly, I did not compare the two, I said that allowing Gay Marriage severely limits the arguments available to deny marriage rights to other fringe groups.

    Up until the point that a the courts in three states (and, temporarily, four – since the liberals tried the same trickery in CA) decided to allow Gay Marriage, it has been reserved exclusively for men and women, in other words, people who (absent genetic problems) are able to reproduce and form a family. That has been the only truly solid restriction on marriage across the entire US. Once you remove that, you are left with very little to prevent other types of unions – including those that even you, apparently, find repulsive.

  11. Firstly, I did not compare the two, I said that allowing Gay Marriage severely limits the arguments available to deny marriage rights to other fringe groups.

    Well, I already tried to explain to you why that was nonsense with regard to sibling marriage and polygamy, but I’m sorry I wasted my time trying to have a rational conversation with a silly, ignorant bigot with a foul mouth who compares same-sex marriage to bestiality, and then thinks denial works better than apology.

  12. I’m not apologizing for anything – and if you think I’m a bigot, try looking in a mirror. There are few people who are bigger biggots than the cultural leftists who will trash Christians, Conservatives, Southerners, Republicans, and just about everyone else who doesn’t happen to jump right onto the “lets get rid of all cultural standards” train.

    But, lets look at what you argued (in regards to polygamy), just for fun:

    “Marriage legislation in the US is predicated on a marriage being two people, not three or more.”

    But, as I pointed out, Marriage has also always been predicated on being between members of the opposite sex. If you can get rid of one standard, why not the other? The truth is that one revision is no bigger than the other, and once you’ve got one, its awfully hard to reject polygamy or other redefinitions of the institution. You might have made a counter argument, but it just doesn’t hold water.

  13. Yet with the woes of gay-hating
    The world has suffered long;
    Before the march of Pride has rolled,
    Two thousand years of wrong;
    And man, at war with man, hears not,
    The love song which we bring:
    O hush the noise, ye men of strife,
    And hear the marchers sing.

    And ye, beneath hate’s crushing load,
    Whose forms are bending low
    Who toil along the climbing way
    With painful steps and slow
    Look now! for gay and rainbow hours
    Come swiftly on the wing
    O rest beside the weary road
    And hear the marchers sing.

    For lo! the days are hastening on,
    by dykes and queens descried
    When, with the ever-circling years,
    Shall come the Age of Pride;
    When Pride shall over all the earth,
    Its rainbow splendors fling,
    And all the world give back the song,
    Which now the marchers sing.

  14. Very nice – but unless you have a legitimate point as to why we should tear down the traditional family, this isn’t the place to post poems.

  15. There’s no point wasting my time trying to engage a foul-mouthed bigot in serious discussion: I’m only sorry I already wasted so much time in attempts to have a serious debate with someone who is so sunk in depravity he compares same-sex marriage to bestiality – and so hostile he refuses to apologize for doing so.

    Hence the poetry.

  16. If you cannot see how allowing Gay Marriage would put America on a slippery slope to the complete elimination of any restrictions on who can marry and who can’t, then you clearly do not have a sufficient understanding of the kinds of consequences that can come with changes in social policy. As I already stated – your argument that other alternative lifestyles could never be accepted because they violate the principles on which marriage has always predicated holds absolutely no water – because, as I also stated numerous times – marriage has also always been predicated on being only between a man and a woman.

    Yet, rather than respond to that point (likely because you can’t), you would rather call people names. Whatever, your choice.

    Alternative forms of marriage may not come right away, heck, even if Gay Marriage ever does become legal in more than a few states, it will take decades – but eventually, if we accept Gay Marriage, another group is going to come along and demand their “rights”.

  17. Pingback: But we are winning… « Jesurgislac’s Journal

  18. Cliff Hutchison

    Just checked the US Constitution.

    Nothing about marriage.

    Get the federal government OUT of it.

    As for the States:

    Why would I voluntarily submit my marriage to the state government by signing a marriage certificate?

    I personally prefer an unregistered marriage, along with an unregistered church, an unregistered printing press, an unregistered soapbox, ….

    There is NO “ban on gay marriage”, as far as I know, if you don’t want a marriage “license”. I know of churches that have been performing gay weddings for over a decade in my city of Portland, Oregon. I know of friends who’ve gotten married (men to women, if you need to know) without marriage licenses; you don’t need them. I do not need or want one, either.

    State licenses and certificates are only for making money for the government and getting the government’s blessing, something I consider more of a curse.

    I suspect that the push for gay marriage is really about getting the government’s blessing, and giving them money is considered a small price to pay for what is considered “legitimacy”.

    Discuss.

  19. Thanks Mathew, fantastic post.

    I think you’ve been able to really articulate some of the thoughts I’ve had on marriage and the government.

  20. Gold medal for mental gymnastics.

  21. Daniel Lopez

    Although I appreciate your point of view, your entire argument rests on the premise that traditional marriages (man-woman) make the country stronger and that gay marriage cannot or somehow diminishes this country’s strength. I do not understand where you get this assumption from. I understand that historically the majority of America has had heterosexual marriages but there are no definitive studies on this premise of yours. It relies solely on the idea that somehow only traditional marriages can raise children well (as if traditional marriages have not had their fair share of failed parenting).

    And even if it did, certain rights such as freedom of speech cannot be infringed even if it were to make this country stronger. That is the whole purpose for the Bill of Rights and the amendments. The Founding Fathers realized that there would be people who would try and use this very line of arguing to allow for certain rights to be infringed.

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