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Legatus Magazine

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Brian S. Brown | author
Nov 01, 2010
Filed under Columns

Why marriage matters

The consequences of same-sex ‘marriage’ will be severe for employers and people of faith . . .

Brian S. Brown

Brian S. Brown

Should we permit the government to redefine marriage? Some politicians and judges are moving in that direction, but Catholic leaders are asking the faithful to speak up for the truth about marriage.

Just recently Minnesota’s Catholic bishops sent a DVD to every Catholic family in the state. Featuring a presentation about the importance of marriage by Archbishop John C. Nienstedt, the DVD clearly laid out why marriage, as the union of a man and a woman, should matter to every Catholic — and why marriage is at the core of the Catholic faith and all of society. Marriage deserves its unique status in law and society because marital unions are the only kind that can make new life and connect those children to the mother and father who made them.

Marriage is the very foundation of civil society. Intuitively, we realize it’s the natural way we bring together men and women to conceive and raise the next generation. The complementary nature of the sexes is not only at the heart of the human experience, it’s one we can see throughout nature — and one Christ speaks to us about in the Gospel.

Until quite recently, it was universally accepted by every society and every generation that ever lived that you need at least one man and one woman to make a marriage. Some political activists have recently succeeded in turning marriage into a political issue. That’s unfortunate because marriage as we have always known it has served society well. It’s the social norm that brings the two great halves of society together and unites them with any children that come from that union. Nurturing a thriving, natural marriage culture is critical for society.

Advocates of same-sex “marriage” would have you believe that gay “marriage” will simply exist alongside traditional marriage — that it’s a different expression of the same thing and that gay “marriages” will have no effect on anyone else. That’s a false premise. The heart of the gay “marriage” idea is this: There is no difference between same-sex and opposite sex couples — and if you see a difference, there’s something wrong with you. You’re like a bigot opposed to interracial marriage. When the government endorses this strange new idea, watch out!

Gay “marriage” has clear consequences, and there are many for people of faith, for religious organizations, for those who don’t accept this redefinition of marriage, and especially for children. What will happen to children growing up in a world where the law teaches them that moms and dads are interchangeable and that marriage has nothing intrinsically to do with the bearing and raising of children? This is exactly what a federal judge did in San Francisco when he found that Proposition 8 and traditional marriage violate the U.S. constitution. If his ruling is upheld, or if legislatures do what so many gay activists demand and redefine marriage, then children will be told exactly that — you don’t need a mother and a father. Any two will do.

In some states, children as young as First Grade are taught in public school that gay “marriage” and traditional marriage are the same. Teachers use books like King and King where two princes “marry” each other and go on to rule the Kingdom happily ever after.

Under this “new” approach to marriage, children will be taught that the “old” way of thinking about marriage no longer applies. In fact, this “old” way is actually discriminatory and bigoted — and those who cling to it are like the racists of history who opposed interracial marriage. This, too, is what Judge Vaughn Walker found in his Prop 8 decision.

Think about it from this perspective: When was the last time you could ignore a law simply because you don’t agree with it? If the government increases your taxes, you can’t refuse to pay because you don’t agree with it. You’ll be forced to pay.

The same is true if marriage is redefined. You may disagree because of religious, cultural, family or other considerations, but you will be forced to accept it whether you like it or not. If you tell your kids that your family believes marriage is between a man and a woman, their teachers will correct them in the schoolhouse.

If you’re a professional, such as an estate attorney or a marriage counselor, you won’t be able to refuse to perform a service such as preparing a will or providing counseling for a “married” gay couple. Under the law, your license will be at risk. If you run a religious school that wants to teach that marriage is only between a man and a woman, your accreditation will be at risk.

These are just a few of the dozens of examples of consequences that prominent legal scholars from some of the nation’s most prestigious universities have warned about in letters to legislatures across the country. Some of these experts actually support same-sex “marriage,” but they do so knowing that the consequences will be profound.

Lawmaking should be about pursuing the common good. And marriage, as the foundation of a civil society, is at the core of our common good.

Brian S. Brown is president of the National Organization for Marriage and a member of Legatus’ Northern Virginia Chapter.


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