Building the next generation of leaders for marriage, family, and sexual integrity

STATE OF AFFAIRS

For the Children: Marriage is About More than Emotions

The maelstrom of the national debate surrounding the institution of marriage has penetrated even the quietest of tiny American towns.  “Same-sex marriage” might now be considered a household term or a topic for dinner table conversation.  There is much speculation about whether or not Proposition 8 will be overturned, or when America might “come to its senses.”  In such a highly politicized discussion, many feel polarized from those who adopt an opposite view.  Rather than predict the outcome of the debate,[1] perhaps it is best to understand the nature of that which we are debating.  Since the topic in question is marriage, let us turn our attention towards understanding what marriage is.  Recently, National Review Online made the Case for Marriage. While the article as a whole is compelling and well worth the read, this point emerged as the most salient:

“So at the risk of awkwardness, we must talk about the facts of life. It is true that marriage is, in part, an emotional union, and it is also true that spouses often take care of each other and thereby reduce the care-giving burden on other people. But neither of these truths is the fundamental reason for marriage. The reason marriage exists is that the sexual intercourse of men and women regularly produces children. If it did not produce children, neither society nor the government would have much reason, let alone a valid reason, to regulate people’s emotional unions. (The government does not regulate non-marital friendships, no matter how intense they are.) If mutual care-giving were the purpose of marriage, there would be no reason to exclude adult incestuous unions from marriage.”

The Love and Fidelity Network upholds the position that the essential nature of marriage is intimately connected not only with the emotions of two people who are in love, but even more so with their actual union and the children who may result from that union. Studies show repeatedly from a variety of academic disciplines that children do best when reared in a two-parent home in which there is both a loving mother and a father present who are committed to each other in marriage and together committed to their children.[2] For this reason, it is necessary to establish legislation that safeguards and bolsters the institution which provides an environment proper to the rearing and flourishing of these children.  Therefore, the national debate about marriage cannot be said to have considered all sides unless there is adequate attention paid to the element of marriage least talked about; and the resulting lives which will be affected by this change.  For the children, perhaps we should begin that conversation.


[1] Although we must note that popular opinion still resides strongly with those opposed to same-sex marriage, including amongst college students and young adults according to this recent respected poll.

[2] In the last few decades as father involvement research has proliferated, it has been demonstrated that fathers are uniquely important to children’s development and that their contribution (i.e. co-parenting) is most effective when contributed in the context of a two-parent, intact family (Amato, 1998; McBride, Schoppe, & Rane, 2002).

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The Love and Fidelity Network is the principal program of the Collegiate Cultural Foundation