by A. Scott Loveless J.D., Ph.D
1. Men and women are different, and the union of a man and a woman is different than the union of two men or two women. Throughout history marriage has been defined as the union of a man and a woman for powerful reasons relating to the complementary differences between men and women. The differences combine to create a unique and essential social relationship. Marriage channels human sexuality into responsible and socially valuable functions, namely adult complementary sexual union that results in the procreation, nurturing, and training of the next generation. It gives couples and society a future. The combination of the opposite sexes creates a distinctive integrative union and social relationship. No two men together or two women together can do this. Just as the combination of the different chemical elements Na (sodium) + Cl (chlorine) together make salt, but Na + Na or Cl + Cl do not.
2. Where same-sex marriage is legalized, tolerance is actually restricted, not expanded. The law categorizes and treats relationships in three ways: some are barred and prohibited; others are tolerated and permitted; and some others are preferred and privileged. Historically, same-sex relationships were prohibited, but in recent decades they have become tolerated and permitted in the United States and many other countries. But tolerance is quite different from preference. Conjugal marriage always has been the most preferred and privileged social relationship because it is the foundation of society. The claim for same-sex “marriage” abandons tolerance and seeks special preference; it actually removes the preferential treatment of conjugal marriage, rather than elevating same-sex couples. Where same-sex marriage is legalized, tolerance is restricted. Freedom of religion is undermined, and freedom of speech is curtailed. Children in public schools are taught not true tolerance but the moral relativism of equivalency, i.e. that different forms of human sexuality are no more than matters of personal preference. Disagreement with this “principle” is not tolerated.
3. Equality does not require treating different relationships the same. Same-sex marriage advocates purport to desire “equal treatment” with heterosexual couples, but it is inequality to give full marital status to relationships that are so markedly different in lifestyle and social impact. Same-sex marriage really means the near-term elimination of actual marriage. As a matter of nature, it cannot fulfill the same functions as traditional marriage. The effect is to pull traditional marriage down to the lowest common denominator and soon render it meaningless. Our society cannot accept this outcome.
4. Marriage is a pre-existing social institution, not a mere legal creation or social construct. Marriage between male and female is a uniquely ubiquitous social institution, found in all civilized human societies. Finding marriage already in existence, the law has recognized the importance of marriage by regulating and thereby protecting it. The law does not create marriage any more than it creates parents, land or water, but the law regulates those resources -- marriage, parenting, land, and water -- in the public interest.
5. The legal definition of marriage signals important social functions. The way the law defines and treats marriage sends powerful social signals to all members of society about marriage roles and what is expected of married persons. By diluting the meaning of marriage, reducing it to a mere romantic relationship between any two persons, it dilutes the meaning of marriage itself and ignores and denigrates the integral responsibilities of marriage and marital parenthood. Conjugal marriage reinforces the taking of responsibility for the natural outcome of the sexual act: children; same-sex marriage weakens that tie.
6. Legalizing same-sex marriage harms families and makes more vulnerable those who invest their lives, and sacrifice their careers, for their marriages and families. In states and nations where same-sex marriage has been legalized, the public commitment to families and conjugal marriage is significantly weakened. Adoption has been impaired. Mothers are marginalized, and social support for them weakens. Sexualization of society increases. Public support for marital parenting wanes. Marital childbearing and childrearing drop, and public education becomes more propagandistic. Churches and religion are harassed.
7. Legalizing same-sex marriage harms children by depriving them of a mother or father, and removing the clear legal signal that marriage connects parents to children and parental responsibility. All children need and deserve to be raised by a mother and a father; they are deprived of that by same-sex marriage. Two moms are not the same things as a mom and a dad. Legalization of same-sex marriage is false advertising to children; it teaches them that same-sex coupling and parenting is fully equivalent to dual gender marriage and parenting. It deprives some children of a parental connection with half of their biological heritage and family. Parental authority is diminished.
8. Legalizing same-sex marriage harms society by the transformative power of inclusion and by weakening the basic infrastructure of society. Conjugal marriage historically has “scripted” responsible living and civic virtue. Gay and lesbian lifestyles do not. By redefining marriage to include gay and lesbian couples, the social meaning of marriage is transformed by the power of inclusion; the culture of infidelity, promiscuity and polyamory that characterizes gay and lesbian sexual relations will redefine what marriage means in a way that will undermine that social institution and bring suffering to many families. Society should not engage in “consumer fraud” by sending the message that there is no difference between conjugal marriage and same-sex unions.
9. Marriage is defined to serve the public interest, not private special interests. Marriage is a public institution, not a mere private arrangement. The law allows many private relations organized and defined as the private parties wish, but the institution of marriage between a man and a woman exists and is protected by law to promote fundamental social needs, including the necessary link between husbands and wives and between parents and children for critical social needs, not just to bind boyfriends and girlfriends and other romantic interests.
10. The radical redefinition of marriage is a matter for the people, not the courts, to decide. In a democracy, the power to decide fundamental questions about basic social institutions is reserved to the people. It is not a judicial function. By a vote of 4-3, four California justices simply imposed their personal political preference under the pretext of interpreting the state constitution. That is why even strong supporters of same-sex marriage, such as the Washington Post, criticized the California Supreme Court decision for mandating same-sex marriage by judicial decree. It seriously violated separation of powers and undermined the integrity and independence of the judicial branch.
11. Many constitutional amendments have been adopted to protect threatened basic institutions and rights. That is how America got the “Bill of Rights.” That is why our nation passed the Civil War amendments – to correct a terrible decision of the U.S. Supreme Court. That is why voters in 27 American states recently have adopted constitutional amendments to protect marriage as the union of a man and a woman. That is why 37 nations around the world also have adopted constitutional provisions protecting marriage as the union of a man and a woman. When cherished rights and relationships are threatened, people pass constitutional amendments to protect them. That is why Proposition 8 has been proposed.
12. Proposition 8 is about marriage, it is not about homosexuality. The issue is whether the basic social institution of marriage should be radically redefined. The issue is not about homosexual relations, which have long existed without needing (or wanting) to be called “marriages.” It is not about homosexuality, or the nature-vs-nurture debate about the cause of homosexuality. It is not whether homosexuality is biologically hard-wire-determined, or predisposed, or environmentally caused, or experientially influenced, or a matter of choice. It is not about homosexuality; it is simply about the institution of marriage. Today, tragically, many marriages fail, but legalizing same-sex marriage will not solve that problem. Rather, by reducing the meaning of marriage, and applying the “marriage” label to gay and lesbian relations, which have an even higher rate of instability than heterosexual couples, it will only worsen the problem.
13. It doesn’t end with redefining marriage. Legalization of same-sex marriage is the beginning, not the end, of the social revolution gay and lesbian activists promote. Consider what has happened in Massachusetts since same-sex marriage was “normalized” by a one-vote majority of the Superior Court there: 1- Catholic Charities, which included among its charitable activities the placement of children for adoption for a century, was told following the Goodridge decision that their refusal to allow adoptions by same-sex married couples was discriminatory and prohibited. When their request for a religious exemption was denied, that organization felt compelled to get out of the adoption business, rather than compromise their religious principles; 2- Sex education classes in the Massachusetts public schools now are required, based on Goodridge and attendant reforms, to include “neutral” instruction on homosexual acts as part of the curriculum, so as to give equal treatment and avoid discrimination. So much for “normalization” and for the right of parents to direct the education of their children on these vital matters.