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Attack On Traditional Marriage



Benjamin W. Bull J.D.


Chief Counsel, Alliance Defense Fund; Remarks to The World Congress of Families IV Warsaw, Poland, May 2007

When the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, in a 4-3 decision ruled that same-sex couples have a newly discovered legal right to “marry,” the court radically redefined marriage—ignoring nearly four hundred years of state and United States history and stripping marriage of its core purpose of uniting men and women as the basic unit of the family.

Why is this battle to redefine marriage so important?  Because it goes to the very heart of God’s plan for marriage and the family.  When anyone tinkers with that plan, the emotional, physical, and spiritual well-being of future generations is put at severe risk.  Make no mistake: marriage as we know it will be destroyed if we make all relationships equal.

Even secular social scientists know that the demise of traditional marriage will injure all persons impacted by that institution. Children who live with their own two married parents enjoy better physical health, on average, than children in other living arrangements.  Indeed such children score higher in virtually every significant category when measuring the well-being of children. The health advantages of children in traditional married homes remains even after taking into account socioeconomic status. Married men earn between 10 and 40 percent more than unmarried men with similar education and job histories. Traditionally married people, especially married men, have longer life expectancies than other men. Traditional marriage increases the likelihood that fathers will have good relationships with children.  Sixty-five percent of young adults whose parents are divorced or raised in non-married households had poor relationships with their fathers. Traditionally married women have a lower risk of domestic violence than cohabiting women. Even after controlling for race, age, and education, people who live together are still three times more likely to report violence than people in traditional marriages. See “Twenty-six Conclusions from the Social Sciences.” www.americanvalues.org.

Some have observed that the main reason the government licenses marriage is to encourage a mother and father to raise their children together because that’s in the best interest of the children. As noted, there is overwhelming and indisputable evidence that children raised by their mother and father in a traditional marriage do better in school, are less likely to commit crimes, have less premarital sex, and are healthier emotionally and physically. Legally, marriage is how the government makes sure men take responsibility for the children they father. The union of a man and woman has been the fundamental social unit in every society. Dr. Barbara Whitehead, the co-director of Rutgers University’s National Marriage Project, has stated, “Marriage is the central institution of the family.”

Unfortunately, however, in Europe and elsewhere a generation of children is growing up with no idea of what a traditional family is like.  In countries such as Norway, Sweden, Iceland, and Denmark, it has been decades since many children have known what it is like to live in a traditional family with a mother and a father.  More than half of the children in Europe are born to unwed mothers.  In Sweden, 54 percent of all children are born out of wedlock.  In Norway, the figure is 49 percent, in Denmark 46 percent, and in Iceland, it is over 65 percent.  In Northern Norway, the illegitimacy problem is so bad that in 2002, an astonishing 82.27 percent of children are born out of wedlock.  In America, 26.7 percent of children born to white mothers, and 68.8 percent of children born to black mothers, are out of wedlock. Over 43 percent of all children born in America will live in a single-parent home sometime in their childhood.

Why has this occurred?  Much of it has to do with the years of flawed government subsidization of single parents.  And we now have the new push for “domestic partnerships” and “civil unions” for homosexual couples, which also discourages marriage for heterosexuals.  Same-sex “marriage” or its equivalents have increasingly cheapened marriage to the point where it could soon become irrelevant.

Moreover, it is vitally important to recognize that marriage itself is under direct attack by radical homosexual activists and their allies.  At a conference at the University of London called “Legal Recognition of Same-Sex Marriage: A Conference on National European and International Law,” one of the main themes of discussion was whether marriage should exist at all.  The attendees laid out strategies to circumvent each nation’s democratic process via the judicial system to force their governments to sanction and accept same-sex “marriage.”  There was also discussion about ultimately abolishing marriage so adults could be free to pursue any sexual relationship they want with no legal restrictions whatsoever, but also receive the benefits of marriage.

Parts of Europe have already proceeded well down this road. Same-sex “marriage” is already legal in the Netherlands, and many other European countries have some sort of formal recognition of same-sex couples. In 2003, Belgium joined the Netherlands to officially recognize same-sex “marriages.” And in 2005, Spain’s new socialist government legalized it as well.

All of this eventually weakens the institution of marriage for heterosexuals. For example, France has created a new legal status for homosexuals, analogous to marriage, but not exactly the same, called a “civil solidarity pact.” Couples linked in civil solidarity pacts file joint tax returns, receive all the welfare and employment benefits of spouses, and enjoy the inheritance rights of husbands and wives.  This new alternative to marriage offers almost all of marriage’s legal benefits and imposes many fewer of its legal obligations.  Already, 40 percent of France’s children are born outside marriage.

 Indeed one can assert that the argument over same sex “marriage” is only incidentally and secondarily an argument over “gays.”  It is first and fundamentally an argument over marriage itself.  Same sex “marriage” and its imitations will turn out in practice to mean the creation of an alternative form of legal coupling, which will over time result in the practical elimination of marriage and put a new, flimsier institution in its place. Radical homosexual activists recognize this and see their effort to redefine marriage as a tool in their greater agenda to reorder society. Consider this quote from Evan Wolfson, former president of the Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, “We can win the freedom to marry…. This won’t just be a change in the law either; it will be a change in society. For if we do it right, the struggle to win the freedom to marry will bring much more along the way.”  See “The Homosexual Agenda,” by Alan Sears and Craig Osteen.

Just as night follows day, once same-sex “marriage” is institutionalized, other forms of “marriage” will quickly be affirmed as well, such as polygamy, polyamory (multiple husbands and multiple wives),  endogamy (the marriage of blood relatives),  and child marriage.  In fact, the policy guide of the American Civil Liberties Union calls for the legalization of polygamy. There are currently efforts underway in the United States to legalize all these types of arrangements and activities as “marriage” or pseudo “marriage.”

Thus, the goal of many radical homosexual activists is no less than to redefine marriage to mean all things to all people, leaving it ultimately meaningless.  If they are successful, then marriage will be unrecognizable as we know it, using any sort of biblical or traditional standard.

In reading the words of the leading strategists for the redefining of marriage, their objective is actually the destruction of marriage.  They seek to deconstruct marriage as an institution that in any real way represents norms of behavior and standards of moral conduct.  In truth, their goal is not the redefinition of marriage but, on the contrary, the destruction of marriage. How will this be accomplished?  Through the continuation of no-fault divorce; through the encouragement of cohabitation over marriage; through litigation, legislation and “education” redefining what “marriage” is in a way that is unrecognizable to most; through the promotion of counterfeit “marriage” as civil unions and domestic partnerships, which undermine the very necessity of traditional marriage by those who participate in them; and elimination of the rights of natural parents. See e.g., www.beyondmarriage.org .

In sum, marriage will be destroyed by making all relationships equal.  On many homosexual websites and in so-called scholarly writings leaders of this movement advance the argument that all persons living in a single household, including three or more persons unrelated or even siblings should have the right to “marry.” Essentially the argument goes this way. Since traditional marriage is not the only worthy form of “family” relationship, then opposite sex heterosexuals should not have a monopoly on it. Nor should they be the only recipients of marriage benefits. On the contrary marriage status, they argue, should be granted to any persons regardless of sex, age, or blood relationship who want to be married. Moreover, such persons should have the right to claim all the benefits of marriage. And what are those benefits?—death, health, and survivorship benefits for anyone deemed a “spouse.”  Make no mistake that what is being demanded is a massive redistribution of wealth and costs of health care. 

Furthermore, one cannot overstate the threat to traditional religious liberties and free speech if the proponents of alternative forms of same sex “marriage” have their way. In the past decade we have seen repeated efforts by the state and homosexual advocates to force religious persons into silence on these issues. Through blatant intimidation, threats, prosecution and law suits, and even beatings, opponents of homosexual behavior have been punished and censored for speaking out. One needs only to be reminded of the prosecution of Pastor Ake Green of Sweden for preaching a sermon on God’s condemnation of homosexual behavior as sinful to understand the stakes of this struggle. Pastor Green preached directly from the New Testament’s Book of Romans chapter 1.  He was prosecuted for this so-called crime all the way to the Supreme Court of Sweden—where he finally won acquittal. Efforts are underway in virtually every western nation to criminalize all opposition to the homosexual agenda, including homosexual “marriage,” by labeling it as “hate speech” punishable as a crime. One can only imagine our society when religion-based opposition to the intentional destruction of traditional marriage can only be whispered without fear of punishment or reprisal.

It must also be noted that given the projected demographics of the future Europe with its negative population growth, that it is utterly foolish to promote  same sex “marriages” where the partners are incapable of producing children together. This corruption of marriage will only accelerate European depopulation as same sex “marriage” is inherently futureless. Indeed one is left askance at the nonsensical criticism of Poland for its attitudes regarding destructive homosexual behavior by the European Union.

At bottom, homosexual special interests groups are attacking marriage to further their own agenda. They are trying to reduce it to nothing more than a benefits system for emotionally attached persons and virtually any one else. Their goal is to eliminate any difference in gender; eliminate all age and blood relationship restrictions; eliminate restrictions on the number of spouses; and in the end to simply eliminate marriage as we know it. They are more than willing to sacrifice the best interests of children and society to advance their agenda. And finally, if it is a necessary means to achieving their ends they are perfectly content to sacrifice historically protected free speech rights by criminalizing any opposition to their goals.  Thank you.






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