Common Questions: Why Marriage Matters

Why is marriage important?
Marriage is the foundation of any society. It is unique and based upon the complimentary nature of the sexes and provides the best relationship and environment for the raising of children.
Why is a marriage amendment needed?
To protect marriage from an all-out assault to redefine it. At last count, there were over 60 lawsuits across the country to overturn state marriage laws. This is not an accident. It is the carrying out of a specific plan by Lambda Legal and homosexual activists. Over a decade ago, they realized they could not win a vote for same-sex marriage in any state; they thus started a specific plan to redefine marriage through the courts. They have won in Hawaii, in Alaska, in Vermont, in Massachusetts and recently in California.

The clear intent is to avoid a vote by the people, which they have lost every time. They are attempting to do an end-run around the democratic process and the American people. If successful, they will force same-sex marriage on the entire country without a single citizen getting the right to vote. A Marriage Amendment lets the people of Connecticut decide if marriage should be limited to the union between one man and one woman.
How can marriage be protected?

There are two ways to protect marriage from liberal interest groups, detached politicians, and activisit judges: An amendment to the U.S. Constitution; or an amendment to the Connecticut State Constitution.

Federal Marriage Amendment. Clearly, for those who wish to protect the definition of marriage as between one man and one woman, an amendment to the United States Constitution is the ultimate goal. With an amendment to the federal Constitution, every state, regardless of runaway legislatures, activist judges, or well-funded action groups, would be compelled to respect the federal definition of marriage. Amendments to the federal Constitution cannot be overruled by any judge or any politician and would be binding on every state and jurisdiction. The Federal Marriage Protection Amendment is now pending in the United States Senate and is scheduled for a vote in June 2006. The Family Institute of Connecticut is actively supporting the campaign to achieve passage of this critical amendment. Click here to contact your senator to express your support.

Amendment of the Connecticut State Constitution. Without amendment to the federal Constitution, the next best opportunity to protect the definition of marriage here in Connecticut is through an amendment to the state Constitution. As with a federal amendment, an amendment to the State Constitution would be binding on all courts and jurisdictions within the State of Connecticut, unable to be judicially reviewed or overruled. The Connecticut State Constitution may be amended either through direct action of the State Legislature or through a Constitutional Convention, which is available to the voters of Connecticut every twenty years. The Family Institute of Connecticut is fighting to insure that the voice of the people can be heard through the Constitutional Convention process and is leading the effort to secure a Constitutional Convention and, through the Convention, to pass an amendment to the Connecticut State Constitution protecting the definition of marriage.

How can I help?

There are many things you can do to help protect marriage. You can:

Shouldn't homosexuals have the right to marry?

No one in society has ever had the right to marry anyone they want. No individual has ever had the right to redefine marriage for the rest of us.

Everyone has equal access to marriage, and everyone is equally subject to its restrictions. In our country, each person must meet the five criteria below in order to get married:

1) You cannot already be married.
2) You must be an adult and marry an adult.
3) You cannot marry a close family member.
4) You must marry a human.
5) Your spouse must be of the opposite sex.

Everyone abides by these same rules, and anyone who meets all five criteria can enter into marriage. Same-sex marriage advocates subtly distort the law in order to justify their cause. They claim, falsely, that the right to marry lies in any couple, when in fact it lies in the individual. Not just any conceivable configuration of people have the right to marry because rights belong to individuals—not groups. Every person, however, has the right to marry provided he or she meets the five criteria enumerated in law and nature.

In reality, homosexuals have the exact same right to marry as we all do. They choose not to marry members of the opposite sex, but they could if they wanted to.
This debate is not about who has access to marriage—we all do. It’s about defending what marriage is and always has been.

State law already limits marriage to one man and woman. An amendment isn’t needed, is it?
Yes. The only way to take this issue out of the hands of the judges and place it into the hands of the people is a constitutional amendment. State laws in Hawaii, Massachusetts and all the other states did not stop activist judges from overturning marriage. A state statute is no barrier to an activist judge. An amendment lets the people decide.
How will same-sex marriage hurt children?

Same-sex marriage will inevitably lead to same-sex families, which intentionally deny children either a mother or a father.

The same-sex marriage debate isn’t merely an academic question. Its outcome will have real consequences on real people. Our first duty is to protect those who cannot protect themselves. A loving and compassionate society will always come to the aid of motherless and fatherless families, but a loving and compassionate society will never deliberately create them.

Same-sex couples intentionally deny children either a mother or a father, and children need both to develop into healthy adults. Males and females parent differently, and these differences are essential in helping a child grow into a healthy adult. A father’s love is very different from a mother’s love, and no same-sex couple could ever provide both.

Gender differences are real, and children need more than a pair of unisex bodies to grow into healthy adulthood. An analysis of over 100 studies on parent-child relationships found that having a loving and nurturing father is just as important for a child’s happiness, social development, academic success and general well-being as having a loving and nurturing mother.

Fathers help their children feel secure, grow in confidence, and develop a healthy curiosity of the world around them. They increase children’s academic readiness and performance, contribute to strong cognitive, motor and verbal development, help kids make wise choices and curb violence in boys.

Mothers provide warm, nurturing care for children, assuring them that they are loved. They have a natural connection to children that develops in the womb. Mothers stress equity and security and help children develop an understanding of risks and their consequences. Both father-love and mother-love are needed to raise children from infancy to healthy adulthood.

No society, if it truly cares about the common good more than special interests, will ever intentionally place its most innocent members in harm’s way. No loving and compassionate society would intentionally deny children the best possible home, one with both a mom and a dad.

Isn’t the struggle for same-sex marriage just like the struggle for civil rights?

Not at all. It is shameful and wrong to compare present day homosexuals to past generations of African-Americans, who were institutionally prevented from voting, lived under segregation, and were treated as second-class citizens.

The civil rights movement overcame laws against one’s right to exist, not one’s right to change humanity’s fundamental institution. The comparison is so outrageous that many civil rights leaders are offended by its mention. Even Reverend Jesse Jackson, who favors same-sex marriage, rejected the comparison, saying “Gays were never called three-fifths of a person in the Constitution, and they did not require the Voting Rights Act to have the right to vote.”

The difference between Civil Rights and same-sex marriage is the difference between equal treatment and special rights. African-Americans were fighting for the same legal rights as whites during the struggle for Civil Rights—the right to co-exist as equals, to participate in public forums, and to have access to equal opportunities.

Homosexual couples, however, do not face this type of discrimination. They have the same legal rights as heterosexuals, including the right to marry within the definition of marriage. No one, homosexual or heterosexual, has the right to redefine marriage, however.

Most African-Americans understand this vital distinction and overwhelmingly reject the comparison. In fact, according to recent polls, 64 percent of African-Americans are opposed to same-sex marriage, more than any other ethnic or religious group. They understand the danger of distorting the legacy of civil rights leaders such as Martin Luther King, Jr. by invalidly extending his fight to things he never would have supported.

The idea that marriage was created to discriminate against homosexuals is silly and offensive. As Rev. Richard Richardson, head of The Black Ministerial Alliance of Greater Boston, stated in his testimony before the U.S. Senate, “The traditional institution of marriage is not about discrimination. And I find it offensive to call it that. Marriage was not created to oppress people. It was created for children. It boggles my mind that people would compare the traditional institution of marriage to slavery.” There is no “civil right” to intentionally subject children to fatherlessness or motherlessness.

Shouldn’t we love homosexuals and lesbians?
Absolutely. Every person is made in the image of God and of great value. Each person should be loved and respected.
Why should we worry about protecting marriage when it’s already so weak?

Typically, we don’t surrender to crime, academic failure, abuse or any other social ill simply because it’s a “new reality.” To surrender the future to our past failures is cynical and destructive. Instead, we should celebrate and uphold marriage as the ideal, and work to restore strong marriages as the best way to solve social problems.

It’s true that marriage in the United States has weakened over the past century, in large part due to no-fault divorce, cohabitation and abortion—things that separate marriage from child-bearing. The results of these social experiments are undeniable. They include rampant crime, widespread poverty, frequent delinquency, cycles of violence, uncontrolled drug use, unchecked child abuse and rising illegitimacy rates—all results of marriage and family breakdown.

It’s no small thing then to ask for yet another social experiment that further separates marriage from parenting. Same-sex marriage will be the outright affirmation of what these previous experiments have been tacitly proclaiming: that marriage is a purely personal institution that has no public implications whatsoever.

The reason we should protect marriage—even in its weakened state—is that only married households with moms and dads provide children with the ideal place to grow into healthy adults. Only marriage brings men and women together in complementary ways that channel the strengths and weaknesses of each sex into positive social ends.

Okay, so what if kids need both mother-love and father-love? Are you suggesting that single moms, widows and fatherless children are somehow inferior?

Of course not. A loving and compassionate society will always come to the aid of motherless and fatherless families, but a loving and compassionate society will never deliberately create them.
If you ask any single parent whether their situation is ideal for their children, they will inevitably say “No.” That doesn’t mean they’re not good parents, it just means that their circumstances are not close to being ideal.

Many single parents are single through no fault of their own. Their spouse either left them, died, or abused them. These are far from ideal situations, and single parenthood is an unfortunate reality—not a celebrated ideal—for them. Society should come to the aid of these families out of love and compassion.

But same-sex marriage advocates aren’t asking us to respond to unfortunate circumstances, they are asking us to create them. They are asking us to affirm that intentionally denying children either a father or a mother is ideal. This simply isn’t the case.

Children from single parent households are at a distinct disadvantage despite their parent’s best efforts. Children from same-sex households are at a distinct disadvantage because of their parents’ deliberate choices. We should tolerate the former as a fact of life, but steer clear of the latter as an avoidable harm.

For the same reason we actively discourage out-of-wedlock pregnancies, we should actively discourage same-sex marriages. Neither provides the ideal environment for raising children, and neither can possibly benefit society and individuals the way that marriage can. Every same-sex household will, by definition, intentionally deny a child either a mom or a dad.

Isn’t the same-sex marriage issue simply a question of justice?

Yes. It’s all about justice. A compassionate and just society will address and remedy true injustice, but not by committing an even graver one by intentionally denying justice to our most vulnerable citizens: children.

One must remember that injustice is characterized by the powerful taking advantage of those who are powerless and vulnerable. And that’s precisely what’s at stake in the fight over marriage. A powerful lobbying group is seeking to deny children their natural right to be raised by a married mom and dad. The injustice of this radical proposal is readily seen in the reams of data which demonstrate that kids being raised without both a mom and a dad are much more likely to experience all kinds of suffering.

Now, one might argue that there are already millions of children who are being raised without both a mom and a dad and that these unfortunate circumstances were wrought by heterosexuals failing to live up to their commitments. That is true. But (as stated here) those are failed attempts at the ideal. Same-sex marriage advocates are asking us to intentionally create these unfortunate circumstances at the outset of a child’s life.

Again, a just society will never intentionally put children at such high risk.

Isn’t limiting marriage to one man and one woman discriminatory?
No. The state encourages marriage more than any other relationship for very selfish reasons. It produces life (future citizens), unites the sexes, and provides every child with a mom and a dad. Same-sex “marriage” says that either the father or the mother is not needed. That is a lie. No compassionate society would ever intentionally create fatherlessness or motherlessness.

Additionally, if marriage is redefined, what is the new definition? Love? Commitment? Then marriage could be polygamy or even be five people in love.


This is the Web site of Family Institute of Connecticut, Family Institute of Connecticut Action, and Family Institute of Connecticut Action Committee.
Learn more about the distinction between these components of the Family Institute of Connecticut .