Gold is valuable because of its singularity and its scarcity. It is singular in that it is gold and there’s nothing like it, and of course it’s scarce because of where it’s located and the struggles that must be undertaken to reach it.
Because of these factors, we buy gold bracelets, rings, and necklaces. Some investors even buy gold bars and coins, as there is intrinsic value in the genuine article.
Of course, there are gold imitations, made to look and shine like gold, and they are used to cover the outside of bracelets, rings, or necklaces in order to make them look real. But in time, the imitation gold begins to tarnish or fade, or a jeweler who knows the real McCoy from an imposter takes a look at it and immediately recognizes that it’s not the real thing.
My point is simple—gold is gold. And we’re willing to pay sometimes exorbitant prices for it because nothing else compares to it.
In this same way, marriage is marriage, and there isn’t anything else like it. Western Civilization has defended and promoted it for millennia because of its singularity and its scarcity: singular because it is between a man and woman and scarce because it—and it alone—represents the most fundamental earthly relationship into which two human beings can enter.
Marriage produces families. And as a man and his wife procreate and raise children who benefit beyond measure from the presence of a mother and father, the genuine article pays dividends that have upheld our culture till now.
Like gold, marriage has it imitators. And although these imitators pretend to be families, to procreate, and to nurture children in a way that a man and his wife have nurtured them for millennia, experience and close examination quickly demonstrate the difference between imposters and the real McCoy.
The imposters cannot procreate, nor do children benefit from being raised by a man and a man or a woman and a woman as they benefit from being raised by husband and wife. Like imitation gold, these attempts to duplicate marriage both eventually and immediately reveal that they are not the genuine article—only marriage is marriage.
Which brings me to my last point: As efforts are exerted to convince more and more people that the imitation gold is as good as the real thing, the value once derived from the singularity and scarcity of real gold is necessarily diminished (if not in reality, at least in practice).
And the same diminishment takes place with marriage when the real McCoy is reworked and redefined so as to include the union of a man and a man or a woman and a woman. As these imitations are accepted as “real,” they necessarily reduce the singularity and scarcity of the genuine article—of marriage—and therefore harm its value.
Not everything that glitters is gold, nor is every relationship that shares a house a “family.”
And in either case, if we trade the genuine article for an imposter, we end up with nothing but fool’s gold.
Alan Sears, a former federal prosecutor in the Reagan Administration, is president and CEO of the Alliance Defending Freedom, a legal alliance employing a unique combination of strategy, training, funding, and litigation to protect and preserve religious liberty, the sanctity of life, marriage, and the family.