In yesterday’s column, I listed some of the benefits that natural marriage provides children and society. But some claim that promoting natural marriage exclusively violates the rights of people who are attracted to the same sex. That’s not true. The three P’s will help us see why.
The government has only three options in addressing human behavior. It can prohibit a behavior, it can permit a behavior or it can promote a behavior—the three P’s.
Our laws prohibit sexual relationships such as polygamy, incest and pedophilia. They permit homosexual relationships and non-marital heterosexual relationships. And due to the immense benefits the committed union of a man and a woman brings society, our laws promote marriage between a man and woman. (Notice any two people in our society are already permitted to commit themselves to one another until death do them part. Since they don’t need the government to do that, this debate is not about tolerance. Same-sex relationships are already tolerated.)
Here’s why promoting naturalmarriage exclusively does not deny anyone equal rights.
First, everyone has the same equal right to marry a qualified person of the opposite sex. That law treats every man and woman equally, but not every behavior they may desire equally. Same sex marriage and natural marriage are different behaviors with different outcomes, so the law rightfully treats them differently. One behavior perpetuates and stabilizes society, and the other doesn’t. Promoting one behavior does not deny rights to people who don’t engage in that behavior.
An analogy may help clarify this point. Like marriage, the government promotes police work by paying people to become police officers because police do much good for society. But if you can’t qualify to become a police officer, or if you choose another vocation, your rights are not being violated when the government pays other people to be police officers. All people, regardless of their vocation, experience the benefits of police, just like all people, regardless of their marriage status, experience the benefits of natural marriage.
Frank Turek is coauthor of I Don't Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist, and the author of Stealing from God: Why atheists need God to make their case. See more of his work at CrossExamined.org.