Glen  Lavy

In handing "committed" same-sex couples the full range of benefits available to married couples, the New Jersey Supreme Court has not only invited the state legislature to redefine "marriage" as … well, pretty much anything – it has also shown a deplorable lack of concern for the future of its youngest citizens.

Those pressing for the legalization of same-sex marriage built a lot of their case on the notion that people in love have a right to get married, whatever their gender, and that the government has an obligation to protect and enforce that right.

In fact, the government has only one obligation, when it comes to marriage, and as recently held by three major courts – the New York Court of Appeals (in Hernandez v. Robles), the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit (in Nebraska’s Citizens for Equal Protection v. Bruning), and the Washington Supreme Court (in Andersen v. King County) – it's about what’s best for children.

In New York, the high court pitched responsibility for deciding the "marriage" question to the state legislature, but not before underscoring the validity of the belief that the only interest government has in the loving relationship between two individuals stems from the likelihood of that relationship producing children. We expect married couples to procreate – and in the result of that procreation lies the future of the state.

Clearly, the state has a vested interested in providing the best possible environment for these future citizens and tax-payers, and the New York judges – like those at the 8th Circuit and the Washington Supreme Court – were persuaded that the ideal arrangement for children is a stable, loving, two-parent, two-gender family.

It is entirely possible, the New York court said, that rational, unbigoted legislation, backed by "intuition," "experience," and "common sense," could find "that it is better, other things being equal, for children to grow up with both a mother and a father."

The 8th Circuit followed the same reasoning, finding no evidence of a federal right to same-sex "marriage" when the purpose "of traditional marriage laws (is) to encourage heterosexual couples to bear and raise children in committed marriage relationships."

That being the case, the court said, Nebraska’s laws "limiting the state-recognized institution of marriage to heterosexual couples are rationally related to legitimate state interests and therefore do not violate the Constitution of the United States."

Glen Lavy

Glen Lavy is a senior vice president and senior counsel for the Alliance Defense Fund (
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