For every high-profile celebrity wedding that makes headlines, it seems we are treated to at least two high-profile celebrity divorces. I am praying for people like Kim Kardashian whose marriage problems seem to suggest that there should be a public exam for marriage prior to the issuance of a license. Unfortunately, celebrities are not the only folks whose marriages are caving in under the cultural pressures of our generation. The depressing state of marriage in our nation today provides more fuel for the fire for those that advocate redefining marriage to include same-sex couples. After all, as the joke goes, how can homosexuals make more of a mess of the institution of marriage than heterosexuals already have?
On the surface, same-sex “marriage” advocates appear to have a point. And I would be among the first to admit that marriage as an institution was terribly weakened by both the no-fault divorce laws first passed in the 1970s and by a general willingness of our culture to separate marriage from childbearing. Neither of these factors had anything to do with homosexuality, and both dealt severe blows to the strength of American families. However, these are not reasons to further weaken marriage by defining it out of existence. (I am not the first to observe that words that mean everything mean nothing, and “marriage” is headed down that very road.) The enfeebled state of marriage today is all the more reason to fight to preserve it and hopefully to restore it to its former strength.
At the heart of the marriage argument is whether marriage exists primarily to satisfy the needs and wants of adults, or to provide the optimal environment for nurturing the next generation. If marriage is only for individual gratification, then there is no reason to restrict it to opposite sex couples. Marriage has always been the union of one man and one woman because children need one mother and one father.
Multiple studies confirm that children raised by married biological parents have by far the best outcomes in terms of physical and emotional health, educational achievement and long term success in life.
Bishop Harry Jackson is chairman of the High Impact Leadership Coalition and senior pastor of Hope Christian Church in Beltsville, MD, and co-authored, Personal Faith, Public Policy [FrontLine; March 2008] with Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council.