Interweaving the vibrant diversity of both men and women into each marital relationship animates and fortifies that union. Men and women are necessarily and refreshingly different, and these differences complement and make the other better. Just as both persons’ unique biological functions are necessary to create a child, so too are both persons’ characteristics and abilities as a male and a female essential to the other person, to the well-being of their child, and to society as a whole.
And while not every couple has a biological child, every child has a mother and a father. It is this powerful fact that defines what marriage is all about.
Even childless marriages further the government’s interest in marriage. The state is concerned with not only joining together mothers and fathers for the good of their children, but also with preventing situations where children are raised without their mother or father. When a man and a woman commit to marry, even if their relationship does not produce children, their presumed sexual exclusivity limits the odds that either of them will bring a child into this world that is raised without his mother or father.
Admittedly, we live in an imperfect society, and we have all witnessed or experienced the devastating and painful impact that divorce, infidelity, and out-of-wedlock births have wreaked on our marriages and families. But if marriage is weak, we should support, enhance, and strengthen it, not change it. Redefining marriage to include relationships incongruous to its very purpose will not rescue and fortify its purpose.
This is why we promote policies and enact laws that encourage what has been proven as best for society and for children, not laws that jeopardize those critical interests. We do not forsake the ideal in the face of the imperfect.
Hopefully, before it’s too late, we will recognize marriage—the union of a man and a woman—as essential to the common good and a relationship unlike any other.