Dear Marriage Supporter,
Marriage matters because kids deserve a mom and a dad. You've heard me say this again and again. And you've also heard me explain that this isn't a difficult concept or theory to grasp: I've said over and over that it is simply common sense.
But when you look around the world today, and increasingly in our own country — especially over the past few weeks — it can be tough to fathom how, if that is really "common sense," so many people manage to discard or ignore it. How can so many folks in our country — ordinary citizens, judges, state legislators — seem to see the matter of marriage so differently from us and from how it's been known in almost every country for all time, if it truly is a matter of "common sense"?
Well, perhaps to them the phrase 'common sense' might not mean what we think it means. The philosopher Heraclitus noted that, "While wisdom is common, many live as if they own their own wisdom." Put another way, common sense is still common sense even when it seems to be getting uncommon.
This is more than a play on words. It's a paradox that identifies the nature of Truth itself. The writer G.K. Chesterton once likened common sense to someone coming to a gate in the road that they don't understand, but assuming it was put there for a purpose even if they don't necessarily know what that purpose is. Common sense would say to respect the gate and leave it intact. The lack of common sense would be tearing down the gate even though you didn't understand why it was there in the first place.
That is what we're seeing today. Many people in our culture have failed to understand marriage in the first place, and are dangerously attempting to destroy it based on their lack of understanding. They're crashing a gate, as it were, without ever having understood what it was built to protect in the first place: and that's a very foolish and dangerous thing to do, no matter how many people are doing it.
But nevertheless there are glimpses of the Truth all around us, of common folks who still possess enough common sense to know what marriage was designed to do and why it should be built up and strengthened rather than torn down and trampled.
How many folks still have that common sense? Quite a few, actually.
We've seen this common sense most recently in Hawaii where over ten thousand people came out in peaceful and prayerful protest against their legislature's decision to redefine marriage. In fact, we know that it is the vast majority of Hawaiians, and by no means the minority, who know that marriage is the union of one man and one woman — who know that marriage matters because the love of a mom and the love of a dad are equally invaluable to the well-being of a child. We know that a strong majority of Americans believe that marriage is the union of one man and one woman. We asked voters this question on Election Day 2012, and 60% agreed with the traditional definition of marriage. But you don't read that much in the media. We also know it from the overwhelming majority of votes that have been cast in states across America when voters have been given the opportunity to vote on marriage (something the people of Hawaii were sadly denied.)
We've seen this common sense in California as well. There, over six hundred thousand people have united with the Privacy for All Students campaign to protest the dangerous "Bathroom Bill" that Governor Brown signed into law mandating that schoolboys and schoolgirls can use any facilities they choose regardless of biological sex. They know that it isn't a good idea to let any high school guy go in and shower with the girls in his class just because he feels like it. They know that eroding the unique and special roles and differences between boys and girls means eroding those differences between men and women as they relate to children — in other words, it means saying there's nothing special about moms and dads, manhood or womanhood, but both are just amorphous and replaceable 'parental figures.'
We've seen this common sense in the African American pastors in Illinois who bravely fought over the past year to rally their congregations against the same-sex marriage bill which the legislature ended up ramming through anyway. And we'll see this common sense again when the Illinois voters have their chance to let the legislature know (through elections) how they feel about that decision!
We've seen this common sense in the legislators in Washington, D.C. — both in the Senate and in the House, and especially House Speaker John Boehner — who have taken a stand against the Employee Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) because they know that laws based on shifty and liquid definitions like "sexual orientation" or "gender identity" are ill-conceived and dangerous. They know that such laws are bound to be used as fulcrums for bullying tactics and litigation against folks like you and me who believe in marriage and in the complementarity of men and women.
So I'm writing to you today to encourage you to take heart and to stand strong, rooted in common sense — in Truth, and in Wisdom. This wisdom is still more common than it seems sometimes, and that should give us hope.
But even when it looks like common sense is becoming less and less common, these truths we've come to know remain just as true and just as good. We know why marriage matters: we know it is a gate built by God for a reason. And we'll continue together to defend it from being torn down by those who "live as if they own their own wisdom" — which is not wisdom at all.
Brian S. Brown
P.S.: Please consider making a donation to NOM today to help us share the common sense truth about marriage with as many people as possible. Whatever you can give — be it $25 or $250 — will be an aid to us in this final quarter of the year as we pay off expenses and prepare for the year beyond and some hard fights ahead — fights we plan to win! Be a part of that victory — please give today!