Our friend Ryan Anderson over at The Heritage Foundation has neatly summarized some of the key issues involved in the marriage case currently pending before the U.S. Supreme Court:
1. Whatever people may think about marriage as a policy matter, everyone should be able to recognize the U.S. Constitution does not settle this question. Unelected judges shouldn’t insert their own policy preferences about marriage and then say the Constitution requires them everywhere.
There simply is nothing in the Constitution that requires all 50 states to redefine marriage. Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, represents one of the states whose law is under review by the Court. While Portman is personally in favor of same-sex marriage, Portman is against the Court unilaterally redefining marriage for the entire country. Portman rightly recognizes that marriage policy must be worked out democratically.
After all, the overarching question before the Supreme Court is not whether a male–female marriage policy is the best, but only whether it is allowed by the Constitution. Nor is it whether government-recognized same-sex marriage is good or bad policy, but only whether it is required by the Constitution.
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2. The government is not in the marriage business because it’s a sucker for adult romance. No, marriage isn’t just a private affair; marriage is a matter of public policy because marriage is society’s best way to ensure the well-being of children. State recognition of marriage protects children by encouraging men and women to commit to each other—and to take responsibility for their children.
Marriage exists to bring a man and a woman together as husband and wife, as well as to be father and mother to any children their union produces. Marriage is based on the anthropological truth that men and woman are distinct and complementary, the biological fact that reproduction depends on a man and a woman, and the social reality that children deserve a mother and a father.
Everyone in this debate favors marriage equality. Everyone wants the law to treat all marriages in the same ways. The only disagreement our nation faces is over what sort of consenting adult relationship is a marriage. Since the Constitution doesn’t answer that question, the people and their elected representatives should.
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3. Whatever the Court rules about marriage, the government should not discriminate against any citizen, charity, school, business or any other institution of civil society that continues to believe that marriage is the union of husband and wife. Even if the Court issues an activist decision mandating states to recognize same-sex relationships as marriages, such a ruling does not mean that government has to force citizens and institutions of civil society to violate their beliefs. Nor should it mean that.
Again we can look to Portman. While he is personally in favor of democratically redefining marriage, he does not want the government to force his definition onto other people, coercing them into violating their consciences and penalizing them if they refuse.
Unfortunately, there have been too many cases where the government has coerced and penalized citizens simply for acting in accordance with their belief that marriage is the union of husband and wife.
This must stop.
To read the full article, please visit The Daily Signal.