The best defense of traditional marriage to date

This is probably the best defense of traditional marriage that I’ve read. The writers are respectful of the views of same-sex marriage proponents, which is unusual in pieces like this. One section about the role of the state particularly caught my attention:

…Although it is still a radical position without much purchase in public opinion, one increasingly hears the opinion that government should get out of the marriage business: Let individuals make whatever contracts they want, and receive the blessing of whatever church agrees to give it, but confine the government’s role to enforcing contracts. This policy is not so much unwise as it is impossible. The government cannot simply declare itself uninterested in the welfare of children. Nor can it leave it to prearranged contract to determine who will have responsibility for raising children. (It’s not as though people can be expected to work out potential custody arrangements every time they have sex; and any such contracts would look disturbingly like provisions for ownership of a commodity.)

When a marriage involving children breaks down, or a marriage culture weakens, government has to get more involved, not less. Courts may well end up deciding on which days of the month each parent will see a child. We have already gone some distance in separating marriage and state, in a sense: The law no longer ties rights and responsibilities over children to marriage, does little to support a marriage culture, and in some ways subsidizes non-marriage. In consequence government must involve itself more directly in caring for children than it did under the old marriage regime — with worse results.

Read the entire piece here.

Zoe Romanowsky


Zoe Romanowsky is writer, consultant, and coach. Her articles have appeared in "Catholic Digest," "Faith & Family," "National Catholic Register," "Our Sunday Visitor," "Urbanite," "Baltimore Eats," and Zo

  • MRA

    Thanks for pointing this out. It’s certainly the best thing I’ve read on the subject recently – or perhaps ever.

  • Donna

    but I’m afraid it’s too dependent on the state of current technology. What I’m wondering is : what happens when two people of the same sex can actually have a child together ? I believe a scientist has already taken female mouse cells, modified them to act like sperm, and produced baby mice with a mother and a female ‘father’. If this particular technology gets to people, we will have girls who have two female genetic parents. Will lesbian couples then suddenly be ‘marriageable ‘ because they can produce a child with no male involvement on even the cellular level ?

  • MRA

    In reply to Donna’s question, the point is that the normal, natural act of intercourse is in itself such as to produce offspring, even without the conscious wish of its participants that it should do so. As St. Thomas Aquinas would say,it is “per se aptum” to this end.

    Perhaps (perhaps!) we could someday contrive some other, deliberate way of making babies, but that seems beside the point.

    And to add a corollary point to the article, along the same line of reasoning: even if we did contrive such means of reproduction, it would seem that the involvement of a commercial contract would be unavoidable (just as it is with the means lesbian couples, etc., currently use to “have children”). That is, we would be commodifying children. As far as I can see, no existent or foreseeable technological means devised to give offspring to those who have rejected the natural way of getting them can get around this problem.

    And as the National Review piece points out, the state has every right (and duty!) to resist the commodification of children.

  • Donna

    I agree completely. It’s just that the state has done such a lousy job of resisting the commodification of children so far I’m less than confident that people will see it that way . smilies/sad.gif

  • MRA

    Just while we’re discussing the commodification of children and whether it can be effectively opposed, I thought I’d mention an interesting blog I recently discovered that focuses on that issue, but from a secular point of view:

  • Tom

    This policy is not so much unwise as it is impossible. The government cannot simply declare itself uninterested in the welfare of children.

    No, it’s very concerned that children not be educated with the view that they have souls, nad intrinsic worth.

    Nor can it leave it to prearranged contract to determine who will have responsibility for raising children
    It would certainly work better than allowing a state to rip a family apart because one of the partners is unhappy. State involvement in marriage has disincentivized young men by creating a sick menage a trois between a man, a woman, and the State. Go back to man and wife, and watch marriage grow again.

  • Perry Mason

    The West thrived when marriage and inter-family property rights were administered privately through the Church. It is when the state decided it hated the Church and wanted a piece that marriage went downhill.

    The statement about the impossibility of getting government out of the marriage business shows an intellectual misfire by the author. Government has no legitimate role in marriage, and largely childrearing. I will leave aside the cases of abuse due to differences of opinion.

    In fact, it is satanic for government to have a role in the unification of man and woman. There is no man, woman and state in Jesus’ teachings on marriage.

    Thus, the article that is being here praised in fact is awful, mainstream, conventional and just all around bad. Look people, the State is the reason the world is collapsing today. Quit worrying about saving traditional marriage and traditional this or that in respect of government enforcement of culture. Democracy is the god that failed. Save yourself and save your children, and build a culture the ONLY WAY TRULY POSSIBLE — VOLUNTARILY IN A COMMUNITY.

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