What is marriage?
Marriage is the sacrament of love that precedes the institution of life – the family. If the family is the microcosm of society, marriage is both secular constitution and sacred covenant. It is the habitat of the family, and it pre-exists the state. It is between one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others, for the procreation of children, the unification of spouses, and the sanctification of all its members.
What are the social benefits of marriage?
Marriage endows society with stability, confers it with purpose and generously grants it continuation. The citizen is foremost a family member, and it is the family that mediates between the atomistic individual and the amorphous state. This social fabric, which is made seamless through the fecund union of the marriage institution, protects the individual from the nanny-state. To adequately address the needs of the community, the state cannot overstep its role by meddling in concerns of the family. The state derives its legitimacy from God and its humanity from the family. Without either (or, in Canada’s case, without both) the state becomes immoderate, inhuman, and immoral.
Why should the state recognize marriage?
The state recognizes marriage because it is aware of the inestimable value of the institution and, moreover, because it must accept the reality that marriage is outside the pale of its jurisdiction. Just as human rights are not bestowed by the state, but are gifts from God, marriage is, likewise, not conferred, but acknowledged. As such, the onus is on the state to uphold and protect marriage. Furthermore, the state must recognize the special status of the married couple if it hopes to govern justly, aware of the special needs and protections that the family is owed. However, if the moment at which life begins can be decided by an act of Parliament, it should come as no surprise that other immutables are so blithely disregarded.
Why can the state not simply “get-out of the marriage business”?
Just as marriage invests the spouses with dignity and responsibility, marriage demands that the special duties, borne by the married couple, be acknowledged legally, and respected socially. Disconnecting the married couple from the state would cheapen marriage by placing it on the same level as private ventures and victimless crimes. If the state can ignore the married couple’s unique role as educator, mediator, and procreator, then it most surely can renege on its own responsibility of protector and advocate.
Why not give legal recognition to same-sex partners?
A two-tier system of sacred marriage and civil unions would respond to the pressing question of marriage with a compromising evasion, offending everyone and solving nothing. If marriage is truly above the caprice of law, then it cannot abide legal lookalikes. Civil unions will only prolong marriage’s decay, with a pragmatic solution to a question of principle.
Why is marriage between one man and one woman?
The family directs itself outwardly by its very nature: society survives as the life of one generation arises from the love and responsibility of another. The love of the parents is physically manifest in their children. Marriage provides the child with two parents: one to be emulated, and one whose qualities are sought in a spouse of their own. The differences in the sexes are not arbitrary social fiat, but unchangeable natural fact. The love of the two spouses results in a union, so profound that a third person is pro-created. The fecundity of marriage is society’s wellspring of continued existence; posterity begins in profound love. Because the child is conceived in the womb of the mother, and gestates in the bosom of the family, only a love that engenders life can lay claim to the wholeness and holiness of the married state.
If marriage is for procreation, why can’t homosexuals marry in this age of reproductive technology?
What society needs now is not a further dilution of the family, with surrogate wombs and donor sperm, but a reunion of all these amputated elements of procreation in a meaningful setting which is conducive to their natural flourishing into new life: the heterosexual married couple. Such reproductive technologies imperil the family, threatening to blend it into an amorphous and arbitrary social unit without context or continuity. That technology can now produce results which parody those of married love, imbues marriage with more importance, not less. Disjointed scientific procedures do not a family make, and the attempt reduces the child to a commodity and marriage to an antiquated superfluity.
The family has reasons, which reason does not know, which no scientist can divine and which no sterile union – no matter how earnest – can adequately replace or convincingly imitate. Marriage is not so strong that it does not need to be defended from an activist court and an acquiescent parliment.