It is no victory for tolerance and diversity to simply shift intolerance and discrimination from one group to another.
For millennia, societies and governments have rationally recognized the singular benefits derived from marriage that is a comprehensive union of will and body, a permanent and exclusive commitment and uniquely designed for procreation and the benefits of family life. Research evidences the benefits to children raised by both a mother and a father,[iv] economic factors favoring traditional families[v] and the high cost to government and society when marriage breaks down.[vi]
The issue of marriage, far from decided, provides Americans with an opportunity to shun incivility and intolerance and instead embrace a rational and respectful debate. We all need to learn to love and listen to those who differ with us.
[i] For example, in declaring unconstitutional a federal law upholding "traditional moral teaching" regarding marriage, the United States Supreme Court maintained that protecting conjugal marriage only "seeks to injure" non-heterosexual couples, to "impose a disadvantage, a separate status and so a stigma," to "impose inequality," "to degrade or demean" and "to disparage and to injure." United States, petitioner v. Edith Schlain Windsor, in her capacity as executor of the Estate of Thea Clara Spyer, et al., Justice Kennedy's delivery of the majority opinion of the Court, June 26, 2013.
[ii] The Obama administration recently issued a new "Federal Recognition of Same-sex Spouses/Marriages" grant policy requiring that "all grant recipients will be subject to a term and condition that instructs grantees to recognize any same-sex marriage legally entered into in a U.S. jurisdiction that recognizes their marriage." See, for example, this link to a HRSA grant.
[iii] Thomas M. Messner, "Religious Freedom and Marriage in Federal Law," Heritage Backgrounder #2865, http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2014/01/religious-freedom-and-marriage-in-federal-law.
[iv] See, for example, Mark Regnerus, “How Different Are the Adult Children of Parents Who Have Same-Sex Relationships? Findings from the New Family Structures Study,” Social Science Research, Vol. 41, No. 4 (July 2012), and Loren Marks, “Same-Sex Parenting and Children’s Outcomes: A Closer Examination of the American Psychological Association’s Brief on Lesbian and Gay Parenting,” Ibid.
[v] See, for example, Patrick Fagan, “The Wealth of Nations Depends on the Health of Families,” Public Discourse, February 6, 2013.
[vi] A study by the Brookings Institution, for example, revealed that between 1970 and 1996, $229 billion in welfare expenditures could be attributed to social problems related to the breakdown of marriage.