This week, the celebration of Father’s Day provided Members of Congress an opportunity to speak up in support of fatherhood.

Representative Vicky Hartzler (R–MO) led multiple Members in floor speeches on the importance and necessity of fathers.

They particularly emphasized fatherhood in connection with marriage. Fatherhood in the context of marriage, they argued, provides the greatest opportunity for permanence and stability in a father’s relationship with his children.

According to Hartzler:

Children learn the importance of work and dedication to providing for the family when they see their dad leave for his job each day. They learn the importance of faith when he takes his family to church on Sunday. And they learn the value of family when he prioritizes his time to eat dinner with them each night or to coach their little league team. We need good fathers now more than ever. Their importance is paramount to another discussion taking place in our nation, and that is the value of marriage in America.

Hartzler went on to defend marriage as the union of one man and one woman. She warned that redefining marriage would deny the ideal that a child needs both a mom and dad.

Clearly, we all agree on the critical role fathers play in the lives of their children, which is why we should continue to affirm marriage as the union of a man and a woman in the interest of children.… You cannot say that fathers are essential while making them optional.

Her comments come at a time when the Supreme Court is set to issue opinions in cases challenging the Defense of Marriage Act and Proposition 8.

Representative Jim Lankford (R–OK) offered sobering statistics on the epidemic of fatherlessness in America:

Fifteen million children live life without a father. Fifteen million. In 1960, there were only 11 percent of the homes that didn’t have a father. Today, it’s over one-third of the homes that don’t have a father.… [W]e know economically, we know emotionally, the strongest homes and what’s best for our children, is for a mom and a dad.

Representative Tim Huelskamp (R–KS) also connected the presence of married fathers with American renewal:

It is vital that we encourage fatherhood in the context of marriage and uphold policies that reflect the truth—the truth that fathers are not optional and play a vital role to their families. And restoring America must begin again on the home front. It begins with encouraging and supporting committed, responsible fatherhood in the context of marriage.

These Members’ speeches underscore the reality that children need a mom and a dad.