Marriage: Answering the Challenging Questions

T. Elliot Gaiser /

Bill Sykes/ZUMAPRESS/Newscom

Bill Sykes/ZUMAPRESS/Newscom

Government redefinition of marriage is not inevitable. Even though a few jurisdictions have redefined marriage, it will not be good for society. In the end, though, the truth about marriage will prevail, because the push behind same-sex marriage is based on a lie.

So argues Heritage expert Ryan T. Anderson in a recent New York Daily News op-ed and in two recent interviews. Anderson provides answers to common questions raised in favor of redefining marriage on Two-Minute Warning with John Stonestreet and CBN’s 700 Club, starting with: Why is gay marriage illegal?

His answer: It’s not.

“In all 50 states, two people of the same sex can live with each other and love each other, they can go to a liberal church and have a wedding ceremony performed, they can work for a liberal business and have marriage benefits, if the church wants to and if the business wants to,” he said. “It’s very much live and let live.”

But that’s not what those who want to redefine marriage are asking for. “What they’re asking is for the Supreme Court to redefine marriage, and then have government use the coercive power of law to force people like you and me and our religious communities and our businesses to recognize a same-sex relationship as if it’s a marriage,” he said.

Redefining marriage would coerce Americans to accept a view of marriage that puts the desires of adults ahead of the needs of children.

“In our book, we point out Plato and Aristotle and Cicero, as well as the Jews, the Christians, and the Muslims, and enlightenment thinkers like Immanuel Kant, and Eastern thinkers like Gandhi—they disagreed about a lot in their philosophy,” said Anderson. “And yet they all agreed that marriage is a male-female relationship because a union of a man and a woman can produce a child, and children need a mother and a father.”

What would be the consequences of changing the definition of marriage? “If you redefine marriage to say that the sexual complementarity of a man in a woman is arbitrary, then more or less everything about marriage becomes arbitrary,” said Anderson. “There will be no reason why marriage should be the union of two people rather than more.”

Indeed, leading voices in favor of redefining marriage admit as much, as Anderson documented in his op-ed piece “The Big Same-Sex Marriage Lie.”

The crisis in marriage emerged before the same-sex marriage debate with the erosion of a strong marriage culture.

“Heterosexuals, acting on a bad liberal ideology, have made a mess of marriage in America,” said Anderson. “Divorce, cohabitation, single-parenting, premarital sex: start the list and you’ll keep going.”

“A generation ago, government redefined what marriage is for the first time: With the introduction of no-fault divorce, the law now taught that marriage need not be a permanent relationship,” said Anderson. “We saw divorce rates rise from your single digits to nearly 50 percent, because the law taught something about marriage.”

This redefinition harmed children while expanding the welfare system, Anderson says, and redefining marriage would only deepen these consequences.

And despite what the media often say, the debate is not over. Instead, defenders of marriage can take responsibility to persuade Americans to protect this vital institution.

Nothing is inevitable in this discussion. If we think back 40 years ago when the Supreme Court issued the Roe v. Wade decision, all of the media elites and the academic elites and their politicians were saying that pro-lifers are on the wrong side of history and that abortion on demand was inevitable and that there is nothing that anyone could do to roll back the clock, and yet 40 years later we now see that my generation is more pro-life than my parents’ generation.