The Facts on Marriage Laws in America
Sarah Torre /
The Supreme Court is expected to announce decisions tomorrow in challenges to state and federal laws that define marriage as the union of a man and a woman.
At stake in the cases is whether the American people have the freedom to determine marriage policy through the democratic process.
Marriage exists to bring a man and a woman together as husband and wife to be father and mother to any children their union produces. It’s rooted in the reality that children need a mother and a father. That’s why citizens in 38 states, with good reason, affirm marriage as the union of a man and a woman.
In 31 of those states, citizens have had the opportunity to directly vote for state constitutional amendments defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman. Those constitutional amendments often passed by overwhelming majority of voter support. Conversely, in the three states that have voted to change their laws to include same-sex couples, a relatively small percentage of voters approved of the redefinition. (continues below chart)
In the two cases currently before the Supreme Court, the Court has the opportunity to return to citizens the authority to make marriage policy for themselves through ballot initiatives or their elected representatives.
You can learn more about both cases in a new Heritage fact sheet, which provides a brief history of each case and what’s at stake in the Court’s decisions.
Whatever the Court’s decisions, Americans can—and should—loudly proclaim the truth about marriage. As a recent Pew Forum study on media coverage of the marriage debate found, when Americans directly discuss the definition of marriage, there’s a robust debate over what marriage is and why it matters for public policy, and the discussion is far from over.
Check out a list of ways that you can share the truth about marriage with friends, family, and on social media.
Download a free copy of What You Need to Know About Marriage, a short, easy-to-understand pamphlet produced by The Heritage Foundation, Alliance Defending Freedom, Family Research Council, and the National Organization for Marriage.
Immediately following the decision, as well as in the months and years to come, Americans should continue to tell the truth about marriage: that it is an institution rooted in the reality that children need both a mother and a father.