Sonja Corbitt Offers a Non-Religious, Social Defense of Marriage
contrary to reason.
The man plus woman union is, therefore, foundationally and naturally dominant over all other unions, from the dawn of humanity. Civil law that favors this particular union simply reflects its dominance and succession (procreation and education) of human generations.
A Historical Social Perspective
This anthropological union, throughout the history of human civilization, is called marriage. Since an original social institution is founded, one through which human civilization and society originate, a demand for justice and protection is inherent within marriage itself, without regard to public authority.
History proves that the man plus woman union is also properly socially dominant over all other unions, because stable man plus woman marriage is the solitary, fecund cell upon which every society was ever built, and every civilization has ever stood.
The family cell is the historically and incontestably best environment for children to thrive. The complete self-giving of man and a woman in their potential fatherhood and motherhood, with the resulting union - that is also exclusive and permanent - between the parents and the children, expresses unconditional trust that is expressed in strength and enrichment for all.
The bond between a mother and a conceived child and the irreplaceable function of the father require the child to be welcomed into a family which will guarantee, whenever it is possible, the presence of both parents. The marriage union is therefore good and preferable to all others. Study after study after study, and our combined human experience all prove that children from stable, traditional marriages are better adjusted.
They do not long for a missing father or mother, they do not experience the trauma of divorce, they are not at risk of becoming involved in crime and violence, they do not lack community, they are less often victims of poverty, are less often dependent on government, they have fewer emotional and psychological problems, and fewer health problems.
The family nucleus, as the basic building block of the whole of society, offers benefits unique to it. Marriage nurtures economic stability when the State is not forced to substitute itself where family is missing or broken. It offers legal stability, when the State need not intervene in problems that would otherwise be solved privately, including education, citizenship, the transmission of culture and values, and care of the elderly.
Marriage fosters freedom. Breakdowns in the traditional family have historically left individuals more and more vulnerable and defenseless before the power of the State and impoverished them by requiring progressive intrusions on liberties. Although the crisis of the family has certainly been the cause of greater intervention by the State, it is also true that government initiatives facilitate and promote difficulties and breakdowns of many marriages and families. Anyone who wants to know the ulterior motives of a government or institution should take a look at what it incentivizes.
A Contemporary Social Perspective
The family is the original cell of social life. It is the natural society in which husband and wife expect and are expected to give themselves in love and in the gift of life, constituting the foundations for freedom, security and community within society.
The marriage union is inclined in itself toward complementarity, a certain exclusivity, the generation of offspring, and a joint life project. The legislative function must always reflect and support this ideal reality in social responsibility.
Marriage, as the foundation of the family and society, is not a "way of living sexuality as a couple." While it can only be established through an act of mutual free will, as an institution it is determined by the structure of the human being, the woman and the man in mutual self-giving and the transmission of life, not public authority.
Other ways of living sexuality can exist - other forms of living together, other friendly relationships whether based on sexual activity or not, and other ways of bringing children into the world. Such unions can be based on love and constitute a community of life and love, but they are substantially different from the community of life and love of marriage. Any alternative union that previews marriage without commitment or betrays the natural structure of marriage is legalized and incentivized to the erosion of society.
Therefore, the law must distinguish between public interest and private interest. It is the role of government to protect and encourage public interest, but the State can only guarantee freedom in private interest.
Marriage and the family are in the interest of society and should be recognized and protected as such; they are the fundamental nucleus of society and the State. Two or more persons may decide to live together, with or without a sexual relationship, but this cohabitation is not, for that reason, of public interest. Public authorities should not incentivize the private choice of alternative unions which are the result of private behavior and should remain on the private level. The Sate should only ever legalize or incentivize behaviors and unions that are good for society.
Their public recognition or equivalency to marriage, and the resulting elevation of a private interest to a public interest, weakens the family based on marriage. In marriage a man and a woman constitute a community of the whole of life which is ordered by its very nature to the good of the spouses and the generation and up-bringing of offspring.
What is specific about the family based on marriage is that it is the only institution that incorporates and unites all the elements mentioned, originally and simultaneously. It is the natural heritage of humanity written in every person's DNA and which characterizes the culture of all the peoples in history.
Family based on marriage and alternative unions are neither similar nor equivalent in their duties, functions and services in society; they cannot be similar or equivalent in their legal status. It is for the common good of society that the institution of marriage be legally protected, incentivized, and elevated, in order to encourage that behavior for the good of children, individuals, society, and humankind. It is why 30 states, as of yesterday, have moved to protect marriage.
Catholic Documents on Marriage
Pontifical Council for the Family on Family, Marriage, and De Facto Unions
Sonja Corbitt is a Catholic speaker, Scripture study author, and a contributing writer for Catholic Online. Visit pursuingthesummit.com to order her 10-week, DVD-driven Bible study on the "whys" of Catholicism: Soul of the World, The Heart as God's Dwelling Place.
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: defense of marriage, gay marriage, equal rights, traditional marriage, DOMA, divorce, living together, cohabitation
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