Religion in Society

Traditional Heterosexual Marriage Provides Key Benefits to Society

| by Illinois Family Institute

In Springfield on Wednesday, Illinois State Representative Deborah Mell (D-Chicago) took a moment of personal privilege in the legislative chamber to announce that she and her lesbian partner would be traveling to Iowa to get married next year, and to advocate for so-called same-sex "marriage" legislation here in Illinois.

There has been considerable media coverage of Rep. Mell's announcement -- all of it one-sided, but what hasn't been addressed strikes at the very heart of this debate: the public purpose of marriage.

Marriage is not a relationship that society created in order to give some people benefits and deny them to others. Marriage is the institution that societies worldwide have recognized and encouraged because this unique relationship between a man and a woman provides particular benefits to society, chief among them, the procreation and nurturing of the next generation. 

If marriage were centrally or solely about affirming love between individuals, the government would have no reason to be involved in the business of sanctioning marriage. Government sanctions the type of relationship into which children may be born and raised because the government recognizes that that institution which best serves the needs and rights of children is the institution that best serves as the foundation to a healthy society.

Society has historically concluded that marriage requirements -- limiting the number of partners, prohibiting incestuous marriages, age and sexual complementarity -- best serve the needs of children and therefore best serve the needs of society.

Polyamorous people cannot redefine marriage by eliminating the criterion of numbers of partners. Incestuous couples cannot redefine marriage by eliminating the criterion regarding blood kinship. And those who believe they are in love with minors cannot redefine marriage by eliminating the criterion of minimum age. However, homosexual activists persistently demand that marriage be redefined to suit their selfish desires. 

The social science is clear and irrefutable: children do best in stable, healthy homes with both a mom and dad. Therefore, the government has a compelling interest to recognize, protect and promote the God-ordained institution of marriage through legal benefits.