Why Marriage Matters

marriageFrom the Bible we know that marriage is part of God’s original order. “And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone, I will make him a help mate” [Genesis 2:18]. Jesus also affirmed that lasting, loving marriage is basic to God’s plan for us. “But from the beginning of creationGod made them male and female. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife. . .What therefore God hath joined, let not man put asunder.” [Mark 10: 6,7,9]

But did you know that a large body of social science research now affirms the importance of marriage for children, adults, and communities? Marriage matters because when fathers are committed to their children (and their children’s mother!), children are most likely to thrive and women are spared the unfair burdens of parenting alone.

Marriage reduces the risk of poverty for children and communities. The majority of children whose parents don’t get or stay married experience at least a year of poverty.
Fatherless households increase crime. Boys whose parents divorced or never married, for example, are two to three times more likely to end up in jail as adults.
Marriage protects children’s physical and mental health. Children whose parents get and stay married are healthier and also much less likely to suffer mental illness, including depression and teen suicide.
Both men and women who marry live longer, healthier and happier lives. On virtually every measure of health and well-being, married people are better-off than otherwise similar singles, onaverage.
Just living together is not the same as marriage. Married couples who cohabit first are thirty to fifty percent more likely to divorce. People who just live together do not get the same boost to health, welfare and happiness, on average, as spouses. Neither do their children. Children whose parents cohabit are at increased risk for domestic violence and child abuse and neglect. Children born toparents who were just living together are also three times more likely to experience their parents’breakup by age 5.
Parents who don’t get or stay married put children’s education at risk.Children whose parents divorced or never married have lower grade point averages, are more likely to be held back a grade,and to drop out of school. They are also less likely to end up college graduates.
When marriages fail, ties between parents and children typically weaken too.Adult childrenwhose parents divorced are only half as likely to have warm, close ties to both their mothers and their fathers. For example, in one large national survey, 65 percent of adult children of divorce reported they were not close to their fathers (compared to 29 percent of adults from intact marriages). [Source; W.Bradford Wilcox et al. 2005. Why Marriage Matters: 26 Conclusions from the Social Sciences (NY: Institute for American Values) www.americanvalues.org]
Why Not Gay Marriage?

Spin a globe and pick virtually any place on earth at any previous time in human history; you will find thatthey do marriage one way — between men and women. There may be other differences, but marriage has always required a husband and a wife. Why? Marriage teaches that men and women need each other and thatchildren need mothers and fathers. A loving and compassionate society comes to the aid of motherless and fatherless children, but no compassionate society intentionally deprives children of their own mom or dad. But this is what every same-sex home does — and for no other reason but to satisfy adult desire.

Answers to five questions:

“How will my same-sex marriage hurt your marriage?” Same-sex marriage advocates want to force everyone to dramatically and permanently alter our definition of marriage and family. The great, historic, cross-cultural understanding of marriage as the unionof husband and wife will be called bigotry in the public square. The law will teach your children and grandchildren that there is nothing special about mothers and fathers raising children together, and anyone who thinks otherwise is a bigot.
“Is same-sex marriage like interracial marriage?” Laws against interracial marriage were about keepingtwo races apart, so that one race could oppress the other, and that is wrong. Marriage is about bringingmale and female together, so that children have mothers and fathers, and so that women aren’t stuck with the enormous, unfair burdens of parenting alone— and that is good.
“Is polygamy next?” Jonathan Yarbrough, part of the first couple to get a same-sex marriage in Provincetown, Mass, said, “I think it’s possible to love more than one person and have more than one partner. . . . In our case, it is. We have an open marriage.” Once you rip a ship off its mooring who knows where it will drift next?
“What will happen to our church organizations?” After same-sex marriage is created, will the statement, “Children need a mother and a father” be deemed hate speech? In Massachusetts, the Boston Globe said so: “Governor Romney is denigrating gay families, practicing divisive, mean-spirited politics . . . by insisting that every child ‘has a right to a mother and a father.’” Right now, for example, the Catholic Church is being challenged in Canada because a local parish refused to rent out their church reception hall when they learned the reception was for a lesbian couple. Legal scholars warn that the tax exempt status and accreditation of church organizations could be at risk.
“What will public school teach?” Consider a recent National Public Radio storyfrom Boston. An eighth-grade teacher there teaches about gay sex “thoroughly and explicitly.” When asked if parents complained about their children learning such explicit material, this teacher said, “Give me a break. It’s legal now.” Heather and her two Mommies will become standard kindergarten fare. Our children need to hear a positive message about marriage. Gays and lesbians have a legal right to live as they choose, they don’t have a right to redefine marriage for all of us. For more information on what you can do to protect marriage please contact the National Organization for Marriage at (609) 688-0450 or on the web at www.nationformarriage.org.

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