Preserve Traditional Marriage for Benefit of Future Generations

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Roger Crouse
Kennebec Journal & Morning Sentinel
09/28/2009

Just 12 years ago, in 1997,the Legislature defined marriage and added that definition to Maine law. Section 650, Title 19-A, of Maine law reads in part:

“The union of one man and one woman joined in traditional monogamous marriage is of inestimable value to society; the State has a compelling interest to nurture and promote the unique institution of traditional monogamous marriage in the support of harmonious families and the physical and mental health of children; and that the State has the compelling interest in promoting the moral values inherent in traditional monogamous marriage.” [1997, c. 65, §2 (NEW).]

Nothing has changed in our society in the intervening years that invalidates this definition. In fact, society needs the benefits of traditional marriage now more than ever.

Earlier this year, however, the Legislature and the governor determined Section 650 is no longer valid or true. They removed it from law at the same time they granted same-sex couples the right to marry.

Instead they have added a statement that changes the meaning of words such as “bride” and “groom,” “husband” and “wife” to be gender-neutral. In essence, they have said that male and female are completely interchangeable and neither gender provides any unique benefit to society.

In addition to saying gender does not matter, the Legislature and governor have redefined the social institution of marriage. For thousands of years, marriage has represented the union of a man and a woman. Our governor and Legislature believe they have the wisdom and foresight to know the social impacts of this change.

The future prosperity of our society, state and nation depends upon our ability to raise stable and self-reliant children. Research and statistics repeatedly show the best environment for stable families and children is one with an opposite-sex union of a father and mother.

Many people today misunderstand why the government began legalizing the marriage relationship. Marriage existed originally as a religious institution. Governments saw the societal benefits of heterosexual marriage and adopted policies to promote marriage.

Marriage is not a civil right. Societies have always regulated marriage. A man cannot marry his daughter or mother. A woman cannot marry her brother or nephew. Marriage is a tool of the society to ensure that the next generation is stable and self-reliant.

The legal right to marry is not about love. If love is the determining factor as to who should be able to get married, there would be no end to the variations of relationships that would qualify for marriage.

The social institution of marriage is centered on children. Allowing same-sex couples to marry radically alters the social institution of marriage. Same-sex marriage is centered on adults and what is best for the adult rather than children. The two definitions of marriage cannot co-exist.

Thirty or 40 years ago. few unmarried couples lived together. If they did live together and had children, they generally married because of social expectation. The social expectation of marriage, however, has eroded and now more children are being reared without their married biological parents.

If marriage becomes an adult-centered institution, the social expectation of raising children in a home where the biological parents are married will continue to erode and fewer heterosexual couples will marry.

We cannot know the impact on society when, a generation from now, fewer children are being raised in this ideal environment.

Keeping marriage defined as the union of one man and one woman is not about discrimination, intolerance or denying civil rights, it is about ensuring our society continues to reap the benefits of marriage between a man and a woman.

Alternative relationships do not provide the same benefit to society. Therefore, government should not provide legal standing to these alternative relationships.

If you disagree with our governor and Legislature, you will have the opportunity to make your opinion known by voting in November.

Send a clear message that traditional monogamous marriage remains “of inestimable value to our society” and does provide the best environment for rearing children.

Vote “yes” on Question 1.

Roger Crouse is a father of four children and lives in Central Maine. He is actively involved in his church and scouting. He loves the hiking and being in the outdoors.

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