on the Family's Position Statement on Same-Sex "Marriage" and Civil Unions
January 16, 2004
Marriage is a sacred
union, ordained by God to be a life-long, sexually exclusive relationship between
one man and one woman. Focus on the Family holds this institution in the highest
esteem, and strongly opposes any legal sanction of marriage counterfeits, such
as the legalization of same-sex "marriage" or the granting of marriage-like benefits
to same-sex couples, cohabiting couples, or any other non-marital relationship.
History, nature, social science, anthropology, religion, and theology all coalesce
in vigorous support of marriage as it has always been understood: a life-long
union of male and female for the purpose of creating stable families.
and Marriage Marriage is not an American invention. It has existed as an institution
since the beginning of civilization, and thus supersedes our modern laws. Every
long-standing society has viewed marriage as a union of male and female. Studies
of previous civilizations reveal that when a society strays from the sexual ethic
of marriage, it deteriorates and eventually disintegrates.1
and Marriage Even a casual observation of nature reveals the vital distinctions
between male and female and the need that each has for the other. Gender distinctions
are not simply an artificial social construct. Men and women are uniquely designed
to complement each other physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Marriage is
the means for melding the two sexes into a stronger and more complete whole. Thus
while marriage has intrinsic value of its own, a primary purpose of marriage is
procreation. Marriage is the natural and best means for the propagation of the
Children and Marriage
The optimal environment for raising a child is one in which the child's mother
and father are married to each other. Deliberately depriving a child of a mother
or a father is not in the child's best interest. On average, when compared with
children raised by both parents, children in single-parent homes fare worse in
virtually every measure of well-being.2 The sparse research regarding
children raised in same-sex couple households reveals that such children are comparable
in well-being to those in single-parent households.3 In addition, children
raised by homosexuals are significantly more likely to develop a homosexual orientation
themselves.4 Men and women are distinctly different. Each gender brings
vitally important - and unique - elements to a child's development. Research reveals
that the presence of a father in the home affects children's cognitive and verbal
skills, academic performance, involvement in or avoidance of high-risk behaviors
and crime, and emotional and psychological health.5 A wealth of research
and information has been published about the power and importance of the mother-child
Marriage We elevate marriage in our laws over other relationships because
marriage has proven over millennia to be an obvious societal good. Marriage is
open to any two individuals provided they meet certain criteria regarding age
and blood relationship, and provided the individuals are of the opposite sex.
Homosexual activists seek not to end discrimination, but rather to completely
redefine - and thus undermine - the foundational institution of marriage. Indeed,
some prominent gay activists have gone so far as to state this as their goal.7
This powerful, advantaged, vocal special interest group is seeking not to be left
alone, not to be simply tolerated or even respected, but to force its views on
the rest of society.
Love and Marriage
Those who would redefine marriage often insist that the only necessary qualification
for marriage is "love." Yet if one accepts that rationale, then there can logically
be no boundaries as to what constitutes marriage; any combination or number of
consenting individuals must ultimately gain the same legal and societal sanction
as traditional marriage. While love is vital, it is not the definitional element
of marriage. We love many people we do not marry.
and Marriage The five major world religions, Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism,
Islam, and Judaism recognize and uphold the natural, heterosexual understanding
of marriage. By contrast, these religions teach that homosexual behavior is sinful
The Bible and
Marriage Marriage is the first institution ordained by God and has served
from the beginning as the foundation for continuation of the human race. Genesis
tells us that shortly after the creation of the first man, God acknowledged Adam's
incompleteness. God then created Eve as Adam's partner, his completer, and blessed
their union.9 Jesus underscored the importance and sacredness of marriage
in His own teachings.10 The apostle Paul taught that the marital relationship
is to be an ongoing demonstration of the sacrificial love that Christ showed His
church. In contrast, the Bible clearly proscribes any form of homosexual behavior
as sinful.11 As such, it is not and cannot be the basis for a sacred
Marriage is unquestionably
good for individuals and society. It deserves respect and protection. Any efforts
to redefine marriage destroy the institution. Thus we oppose any government recognition
or endorsement of marriage counterfeits, including same-sex unions.
T. Stanton is Director of Social Research and Cultural Affairs and Senior Analyst
for Marriage and Sexuality at Focus on the Family. He is also author of Why
Marriage Matters: Reasons to Believe in Marriage in Postmodern Society (Pinon
J. D. Unwin, Sexual Regulations and Human Behavior (London: Williams &
2See, for example, D. A. Dawson, "Family Structure
and Children’s Health and Well-being," Journal of Marriage and the Family,
3See F. Tasker and S. Golombok, "Adults Raised
as Children in Lesbian Families," American Journal of Orthopsychiatry 65:2:
4Ibid. See also, T. J. Dailey, "Breaking the Ties
that Bind." Family Research Council Insight, February 18, 2000.
D. Blankenhorn, Fatherless America. (New York: Basic Books, 1995). See
also, K. D. Pruett, Fatherneed. (New York: Free Press, 2000).
for example, B. Hunter, The Power of Mother Love. (Colorado Springs: Waterbrook
7See, for example, Michelangelo Signorile, "Bridal
Wave," Out, January/February 1994, at p. 161.
Religions on the Question of Marriage," Marriage Law Project, April 2000, at <http://marriagelaw.cua.edu>.
20:13; Romans 1:18-32; I Corinthians 6:9-11.
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