by John Horvat II
In the controversy surrounding the same-sex “marriage” debate, there are some who claim that the State should not get involved in marriage at all.
Since marriage is a private contract, the best “solution” would be to let the private parties deal with their own matters and keep the State out of such affairs all together.
Others take the opposite approach and claim that the State should recognize any kind of union as marriage including same-sex “marriage.”
In making these claims, they feel they can arbitrarily define what marriage is. They further hope to force the State to validate their conception of marriage by extending official recognition.
The key to the controversy is to establish the State’s interest in recognizing marriage. Those advocating no government role must prove that there is no compelling reason for their position.
Those who favor same-sex “marriage” position must show why it is in the interest of the common good that the State extend its recognition. Finally, the pro-family advocate must show why only traditional marriage corresponds to this interest to the exclusion of all others.
Thus, the same-sex “marriage” advocates claim the end of any marriage is exclusively the love and pleasure of the parties. To suppress the love between two people is cruel and unfair, and therefore the State must recognize such love as marriage.
However, this is not marriage. Mutual love is not the primary end of marriage. Mutual love can be easily had outside of marriage. If it is only to promote a friendship or purely personal relationship, the State certainly has no interest in promoting such a private end.
Even the producing of children is not properly speaking the end of marriage, since procreation can also be done outside of the marriage bond. As those who would “privatize” marriage contend, just having children in itself does not justify State intervention.
Marriage starts to have an end beyond a mere private contract when it provides an atmosphere for the stable protection, education and upbringing of the child. Here, the State has an interest in the perpetuity of human society and therefore needs to insure children are born and raised properly. The common good demands that the state promote and recognize traditional marriage as the only proven stable atmosphere based on human nature that conserves numerous children and guarantees society’s future. Take away the family and society decays irremediably.
Thus, any measure taken to frustrate the end of marriage is contrary to the interest of the State. That is why the consistent pro-family advocates are against abortion, divorce or contraception. The loving family is the reason for marriage and any measures taken to suppress procreation or shatter the stable upbringing of children are to be opposed.
This is particularly true of same-sex “marriage” since it is by definition a sterile union that cannot naturally fulfill the primary purpose of marriage. In cases where adoption or extraordinary artificial means are used to have children, such unions will always deprive the child of either a father or a mother.
Finally, the great majority of same-sex “marriage” advocates openly state their primary purpose in seeking such unions is for the benefit of the two parties. That being the case, then the state has no interest in, and should not take a legal interest in their relationship.
Same-sex “marriage” is therefore a sham and is not marriage. And the State has every right to defend its common interest by refusing recognition to such an open defiance of the institution’s end.
There is yet another reason why the State must get involved in marriage. The State must go beyond merely recognizing the difficulties of raising children in a stable union and thus do everything possible to make these hardships easier.
The State’s role is even greater than just assistance. It sees the child is the only social object of the marriage. Thus, the State intervenes in the couple’s marriage contract and, in recognizing their union, represents the child yet to be born.
It accepts and witnesses to the union under the assumption that the couple will make every effort to give birth to the child. On its part, the State does everything possible to ease this birth by extending the benefits of family law to the parents. The State is the child’s advocate even before the parents give him existence.
The exchange of marital vows is thus formed of three persons, either present or represented – the two spouses and the child represented by the State. The State always represents the absent or weaker family members in the family. In its marriage laws, the State represents the child before birth. In its inheritance laws, it represents the father after death. The State both precedes and survives the family in its consuming quest to insure its orderly perpetuity.
Thus, when this engagement of three is broken by two of the parties to the detriment of the weaker, the child, the State is obligated to take the part of the latter. This is especially true when this third party is the very reason for the social union of the other two in the first place. Why? because the State agreed to take up the cause of the yet unborn child at the time of the union.
Thus, there is a natural link between the pro-life and pro-marriage causes. The State is the natural ally of the family in its battle against abortion, divorce, contraception and so many other forces working for the family’s destruction.
However, the State must also be naturally opposed to same-sex “marriage.” This is because there is naturally no social object to such union. The State cannot represent an unborn child which cannot be born to the two.
The State cannot consent to a union which does not have as its purpose the welfare of that third person it can never produce. The State that consents to such a situation becomes not a witness but an accomplice to the destruction of the purpose of marriage.