Marriage: What is the Government’s Role?

Posted: April 8, 2013 in Apologetics, Christians & Culture, Homosexuality & Same-Sex Marriage, Politics

MarriageGovernments, broadly speaking, are institutions put in place by groups of people and ordained by God (cf. Rom. 13:1) to carry out certain functions unable to be fulfilled by the individual members of that group. Example functions of good government are as follows: carrying out justice, restraining evil, protection of God-given rights, public works projects, protection from foreign powers, etc. Although the American system of government was designed to be limited, there are certain roles it assumes to ensure the success and welfare of the country. One such role is the promotion, protection, and privileging of certain institutions, e.g. marriage and corporations. Both institutions play a pivotal role in the long-term social and economic welfare of America.

As mentioned in a previous post, marriage relationships – defined as a man and a woman in a long-term, committed relationship – as a rule, as a group, and by nature, bring forth the next generation. Since the dawn of man, this has been the God-given order. Additionally, studies have shown that children raised by their biological parents in a loving family setting fair better than children of any other familial arrangement.[1] Therefore, the marriage relationship and the children it produces are a vital component of a flourishing civilization. The mere thought of a civilization void of this institution invokes images of societal chaos, personal instability, and a scarcity of love. Because the traditional family unit is the cornerstone of society, government has a compelling interest in promoting, protecting, and privileging this institution.

Proponents of same-sex marriage yearn for governmental recognition and involvement in same-sex unions, but is this a reasonable goal? Should governments advocate for these relationships, giving them legal status? The simple answer is no. There are endless relational possibilities, yet the government has a compelling interest in promoting, protecting, and privileging only a select few. Consider friendships for example. Nearly everyone is engaged in friendships with others – spending time together, sharing a devotion to one another, and even sharing living space. Yet, the government has no reason or right to interfere in these relationships. What is its compelling interest? None. The government rightly takes a hands-off approach in these private matters since there is no societal or economic benefit to involvement. The same approach should be applied to same-sex relationships. Government involvement in these matters is unnecessary and unreasonable.

To learn more about this topic and others related to same-sex marriage, please download this free booklet here.


[1] One such example is a study published in the June 2012 issue of Social Science Research by Mark Regnerus of the University of Texas at Austin.

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