STAND: Why marriage matters

Here’s an example of intelligent discussion about the social/familial and governmental consequences of redefining marriage.

Ryan Anderson addresses the House Judiciary Committee on January 13, 2014. Mr. Anderson is the William E. Simon Fellow at The Heritage Foundation. He’s a graduate of Princeton and doctoral candidate at the University of Notre Dame. He speaks and writes “on justice and moral principles in economic thought, health care and education, and has expertise in bioethics and natural law theory” (

I would like to refer particularly to the social science data he cites that refers to the war on poverty. How many children today are born out of wedlock and without fathers present in their raising? “More than 50% of Hispanic children…and more than 70% of African American children. And the consequences for those children are really serious. The state’s interest in marriage is not that it cares about my love life or your love life or anyone’s love life, just for the sake of romance. The state’s interest in marriage is ensuring that those kids have fathers who  are involved in their lives. And so what we saw is that this is when the welfare state took off. This is when all of the welfare spending that bankrupts so many states and the federal government took off. It’s when crime rates increased. It’s when child poverty for those children increased. It’s when social mobility decreased. So everything that you can care about, if you’re someone who cares about social justice and limited government, if you care about freedom and liberty and you care about the poor, is better served by having the state define marriage correctly, to ensure that men and women commit to each other and take responsibility for their children while then leaving other consenting adults free to live and love how they choose without redefining the institution–the fundamental institution–of marriage.”

Shortly after this quote, he explains how redefining marriage how it hurts you and your marriage: “It fundamentally reorients the institution of marriage away from the needs and the rights of children towards the desire of adults. It no longer makes marriage primarily about ensuring the type of family life that’s ideal for kids; it makes it more about adult romance. If the biggest social problem we face right now in the United States is absentee dads, how will we insist that fathers are essential when the law redefines marriage to make fathers optional?” 


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