Five Questions and Answers About the Same-Sex Marriage Issue

The Supreme Court is expected to rule on two key marriage cases before the end of June. And as the nation awaits the decisions to the Prop 8 and DOMA and cases, good people are asking thoughtful questions on why marriage matters. However, it's not always easy to wade through the research and pundit talking points to get trustworthy information on this important issue. You might even find yourself in a conversation with a friend who might see things differently than you.

This is why I want to share with you a resource you might appreciate: a free downloadable e-book created by the leading groups in the movement to defend natural marriage. "What You Need to Know about Marriage" provides some of the best secular arguments to why we should continue to define marriage the union between a man and a woman.

Here's a sample of the content you'll find in this e-book.

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1. Why does marriage matter to the government?

Government recognizes marriage because it is an institution that benefits society in a way that no other relationship does.

Marriage ensures the well-being of children. When government recognizes marriage, it protects children by encouraging men and women to commit to each other and to take responsibility for their children.

Government recognizes, protects, and promotes marriage as the ideal institution for having and raising children. Promoting marriage doesn't ban anything. Adults are still free to make choices about their relationships, and do not need government permission to do so.

2. What are the consequences of redefining marriage?

Redefining marriage would hurt children. Decades of social science-including very recent and robust studies-show that children do better when raised by a married mom and dad.

Redefining marriage would further separate marriage from the needs of children. It would deny as a matter of policy the ideal that a child needs a mom and a dad. Government would be forced to intervene more often and welfare programs would grow even larger.

Redefining marriage would push out traditional views on the family, leading to the erosion of religious liberty. Citizens in Canada and right here in places like Massachusetts and Washington, D.C., are already seeing this happen.

3. Why do you want to interfere with love? Why can't we just live and let live?

Marriage laws don't ban anything; they define marriage. In all 50 states, two people of the same sex can choose to live together, choose to join a religious community that blesses their relationship, and choose a workplace offering them various joint benefits.

What's at issue is whether the government will recognize such relationships as marriages-and then coerce others to recognize and affirm same-sex relationships as marriages. That's not fair.

4. Isn't denying same-sex couples the freedom to marry the same as a ban on interracial marriage?

No. Racism kept the races apart, and that is a bad thing. Marriage unites the two sexes, and that is a good thing. Marriage must be color-blind, but it cannot be gender-blind.

Men and women-regardless of their race-can unite in marriage; and children need moms and dads-regardless of their race.

5. Why doesn't government just get out of the marriage business altogether?

Marriage is society's best guarantee of a limited government that stays out of family life.

Intact, enduring marriages are society's best tool for ensuring that children are born into stable caring families that will care for, educate, and train those children to be good people and good citizens. If mothers and fathers do not fulfill the responsibility for caring for the children they create, then third parties and government will have to step in.

In situations where families have broken up due to divorce, government involvement usually increases. A study by the left-leaning Brookings Institution found that, between 1970 and 1996, $229 billion in welfare expenditures could be attributed to social problems related to the breakdown of marriage.

By promoting strong, intact marriages, the government actually reduces the role it would otherwise play in fulfilling these social functions. It is in the interest of children, spouses, and the public to promote strong and enduring marriages.

Marriage matters. It was the first institution God created, and was later affirmed by Jesus when he said, "Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, 'Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh'? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate."

It's always been comforting for me to see how secular reason ultimately bears out the truth and wisdom found in Scripture. With all our technology, and all our education, humankind has not been able to improve upon God's design for society. God's principles still work, and they are good. Strong marriages make strong families, and these two institutions still provide the framework for society across all the lands of the earth.

To download your free copy of "What You Need to Know about Marriage," visit If you want to learn more about God's design and purpose for marriage, I encourage you to read our online series on the topic, Marriage: God's Idea.

Jim Daly is president of Focus on the Family and host of its National Radio Hall of Fame-honored daily broadcast, heard by more than 2.9 million listeners a week on more than 1,000 radio stations across the U.S. Follow Jim Daly on Twitter @Dalyfocus Follow Jim Daly on Facebook Follow Jim Daly's blog at DalyFocus

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