In Texas We Are Fighting for Healthier Marriages, Stronger Families and Religious Freedoms

Ken Paxton
Ken Paxton is Attorney General for the State of Texas.

For those who ask why we fight so hard to protect marriage, the answer is three-fold:

First, marriage between one man and one woman developed as an institution over the course of millennia. The special relationship between one man and one woman and the families they produce are inherent in the complimentary natures of men and women. To change who can participate in marriage by government fiat changes the very nature of marriage. This means that those who seek same-sex marriages will, by their own actions, undercut what they perceive as the legitimacy that marriage currently enjoys in society.

The second reason we are fighting to maintain the institution of marriage is the value marriage provides to children. Children are the natural outcome of a relationship between a man and a woman. Though marriage is not required for having children, research — and millennia of history — shows that children thrive more when they have the benefit of a mother and a father living together, married, and as a family. Though traditional marriages can be imperfect or fail, that is not an argument against marriage — in fact the harms such failures impose on children is proof of how we all need to strive for better marriages.

Third, who gets to decide what marriage is goes to the very essence of self-government under our Constitution. The people of Texas, along with many other states, decided to enshrine marriage as being between one man and one woman. While the Supreme Court considers a case involving the legitimacy of same-sex marriage, the justices would be well served to remember that the federal government is supposed to be one of limited powers, and judges are supposed to apply the law, not create it.

Meanwhile, proponents of same-sex marriage, who want to force their agenda on all citizens, are hard at work trying to pursue an anti-religious agenda that includes shouting down anyone who dares suggest that a person's religious faith should play a role in their business decisions.

Where activists rail against and distort laws like Indiana's Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which did nothing more than the federal version of the law President Clinton signed in 1993, people of faith, and people of the law wonder: How did we get to a place where Religious Freedom needs to be "restored" in the first place?

Religious liberty is not a privilege "allowed" to us by our government, it's a God-given right to all people, and it's a fundamental building block of our society.

Because religious liberty and freedom of conscience are inherent, natural rights of man, no government has the legitimate authority to revoke those rights. Our Founding Fathers correctly understood that a government that mandates one opinion over another is properly called a tyranny.

And we're seeing far too many examples of such tyranny in our country lately. And is not just coming from government, but from social and corporate elites, as well.

The bullying that big corporations have employed to pressure officials in states like Indiana and Arkansas to back off the defense of religious freedoms also smells of hypocrisy. Remember, even as they denounce Americans who believe in religious liberty, they continue to do business in places like China, which limits liberty for so many.

The free exercise of religion is the first freedom listed in the Bill of Rights to the U.S. Constitution. From this principle comes the entire idea of freedom of conscience. Those who would bully Christians for wanting to exercise their faith freely embody a bigotry that knows no bounds.

No matter your own personal beliefs, we cannot allow people of faith and convictions to be targeted merely because they believe differently than a loud faction of our society.

We must stand firm and demand that the government not infringe on our First Amendment rights, and we must make our voices heard above both the pop culture noise machine and corporate lobbyists.

We must be vigilant and prayerful that the blessings of liberty that have made America a refuge of freedom in a hostile world do not devolve into a tyranny of thought crimes masquerading as "tolerance" through forced recognition of same-sex marriages.

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