Scholars Defend Marriage for Public Good

Support for traditional marriage among scholars was reinforced with the release of a landmark document on the importance of marriage in society.

WASHINGTON – The Senate failed to pass the Federal Marriage Amendment on Wednesday, but support for traditional marriage among scholars was reinforced with the release of a landmark document on the importance of marriage in society.

“Marriage understood as the enduring union of husband and wife is both a good in itself and also advances the public interest,” the document stated. “Marriage protects children, men and women, and the common good.”

Signatories include figures from Princeton University, Harvard Law School, the University of Chicago, Oxford University, and Cornell University, lending scholarly support for pro-family advocates that have often defended traditional marriage on religious terms.

“Too often, the rational case for marriage is not made at all or not made very well,” the document stated. “As scholars, we are persuaded that the case for marriage can be made and won at the level of reason.”

According to James Stoner, Professor of Political Science at Louisiana State University and chair of the drafting committee, the discussions on marriage began in 2004, after the legalization of gay marriage in Massachusetts thrust the issue to the public fore.

"These principles are the result of scholarly discussions that began with a meeting at the Witherspoon Institute in 2004," Stoner said. "These discussions brought together leading scholars from history, economics, political science, law, psychology, sociology and philosophy. Marriage and the Public Good represents the consensus of these scholars on the indispensable importance of marriage."

The scholars agreed on ten principles on marriage and how it affects the public good, such as the institution’s financial benefits as well as the sexual stability it brings to husband and wife.

“When marriage weakens, the equality gap widens, as children suffer from the disadvantages of growing up in homes without committed mothers and fathers,” it stated. “A functioning marriage culture serves to protect political liberty and foster limited government.”

Scholars also agreed that “civil marriage” and “religious marriage” cannot be separated, and that laws and public policies should support traditional marriage both conceptually and in practice.

At that light, scholars called upon the nation’s leaders to “protect the public understanding of marriage as the union of one man with one woman as husband and wife” and to “protect and expand pro-child and pro-family provisions in our tax code.”

A copy of Marriage and the Public Good was presented to President Bush during a meeting at the White House, during which the president remarked on the importance of having distinguished scholars speaking our strongly in defense of marriage.

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