The country is awaiting rulings from the Supreme Court in two cases involving laws which define marriage as the union of one man and one woman—the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which is binding on the federal government but not the states, and California’s marriage amendment, adopted by voters in 2008 as “Proposition 8.”

Family Research Council has argued that it makes sense to define marriage as the union of a man and a woman, because society needs children and children need a mom and a dad. Those are important public purposes that are not served by homosexual unions.

Here are some brief responses to a few of the common questions or arguments made in favor of redefining “marriage” to include homosexual unions.

  • Q—Shouldn’t everyone have the “right to marry?”

A—Every individual already has the right to marry; but not every couple or group meets the definition of what a “marriage” is.

  • Q—How can you deny homosexuals “marriage equality?”

A—The law does not require us to treat things that are fundamentally different “equally.” It only requires us to treat things that are fundamentally the same (“similarly situated”) equally. Opposite-sex unions are similar to same-sex unions in some ways, but are very different because they cannot fulfill the main public purpose of marriage—promoting responsible procreation and the best setting for childrearing.

  • Q—Why are you trying to impose a religious definition of marriage upon the civil law?

A—Marriage is not just a religious institution or just a civil institution. At its heart, marriage is a natural institution, rooted in the order of nature itself.

  • Q—If the law makes clear that clergy and churches do not have to perform same-sex marriages, doesn’t that protect religious liberty enough?

A—The “free exercise of religion” is not confined to ordained clergy, or within the four walls of a church. If marriage is redefined, religious schools, charities, counselors, businesses, and individual people of faith will all face the risk of being forced to violate their conscience.

  • Q—Isn’t the homosexual redefinition of “marriage” inevitable?

A—What is inevitable is that male-female unions will continue to be uniquely important to the future of society. The only question is whether the government will acknowledge that fact, or attempt to deny it. If the redefinition of marriage were inevitable, its advocates could trust the democratic process to bring that about. Instead, they have asked the Supreme Court to impose such a redefinition before the pendulum begins to swing back against them.

  • Q—Aren’t supporters of one-man-one-woman marriage on “the wrong side of history?”

A—It is more important to be on the right side of truth. The truth is that it takes a man and a woman to make a child; that men and women are not interchangeable in marriage, but complementary; and that children do best when raised by their own mother and father.

For additional information on marriage, see:

Keep the Definition of Marriage as the Union of One Man and One Woman

The Top Ten Harms of Same-Sex “Marriage” (booklet)

Family Research Council Amicus Brief, Hollingsworth v. Perry (Proposition 8)

Family Research Council Amicus Brief, U.S. v. Windsor (DOMA)