- - Monday, February 16, 2015

Traditional marriage, an institution which has been revered for centuries, is one of the most critical pillars of American civil society. Nature shows us that all species must reproduce in order to continue on, and the concept of marriage was created for just that — the union brings together a man and woman as husband and wife in order to be the parents of the children that their marriage creates. These two-parent households have proven to be very effective in terms of child-rearing and the formation of a family’s loving environment. Children with two parents in their home tend to experience superior financial and educational advantages, while single-parent homes can have a negative effect on social and academic outcomes.

We have heard the myth that the U.S. divorce rate hovers around 50 percent, yet it is no longer the case that the divorce rate is rising or that half of all marriages result in divorce. According to University of Michigan professor of economics and public policy Justin Wolfers, about 70 percent of marriages that started in the 1990s reached their 15th anniversary, which is a 5 percent increase from those that began in the 1970s and 1980s. It has also been reported that if current patterns continue, almost 67 percent of marriages will never entail a divorce. 

Government has recognized marriage throughout history because it is an institution that benefits the public good. If we can redefine marriage, based on social pressures, as between two men or two women or any other way as opposed to between a man and a woman, we will continue to redefine it in any way that we wish. This is a slippery slope with a disastrous ending, as witnessed in the dramatic fall of the Roman Empire. I don’t believe this to be a political view, but rather a logical and reasoned view with long-term benefits to family structure and the propagation of humankind. When children grow up in an environment with loving parents who provide security, they are free to be happy and playful and eager to learn. God obviously knew what he was doing when he ordained the traditional family, and we should not denigrate it in order to uplift some alternative.

There is absolutely no problem whatsoever with allowing gay people or others to live as they please, as long as they don’t try to impose their lifestyle on everyone else. Any two consenting adults can have any kind of relationship that they want. But marriage is a very sacred institution and should not be changed by allowing every other type of relationship to be made equivalent to it. 

If gays or non-gays wish to have some type of legal binding relationship that helps with the adjudication of property rights and other legal matters, I certainly think that makes sense and is a realistic request. It is viable to create policy, whether it be through tax modifications or other paths, that greatly benefits all Americans without redefining marriage. Yet, to equate those alternative accommodations to marriage is going further than necessary. It is essential to respect every American’s freedom and independence, but we must protect and promote marriage between a man and a woman as the model way for reproduction and childrearing. 

Ben S. Carson

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