Marriage Advice From A Christian Perspective

What's at Stake in Marriage Debate

  • Rebecca Hagelin The Heritage Foundation
  • 2004 6 Jul
What's at Stake in Marriage Debate

June 30, 2004

Gov. Mitt Romney of Massachusetts visited The Heritage Foundation last week, right after addressing the Senate Judiciary Committee on the issue of same-sex "marriage." He presides over the one state where such unions are legal – and knows all too well that his state is currently Ground Zero in the great cultural debate of our time.

He says – and I, along with millions of other Americans, strongly agree – that Americans have a clear and compelling interest in preserving marriage as the union of one man and one woman and in rejecting all other arrangements. We must encourage and protect the family arrangement that does the best job of ensuring a decent upbringing for our children, one that imbues them with the values of their forefathers – the values that made their society what it is – not purposely create families that are void of a mother or father from the outset.

Gov. Romney accurately says that allowing this court ruling to stand would force numerous other changes. School textbooks, for instance, would have to be rewritten so as to show no bias in favor of heterosexual over homosexual relationships in family matters. The military would have to change. Current insurance structures and wills would be challenged. The list is endless. In Massachusetts, homosexual activists are already demanding that the state's birth certificates say "parent A" and "parent B," rather than "father" and "mother." The good governor is fighting this effort – but who knows where and how it will end?

Woe unto us, quite frankly, if we allow our generation to be the one that lets Massachusettes' legal slip into unbridled selfishness and mayhem go uncorrected.

Yes, many heterosexual marriages have problems, and redefining the institution will only weaken the husband-wife concept. It also completely destroys the notion that fulfilling marriages are found only when they are composed of both a husband and wife.

My cousin, Peggy Tucker, recently wrote a poignant reminder of the beautiful relationship God intended for us to enjoy when he created man and woman for each other. Her essay was one of 25 chosen from 500 submitted for a "Focus on the Family" website about marriage:

My parents, both Christians, have been married and inseparable for 62 years. I have wonderful memories of hearing them laughing and giggling in their bedroom when I was a child. I remember my dad quietly and proudly placing a jar with flowers from his garden on the coffee table for my mom almost every day. I remember how surprised and thrilled she would be to see them there. Each time, you would've thought she had never seen a flower before!

My dad worked for the post office, and his favorite time of the day was lunchtime, when he would come home to a hot lunch prepared by my mom. My dad always raved about my mom's cooking. He had an hour lunch break, so after eating, they would walk in the garden and my dad would show her the new flower blooms, or butter beans beginning to fill out in his garden. My mom would always rave over my dad's garden.

A few years ago, my siblings and I had to move them to a facility for Alzheimer's patients. We searched until we found a facility that would allow them to be together in the same "apartment." They no longer know us, but they have never forgotten each other. We've been expecting them to lose their memory of each other, forcing us to separate them, but it hasn't happened. They are still inseparable. They walk around the beautiful, but locked, facility holding hands. They don't seem to really know what's going on around them, but they stay close together. They still sleep together every night.

They have had to endure many health battles over the years, but have always won. Alzheimer's is their current battle, and one that they may well lose. However, they remain an inspiration to my siblings and me, as they continue to hold on to each other and love each other through this new battle. Their minds are almost gone, but their spirits are still connected. There is still no doubt about the bond that is deep and comforting in this horrible storm.

Although it hurts to watch them suffer with this disease, I can't help but be thankful for the example they have shown my siblings and me as to what marriage is supposed to look like. I believe marriage is important, because it shows us what God's love is like: unconditional, merciful, forgiving, enduring.

Some might argue that two men or two women could form such a bond. My faith tells me such blessings could come only from what is natural. In other words, only from God. I don't think anyone -- including activist judges in Massachusetts -- can improve His design.

To share your own inspiring story about marriage, please e-mail me. I'll select the most compelling for inclusion in a book I'm writing about the culture war. The book is scheduled for release in April.

Rebecca Hagelin is a vice president of The Heritage Foundation.

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