26 Mar Marriage Hangs in the Balance
March 26, 2013
Marriage hangs in the balance
It is a pivotal time for marriage. On Tuesday, March 26, the Supreme Court listened to Oral Arguments on the future of Proposition 8 – California’s Constitutional Amendment defining marriage as being between one man and one woman. On Wednesday, March 27, the Supreme Court will listen to Oral Arguments on the constitutionality of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). Both of these cases will have major implications for every state and every citizen of the U.S.
Will the Supreme Court uphold both California’s amendment and the Defense of Marriage Act? Will their decision be narrowly tailored so as to impact only those states that already have “civil marriage” in place? Or, will the U.S. Supreme Court force same-sex marriage upon the entire country. These are just a few of the potential outcomes. The Court’s decision will be announced in June.
Millions of voters across the United States have already made their decision. Thirty-one states have put in place state constitutional amendments defining marriage as being between one man and one woman – with an additional 10 states having some type of statutory law affirming traditional marriage (41 states in total). It remains to be seen whether the U.S. Supreme Court will respect the constitutional authority of Americans and their elected officials to make marriage policy.
We pray for wisdom for all involved as the political security of traditional marriage and the rights of states to determine their laws is being scrutinized and debated.
We also feel driven to restate the values and principles that inspire our constant drive to protect marriage between a man and a woman as the fundamental unit of society. Tom Christensen, former President of United Families International, cites international resolutions and documents to reaffirm these world-wide and long-standing values and principles.
We invite you to consider them, and commit to sharing them with others as we, throughout the world, unite in defense of marriage and the family!
President, United Families International
Written statement, United Families International, a non-governmental organization in special consultative status
1. Human Rights Council Resolution 21/3 defines human rights as a “common set of values” shared by “cultures and civilizations in their traditions, customs, religions, and beliefs” that “belong to humankind in its entirety” and that make “an important contribution to the development of human rights norms and standards.”
- The right of a man and woman to marry and to assume the responsibilities of parenthood constitutes a fundamental human right. In virtually every society, marriage is recognized and regulated by government, unborn human life is protected, and parents are authorized to regulate their children’s activities, speech, religious education, sexuality, health care, media access, social contacts and discipline. Indeed, the traditional family is the ideal setting for individuals to learn respect for the law, authority, and moral boundaries constraining the exercise of human rights.
- The prior rights leading to the creation and preservation of the traditional family are worthy of continued recognition by the United Nations. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights proclaims the traditional family to be “the natural and fundamental group unit of society entitled to protection by society and the State.”
- The traditional family in its highest form consists of an intact, child-rich, two-parent family. However, the traditional family is a broad classification encompassing numerous family forms that have persisted through time in different cultures, such as single-parent families, childless families, matriarchies, patriarchies and multi-generational units involving grandparents, parents, children and other relations.
- The traditional family deserves special recognition and protection because of its unique and irreplaceable role in creating and organizing human life. The traditional family effectively transmits cultural values, inculcates personal morality, and strengthens the interpersonal bonds between a man and a woman that make civilization possible.
- Nontraditional unions, such as same sex, adult/adolescent, or polygamous unions, may be deserving of support in limited settings but do not qualify for the right to marry under the threshold criteria of HRC Resolution 21/3. Such unions do not “belong to humankind in its entirety,” have not contributed to the body of “human rights norms and standards” and are not based upon established “traditions, customs, religions and beliefs.”
- The “common set of values” upon which the traditional family is based include the common belief that marriage between a man and woman is God sanctioned and is essential to stable society; innocent human life is sacred; and human beings are brothers and sisters in a large global family who must learn to love each other and work together. Such ennobling values and beliefs, best practiced in the home, contribute to a refined, unified, just, welcoming society. According to the US Supreme Court in Murphy v. Ramsey, “the family springing forth from the union for life of a man and woman in the holy estate of matrimony is the sure foundation of all that is stable and noble in our civilization.”
- The opposite traits of selfishness, chauvinism, neglect, brutishness, bigotry, ignorance, and greed are contrary to the nature and perpetuation of the traditional family. In extreme cases, a government may intervene to protect family members and others from a recurring pattern of abuse stemming from such attitudes.
- Empirical evidence demonstrates that the recognition and exercise of marital and parental rights provides quantifiable benefits to women. In developed countries where opportunities for single women are the greatest, married women on average enjoy a higher standard of living, tend to be better educated and skilled, are happier and more fulfilled, and live longer and are healthier. The same holds true for married men.
- The negative outcome of broken marriages and nontraditional unions is most evident in children. Children of stable two parent families are more likely to do well in school, resist the amoral influences of peers, avoid harmful addictions, commit fewer crimes, pursue productive careers, and continue to marry and raise responsible children. Clearly, a unified father and mother are best equipped to satisfy a child’s emotional, physical, educational, and spiritual needs.
- The decline of the traditional family drives a nation’s most urgent social problems. Where marriage and fertility rates are low and divorce, cohabitation, and abortion rates are high; nations depopulate, crime rates skyrocket and massive immigration is required. Without native families repopulating the work force and caring for their own, the national culture fades and the economy struggles.
- Obviously, no one is or should be compelled to marry or have children. Those who choose not to marry are free to do so and are not harmed, but are in fact benefitted, by those who choose to marry and raise responsible children. Those seeking validation of their chosen lifestyle or who pursue other political agendas should not be able to dismantle societal norms, institutions, and rights essential to stable, limited government and public health, safety, morals and general welfare.
- Rather than trivializing, ignoring, or rejecting the overwhelming evidence documenting the benefits of the traditional family, the Human Rights Counsel should recognize and stand in firm support of best practices that sustain this most basic institution and related human rights. To do otherwise is to join with those who would consign the peoples and nations of the earth to a depressing state of ignorance, lawlessness, detachment, poverty, and mediocrity.
Tom Christensen, former CEO of United Families, is a successful father, attorney, and politician. He has written extensively on the natural family and has addressed UN delegations in behalf of UFI in Istanbul, New York, Nairobi, the Hague, Lisbon and Geneva.