Eagle Forum Legislative Alerts

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Court Should Tread Lightly on Marriage

If the U.S. Supreme Court strikes down all state laws protecting traditional marriage, it will transform the way we think about the family in America. It’s only been eleven years since Massachusetts became the first state to issue marriage licenses to gay couples. Supporters of same-sex marriage say that the novelty of marriage is greatly exaggerated and that gay marriage won’t affect anyone not in these relationships.

There’s evidence to suggest that permitting same-sex marriage affects all types of marriage. This evidence comes from the Netherlands, where gay marriage has been legal since 2001. A study looked at trends in Dutch family life over thirteen years and found some notable changes in man-woman marriages. In the more religious areas of the Netherlands, the marriage rate remained steady over the years. But in less religious areas, where traditional marriage is not reinforced by spiritual belief, marriage between a man and a woman has decreased and continues to decline.

A group of one hundred scholars point to the Netherlands study in an amicus brief sent to the U.S. Supreme Court. They argue that its findings should encourage humility among the justices as they consider whether or not to require approval of same-sex marriage nationwide. The brief also points to the history of another innovation in marriage, no-fault divorce, as a cautionary note. Before no-fault divorce, marriage was seen as a lifelong bond. Advocates for changing the law argued that this option would affect only marriages that are already broken. Instead, allowing divorce for any reason changed the way many think about marriage. Staying married for a lifetime is no longer seen as so important. The rush to change divorce laws profoundly changed our marriage culture in a deeply harmful way. We hope the Supreme Court Justices will listen to the wisdom of these scholars.

Listen to the radio commentary here:

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