Tag Archives: Marriage License

Logical Gal and the State’s interest in marriage

19 Mar

I revisit the marriage debate that is very much present in our culture and courts. 

Marriage Debate

How do you even begin to tackle this issue?  Where does one wade in?  Like any emotional and complex issue, the questions are often more important than the answers.

Taking the time to think and formulate questions requires patience and resolve.  Too often I have succumbed to the temptation to jump right in with my point of view (backed by reasons, of course .)Smiley Face - small

Had I resisted that first impulse and taken the time to prepare the field of reasonable discussion with the fertilizer of clear terms and thoughtful questions,  my results perhaps would have been better.  At least they would have turned out differently!

Questions - asking good ones

Hence, my interest was piqued when I heard an excellent question framed this way.  For the sake of focusing just on the questions, I am skipping any term-clarifying work that should always take place.   On to a jump-off question:

When someone is defending the legitimacy of same-sex marriage, a first question could be this:

  • For which essential public purpose does the State licenses marriages? 

That is a brilliant question because it takes marriage out of the realm of ‘love’ and ‘rights’.   It focuses on the fact that the State actually has chosen to care about marriages enough to regulate them.  Why would the State even do that?   After all, the State doesn’t care about where I go to church or who my friends are or even which career I choose?  Why marriage?

It turns out that the State and our entire society have a very compelling interest in marriage. Research shows Report about what serves children best that AS A GROUP, AS A RULE and BY NATURE, a hetero-sexual couple in a long-term stable relationship, caring for and raising their own biological children provide the best environment for those children to grow up to be responsible, healthy and functional citizens.  The next generation IS society’s # one resource. Society won’t continue without succeeding generations of adults who can take on responsibility!

The question advanced serves to focus the discussion away from the emotionally charged question of love because it is irrelevant to the State.  As the man discussing this strategic question on the radio remarked, when he and his fiancée applied for a marriage license, the question of whether they actually loved each other was not even on the application form! That isn’t important to the State.

Marriage License App

I was struck by the simplicity and power of one question.  The ability to focus the discussion away from emotionally charged areas allows for fruitful and rational discussion.  No one denies that love is important to 21st century Americans.  But that is not something the State needs to be concern about!

Further Thought – What powerful clarifying questions have you encountered?