All Americans have the right to live as they choose, but no one has the right to redefine marriage for all of us.

Next week, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in cases that challenge the constitutionality of the federal Defense of Marriage Act and California’s Proposition 8.

Marriage is the fundamental building block of all human civilization. That is why 41 states and the federal government agree that marriage is between a man and a woman.

In a recent video, Heritage Foundation President-Elect Jim DeMint explained:

The institution existed long before government to provide children with mothers and fathers. Marriage strengthens civil society and limits government. As our marriage culture weakens, big government grows. Just look at how the welfare state got bigger and bigger as the unwed childbearing rate skyrocketed from single digits in the 1960’s to over 40% off all births today.

Heritage’s Ryan Anderson further explains how marriage strengthens civil society:

Redefining marriage does not simply expand the existing understanding of marriage; it rejects these truths. Marriage is society’s least restrictive means of ensuring the well-being of children. By encouraging the norms of marriage—monogamy, sexual exclusivity, and permanence—the state strengthens civil society and reduces its own role. The future of this country depends on the future of marriage. The future of marriage depends on citizens understanding what it is and why it matters and demanding that government policies support, not undermine, true marriage.

Heritage has produced a short pamphlet making the case for marriage in everyday language. It helps you articulate what your heart knows. And it walks you through the most frequently asked questions—the things you’re likely to hear from neighbors and friends. You can read and download the pamphlet online.

How are you joining the fight to protect marriage?

Comments (20)

Pat Jennings - March 26, 2013

I live in the State of Georgia and we voted that the definition of marriage is between one man ane one woman. I believe that, not because I’m a bigot as some would like to say, but because that is what it says in the scripture. If I was a citizen of the State of California and the Ninth District Court had ignored by vote by overturning the decision, I would be outraged.

Peter E Balsam, MD - March 26, 2013

Marriage between a man and a woman is God’s plan for us and has been in effect since creation. While I do not believe that any government can “legislate” marriage, it is crystal clear that any power not specifically enumerated for our constitution is reserved for the states. The argument does not belong in the supreme court. It is a tragedy that we have so many justices who don’t/won’t understand this; they will continue to ignore the document they swore to uphold, defend and protect. Shame on them!

Ann McLean - March 26, 2013

I agree completely. We need to go on the offensive. The title of your message says it all! Families are the building bock of all HEALTHY societies. Let’s get in the fight in a major way and stand up for God’s design, not man’s spoiled and misguided ways.
Thank you, Heritage for being there, and Sen. DeMint in particular for his leadership.
Dr. Ann McLean
Richmond, VA

Norma Wallace - March 26, 2013

I’m very much in favor of marriage only between a man and a woman. I’m for the Heritage Foundation’s stand on this.

Barbara Lebert - March 26, 2013

The gay community seems to be more interested in being afforded “equal rights” Why can’t those same legal rights be assigned to “Civil Unions”? Marriage between a man and a woman can not be reclassified or redefined to accommodate any group. Civil Unions could achieve the same legal objective, without being classified or enjoining the principle of marriage. Why not just create lawful Civil Unions with their legal, equal rights?

Var St. Jeor - March 26, 2013

I have contributed financially to the fight for 1 man, 1 woman. However, I have also been trying to understand marriage throughout U.S. history, which is a very interesting thing. Some highlights: There appears to be different levels of marriage and different levels of commitment. Types include: Common Law, Civil, Church, others… Commitment Level is usually determined in the marriage and is reflective of the general beliefs of the individual. Divorce has traditionally been far more the important part of secular marriages than a part of Church marriages, though the secular influence has been having greater impact on Church marriages. With the secular philosophy there is long term commitment just until the first problems come along. It is very interesting to observe this long term commitment idea, and what it means, between Common Law, Civil, Church, bisexual and homosexual “marriages,” and just how long it lasts.

Kathy Thomsen - March 26, 2013

God intended for a man and a woman to be bound by marriage; a sacred vow to include a female and a male who have the ability to create a baby so our society and the human race can thrive. Two people of the same sex are unable to create a child, so it is only common sense that is not the way our lives were intended to be lived. Gay couples say they want to raise children; well if not for natural, heterosexual couples there would be no babies unless they were created in a tube or implanted into a woman. There are too many things in our world that we as humans are trying to alter or create in unnatural manners which is messing with the balance of life. I don’t care if a man or a woman decides they want to carry out unnatural acts on a person of the same sex, but why should heterosexual people have to witness their open, excessive display of their beliefs? I am proud to be heterosexual but I do not walk around screaming that I am not gay and that I demand respect from gays nor do I display overly offending acts of public display of affection to my partner. If anyone would really think about how unnatural the whole idea of homosexuality is they would realize it is against every fiber of what a “married couple” should be. Go about your business in a respectful, discreet manner and quit demanding to be on the same level as a true family; one that is a man, a woman and the children they create thru an act of love that was obviously designed to work with the male appendage being able to naturally deposit their seed into a place designed to hold and nourish the seed to grow and thrive. Too many in our society want to re-write history and the basis of our creation. I am personally disgusted by this!

Donald Apley - March 26, 2013

I appreciate Jim DeMint’s comments, but I am concerned that whoever typed up the comments misspelled Jim’s reference to the “institution” of marriage not the “intuition” as it is written. Please correct that so that Jim’s intelligence is not questioned.

Author Katie Nielsen - March 27, 2013

Thank you for your comment. The correction has been corrected.

Karyn - March 26, 2013

The writer that quoted DeMint in this article needs to do a little proof reading. This was embarrassing coming from an institution like Heritage. How are you to put forward conservative ideas if they can’t be written to be understood.

Ellen Elmore - March 26, 2013

I am helping to protect traditional marriage by signing petitions from conservative organizations asking for marriage between one man and one woman to be preserved as the rule of law. I have been calling or sending e-mails to U.S. Reps and Senators asking them to protect traditional marriage. I keep our church members informed about the issues facing our nation and I have asked them to pray that the Supreme Court upholds DOMA.

Dennis Uffindell - March 26, 2013

Keep up the good work. I appreciate the firm and civilized approach you take. We have the right to disagree but we do not recommend ourselves to others when we use harsh and judgmental attitudes and language about others.

Bonnie Hamilton - March 27, 2013

I am an ardent supportor traditional marriage. The only argument for gay marriage that I don’t know how to dispute is the now prevalent position that gay marriage is a civil rights issue, that we are denying a basic human right to gay partners. That seems to put the argument on a different platform. Now those who support traditional marriage are denying a basic freedom to others. That’s a tough one for me to answer. Do you have any help,

Joann Reitenour - March 27, 2013

Keep up the protection of marriage! JR

Tim - March 27, 2013

The family is the stregnth and back bone of every nation. The break-down of the family has lead to the destruction of many a great Empire like the Romen Empire.and many others, Just check your History.

Charlie Indelicato - March 27, 2013

Kudos to Ryan Anderson’s appearance on PIERS MORGAN. Of the three people involved in the debate, only Ryan maintained a level-headed composure to the topic.

william white - March 27, 2013

Marriage is the core unit of civilization. Divorce is a hugh problem, and now some want to totally destroy this essential institution so that only dependance on Government remains. God help us!

Peter Raugh - March 27, 2013

I believe Heritage is correct in its assessment of marriage but did not address the larger fundamental issue.

The easiest way to change a contract is to change the meanings of words or terms from their original meanings. We have seen this happening to our Country’s organization contract (the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution) over the years as people and groups ambitiously pursued their ideological goals.

The exceptional brilliance of our Constitution is the ability it provides for change–the Constitutional Amendment. Any foundational organizational contracts (such as our Declaration of Independence and Constitution or a business’ Articles of Incorporation and Bylaws) become meaningless if the meaning of words or terms are redefined without renegotiation. For example, if the Board of Directors of a company organized to manufacture computers were to redefine computer to include the fruit apple as well as an electronic machine for computation the very nature of the company would be transformed without filing anew or amending their Articles of Incorporation and Bylaws. This certainly would not be a reasonable way to change the interests of the company’s stockholders.

If we allow the definition of marriage, or any other term, to be redefined we are effectively bypassing our foundational documents and effectively picking fruit. This one additional act of redefining terms (not a subtle but a very obvious redefinition) will open the flood gate of radical change and effectively destroy the value of any contract, governmental or civil.

There is a simple solution to the current problem of civil unions (gay marriage). I’m convinced that this has been recognized and consciously avoided to further erode the Constitution. A simple law passed by the federal government stating that all civil unions authorized by any State shall have the same privileges and obligations under federal law as marriages would suffice.

Contracts are written to comprehensively embody the intent of the signers at the time the contract takes effect. Without interpreting the language as it was originally meant, the intent of the agreement is lost. We should consider that the progressive movement has been redefining words and terms since its inception and has made great strides in their agenda by moving the foundational issues from constitutional principles to popular concepts of “fairness” while avoiding liberty, opportunity and responsibility.

We are lost if we allow the original intent of our Declaration of Independence and Constitution to be changed by redefining words or terms.

Vernon Boehlke - March 28, 2013

A look at Romans, chapter 1, verses 18 – 32, in the New Testament, is a picture of what God is permitting to happen in our society today. A study of the rest of the book gives us the answer to the problem, if we are serious about correcting it.

Carol Vrooman - March 28, 2013

“All Americans have the right to live as they choose, but no one has the right to redefine marriage for all of us”. OK I’m confused….”All Americans…as they choose…” you say”? well all except those some don’t feel deserve to live as they choose, those some disapprove of, those who don’t live within the parameters determined to be the norm ….other than them, ALL Americans. To quote someone we all know and love “And all men are created equal…”

“…but no one has the right to define marriage for us.” Who is this US? Am I part of the US? Why do YOU get to define marriage then? You said “no one”. Is “it’s always been done this way” a good reason/explanation? As the saying goes “the only constant in life is change.” It’s time society changes it’s mind about who can love. A marriage is a contract between two HUMAN BEINGS who love each other and wish to commit to one another, they key word being commit. If this hypocracy is all about the children why don’t those who are making the rules determine there should be an IQ test to have a kid? Ooops that would leave out a lot of people.

And just to clarify I’m a practicing Episcopalian, heterosexual female in a marital relationship for over 20 yrs. We don’t have the paperwork done yet, hasn’t been a priority, but our relationship is stronger and longer lived than a great many ones with the papers, our kids are successful, happy, well adjusted people with families of their own.

Changing our minds, seeing beyond our own noses is often difficult but that is how we mature as people. I hope thoughtful people can begin to understand we are all different yet alike and to celebrate both.

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