A Brief Summary of the Traditional Marriage Position

A good summary of the traditional marriage position can be shown by the two following points:

  • (1) Marriage is a privilege not a right. That some have abused it does not make it something all should have.
  • (2) Marriage is intended to be a representational microcosm of society in that a representative of each half of humanity is represented in the relationship.

As a friend of mine, Thom Schultz, has once written:

The interaction of that relationship (when done rightly) and the learning that goes on in it furthers culture by showing the couple and by effect, the culture how to be more fully human. This is particularly true in the growth and development of a child. When either gender is not represented, the child suffers for lack of exposure to that perspective. This suffering loss of perspective, which limits the child’s understanding of what it means to be human, also damages the society at large. Male and female both bring important perspective to the child and without it, the child is incomplete.

This understanding can be seen by a variety of advocates:  Bobby Lopez (himself raised by two mothers) – see his article Growing Up With Two Moms: The Untold Children’s View here; Doug Mainwaring (himself a homosexual) and his article, I’m Gay and I Oppose Same-Sex Marriage can be found here;  Ryan T. Anderson, Ana Samuel, Sherif Girgis, Robert P. George, and of course many others. In fact, according to one article by Sherif Girgis:

Marriage is a human good with its own structure, like knowledge or friendship. The present debate is not a debate about whom to let marry, but about what marriage (the human good that the law has reasons to track) really is. Two answers compete for legal enshrinement.

The first, driving the push for same-sex marriage, is that a certain emotional intimacy makes a marriage. But as our book shows, this answer can’t coherently distinguish marriage from companionship, an obviously broader category. So it gets marriage (the human good) wrong.

The second view of marriage begins from basics. Any voluntary form of community involves common action; it unites people toward common ends in the context of commitment. And in these respects, what sets marital community apart is its comprehensiveness: in (1) how it unites people, (2) what it unites them with respect to, and (3) how extensive a commitment it demands. [1]


The stability of marriage, so understood, best ensures that children will know the committed love of those whose union brought them forth. This gives them the best shot at becoming healthy and happy people, which affects every other social good. That is why every society with the merest ambition to thrive has socially regulated male-female sexual bonds: to shore up the stabilizing norms of marriage, on which social order rests. [2]

To finish, there are a couple things to make clear about the conversation: (1) this is a clearly secular argument against redefining marriage and not a religious one. (2) I have more concern about the redefinition of marriage rather than on who marries. Hence, the conversation should not be centered on a moral debate but rather than a definitional one (that isn’t to say the moral isn’t important or considerable, but that it isn’t the initial issue that should be brought up).




  • [1] Sherif Girgis, Check Your Blind Spot: What Is Marriage? (Public Discourse: Feb. 2013)
  • [2] Ibid.

6 responses to “A Brief Summary of the Traditional Marriage Position

  1. With the death of DOMA, what can I say but Na Na-ni Na Na.

    Your “position” does not matter, how you argue for your wicked, Godless discrimination. What matters? The love of couples, and the increasing acceptance by society of people as God created us. You can argue until you are blue in the face.

    • Hello Clare and thank you for your comment.

      I am interested that your response to my argument above is simply “DOMA is dead, and your position doesn’t matter”; to which you also say that I’m arguing for “wicked and Godless discrimination.” The presuppositions you bring here before you read my post are clear, and even broken by yourself when you say: “What matters? The love of couples, and the increasing acceptance by society of people as God created us.” I am interested to see that I might be the exception to this general rule.

      First of all, DOMA simply means that “[c]itizens and their elected representatives remain free to discuss, debate, and vote about marriage policy in all fifty states. Citizens and their elected representatives still have the right to define marriage in civil law as the union of one man and one woman” (Girgis, 2013). My position still stands even after the verdict of June 26th.

      Secondly, the Supreme Court did not strike down all of DOMA, just Section 3. It left intact Section 2, which prevents the states from being forced to recognize other states’ same-sex marriages. So, I’m not really “arguing” (or complaining, as you seem to use the word) against DOMA or same-sex couples. Just the redefinition of marriage.

      • There are still bigots who want same sex couples treated differently from opposite sex couples.. There are still racists, though fewer and fewer. God made Ham the slave of Japheth and Shem is not an argument one hears, much, in Christian circles any more, and arguments from Leviticus 20- Stone the Gays!- will fade away in time. Your side is draining away. I expect the Loving v Virginia style case within ten years.

        And thank God! God’s will is being done. Listen to the message of Jesus!

      • Thank you for your reply.

        I am a bit confused, Clare. You say that “[t]here are still bigots who want same sex couples treated differently from opposite sex couples”, which seems to be an indicator that you have ceased your attention on me and my objection. Sure there are people who act in that sort of inappropriate manner (racists, etc.), but putting me in that group of people because we share the same position (i.e., traditional marriage) – though they are far more extreme than I am – is to make a fallacious category mistake.

        The issue is that without even addressing my objection you jump to the conclusion of “well, your argument is false because DOMA is dead and you can argue all you’d like about it because it doesn’t matter.” And thus, you say I am participating in “Godless discrimination.” The message of Jesus has no association with this kind of behavior.

      • I am not saying your argument is false because DOMA is dead, I am saying your argument is irrelevant because DOMA is dead. Strong Biblical arguments can be made for slavery. No-one makes them any more. I disagree that God’s Will can be found in Leviticus, if it ever could, and that God’s will is that gay people should all remain celibate or go to Hell, but the point is that just as if anyone did argue for slavery they would be ignored or reviled, so your arguments against gay marriage are increasingly ignored and reviled. This shows that people understand God’s Will better.

  2. Pingback: Progress | Clare Flourish·

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