Marriage has generally been unchallenged and undisputed for thousands of years, and I think that generally the world still feels the same way it has always felt about marriage. That marriage is next to family in being the most important unit in society. When there are strong marriages, there are strong families. When there are strong families, society thrives.
As I was studying about marriage, Ryan Anderson from the Heritage Foundation, made an interesting point in his testimony to the Indiana House Judiciary Committee. He put forth the question, “What is marriage?” In order to vote and make decisions about marriage, one needs to understand what marriage is. From the beginning of time the union between a man and a woman has not been disputed as the definition of marriage until these recent decades.
Marriage between a man and a woman is the safest, surest, and most stable condition to raise children in. It is a place where children can know and love both parents that have brought them into the world. Elder Russell M. Nelson said, “Mothers and fathers are not interchangeable. Men and women are distinct and complementary. Children deserve a chance to grow up with both a mom and a dad” (Disciples of Jesus Christ–Defenders of Marriage, BYU Speeches, 2014).
In the Proclamation to the World: The Family, we learn that “Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose.” Then it is also said, “The family is ordained of God. Marriage between man and woman is essential to His eternal plan. Children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony, and to be reared by a father and a mother who honor marital vows with complete fidelity.” Our gender is eternal, no matter what one might say, and who we marry also has eternal consequences. God has shown us that marriage is between a man and a woman and that those roles cannot and should not be changed.
Another important question is, “Why is the government involved in marriage?” Cathy Ruse, with the Family Research Council, spoke in Salt Lake City at the World Congress of Families in 2015. Ruse asked why marriage isn’t “a private right like baptism, like holy order?” She answered this question by stating the reason the government has any concern with marriage is because of children. The union of a man and a woman creates children, and the government promotes the man and the woman to care for their children so that they can become good citizens in society. The government has done this through the promotion of marriage.
However, times have changed. Children are no longer the main focus, and the focus is now on the adult relationship instead of the healthy promotion of children. Even though society is giving less support to the true nature of marriage and family, that doesn’t mean we just let it go. We can do our part to promote and strengthen marriage and family by letting our voice be heard. We must not let ourselves be silenced by the noise of a few. We can stand and testify of the strength strong marriages, marriages between a man and a woman, have on families; and how those families strengthen our world.