Family Research Council


Peter Sprigg

Marriage is not simply a civil institution, nor is it simply a religious institution. It is, instead, a natural institution, whose definition as the union of one man and one woman is rooted in the order of nature itself. There is only one reason why marriage is treated as a public institution--to promote and regulate the type of relationship that can result naturally in the reproduction of the human race. Marriage encourages the raising of children by the mother and father who conceived them. Social science confirms that children who are raised by their own married mother and father are happier, healthier, and more prosperous than those raised in any other family structure.

In addition to deliberately creating and affirming motherless or fatherless families, other harms would result from same-sex "marriage." Homosexuals are less likely to enter long-term partnerships, less likely to be sexually faithful, and less likely to remain committed for a lifetime. Commitment, sexual fidelity, and lifelong marriage would all decline if the behavior of homosexuals is incorporated into society's concept of marriage. Demands for legalization of polygamy would grow. Religious liberty and freedom of speech would also suffer, since opposition to same-sex "marriage" would be treated as the equivalent of racial bigotry.

Some argue that same-sex couples should at least enjoy legal and financial "benefits." However, society gives "benefits" to marriage only because marriage between a man and a woman gives benefits to society. Homosexual relationships do not benefit society--in fact, they impose significant burdens on it.

See Timothy Dailey, "Comparing the Lifestyles of Homosexual Couples to Married Couples," Insight No. 260 (Washington, DC: Family Research Council, March 24, 2004).


  • Every state should have a Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) which defines marriage as the union of one man and one woman.
  • It is preferable to put this definition of marriage in state constitutions to protect it from activist judges.
  • Ideally, such amendments should also reserve the benefits granted to marriage for married couples only.
  • Legislators should oppose any effort to grant same-sex couples any of the legal or financial benefits of marriage, whether termed "domestic partnerships," "civil unions," or anything else.
  • Legislators should oppose any effort to recognize same-sex "marriages" that have been entered into under the laws of any other state.
  • Congress should oppose any effort to dilute, weaken, or repeal the federal Defense of Marriage Act.
  • States should vigorously support the federal Defense of Marriage Act with amicus briefs in any court cases which challenge the law.
Meet The Author
Peter Sprigg Senior Fellow for Policy Studies

Peter S. Sprigg is Senior Fellow for Policy Studies at the Family Research Council in Washington, D.C. Mr. Sprigg joined FRC in 2001, and his research and writing have addressed (Full Bio)

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