Family Research Council

The Supreme Court Shouldn't Redefine Marriage

By Chris Gacek

Chris Gacek, Ph.D., J.D., is a senior fellow at the Family Research Council. This article appeared in U.S. News and World Report on March 4, 2013.

Should Proposition 8 be overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court in the case it now has before it, Hollingsworth v. Perry? That question boils down to this: should the Supreme Court redefine marriage and reject male-female participation as the core of that institution? It should not do so.

First, let us address whether it is appropriate for the courts, and ultimately the U.S. Supreme Court, to unilaterally change the definition of marriage. The people of California voted in November 2008 via state-wide constitutional referendum to define marriage as being between one man and one woman. This has only been the definition of marriage for centuries, if not millennia, and it reflects an undeniable biological reality. If one were to conduct a thought experiment about all the ways to define marriage, Prop 8's definition would be the salient choice. It is not discriminatory or irrational-it merely reflects reality. Yet that is what numerous federal courts, including the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, now expect us to believe.

One can certainly disagree with Prop 8's definition. The people of California could now abolish marriage or amend it or, but it would be the height of judicial arrogance and imperiousness to redefine marriage. As the political process in a number of "blue states" has made clear, homosexual activists have successfully enacted laws that redefine marriage. There is no need for the Supreme Court to impose another Roe v. Wade on America.

Second, the Supreme Court should not change the definition of marriage because the primary purpose of marriage is to recognize the complementary physical and spiritual natures of men and women while legally uniting them in a manner that fosters the propagation of the human race. Proposition 8 makes it crystal clear that the template for the foundational unit in society is the union of a male and female who may produce children together. Marriage encourages men and women to remain united to raise the children produced through this relationship. Research shows that children do best when raised by their own mother and father who are committed to one another in marriage.

The U.S. Supreme Court should not redefine marriage nor should it overturn Proposition 8.

Meet The Author
Chris Gacek Senior Fellow for Regulatory Policy

Dr. Chris Gacek is the Senior Fellow, Regulatory Affairs at Family Research Council. Dr. Gacek received a Bachelors of Science in economics from the Wharton School, University of (Full Bio)

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