Testimony in OPPOSITION to House Bill 438 ("Civil Marriage Protection Act")
In SUPPORT of House Bill 474 ("Maryland Marriage Protection Act")
In SUPPORT of House Bill 728 ("Maryland Marriage Protection Act")
By Peter Sprigg
Senior Fellow for Policy Studies, Family Research Council
Resident, Montgomery County, Maryland
Maryland House of Delegates
Health and Government Operations Committee<
February 10, 1012
Thank you for the opportunity to testify before you again today. Let me use my time to share brief answers to some of the key questions often raised in the debate over the definition of marriage.
Why is marriage the union of one man and one woman?
- The primary public purpose of marriage is to bring together men and women for reproduction of the human race.
- Marriage then encourages men and women to stay together to raise the children produced by their union.
- Research shows that children do best when raised by their own mother and father who are committed to one another in marriage.
Q-If the purpose of marriage is procreation, why do we allow heterosexual couples who can't have or don't want children to marry?
A-To exclude specific heterosexual couples from marriage based on their intentions or infertility would require intrusive inquiries and the drawing of arbitrary and imprecise lines. While not all heterosexual couples do reproduce, it is indisputable that only heterosexual couples can do so by natural means. No homosexual couples can do so. That fact provides a clear bright line for limiting marriage to opposite-sex couples.
Q-Does defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman deprive homosexuals of a fundamental right?
A-No. The "fundamental right to marry" (as recognized by the U. S. Supreme Court) is one that belongs to every individual, not to every couple or group. No one has a right to marry a child (pedophilia), a close blood relative (incest), a person who is already married (polygamy), or, in most states, a person of the same sex. Even the bill before you to allow same-sex couples to marry lists no less than fifteen types of couples that would still be explicitly forbidden to marry. These are not restrictions on the right to marry; they are part of the definition of what marriage is.
Q-Are laws "banning same-sex marriage" the same as the old laws that banned interracial marriage?
A-No. It is actually the supporters of homosexual "marriage" who resemble the opponents of interracial marriage. Both groups sought to exploit the marriage laws in pursuit of a social goal irrelevant to marriage. Neither racial segregation (in the one case) nor the social affirmation of homosexual conduct (in the other) was or is related to the basic public purpose of marriage, which is promoting responsible procreation.
I urge you to oppose House Bill 438, which would change the definition of marriage to include homosexual couples, and to support either House Bill 474 or House Bill 728, which would place the historic and natural definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman in the Maryland Constitution.