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Restrict Marriage Licenses to Man and Woman?
It’s for the benefit of
government. As soon as a child is conceived there are costs to be borne.
When a bride and groom get a marriage license, the government affirms their
legitimate prerogative to use their reproductive powers to create new human
life. Government also grants facilitating privileges and protections to
them, coupled with obligations to be fully responsible for the
offspring of their sexual union.
Ohio puts it:
Marriage is a legal as
well as spiritual and personal relationship. When you exchange your marriage
vows, you enter into a legal contract. There are three parties to that legal
contract: you; your spouse; and the State of Ohio. The State is a party to
the contract because, under its laws, you have certain obligations and
responsibilities to each other, to any children you may have, and to Ohio.
Wisconsin puts it this way:
Wisconsin law recognizes
that both husband and wife have an obligation to support their children.
Both of you are responsible for certain types of necessary family expenses
even if you don't agree on the particular expense. Generally, these types of
expenses cover medical care, education, food, and housing for family
care costs are not inconsequential. The
Washington Post reported that half a million children in the United
States are in foster care, costing government between $200 and $800 per
month per foster child,
which is only a portion of the cost of rearing the child. The U.S.
Department of Agriculture
estimates it will cost over $200,000 to raise today’s child to age 18.
study by economist Benjamin Scafidi estimated that family fragmentation
from divorce and unmarried-childbearing, costs American taxpayers at least
$112 billion dollars every year!
Stable marriages bear these costs and represent a tremendous
avoided cost for government. When people conceive children
out-of-wedlock or when couples spin their families apart in divorce, the
burden of childcare often shifts toward government. Government has the
impossible task of protecting those vulnerable children without benefiting
their illegitimate parents. Government may impose financial
consequences such as child-care payments, but it also pours out money in the
form of foster-care payments and adoption tax credits to place abandoned
children with families.
important to distinguish between “marriage” and “family.” The
civil concept of family needs to be flexible enough to include
non-traditional familial alliances, which are individually judged by
competent legal authority to be suitable for the placement of children who
were conceived by others. If successfully placed, adults and their foster
children or adopted children may draw together into happy non-traditional
generation of children can only be produced by the complementary
differences between male and female. That’s why government has a vested
interest in promoting marriage as the
legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife.
A stable, licensed marriage where husband and wife legitimately conceive
their own babies, nurture, financially support, and educate their children,
and mold child behavior into responsible citizenship is the least
expensive family for government and arguably the best for children. Such
traditional marriages should be honored as society's fundamental standard
and should be vigorously protected from advocates of alternatives who covet
marriage's privileges and prestige. Marriage belongs exclusively to
State Bar of Wisconsin. 2009.
“Legal Q & A”. Legal Explorer. Madison, Wisconsin.
J. Wanless Southwick
October 5, 2009