The argument for marriage can actually appeal to a broad cross section of people when the argument is graciously and clearly expressed. We can find allies among us who may not share our religious views.
For example, there are many who genuinely care about the poor and underprivileged. We should try to build bridges to them, because lifelong marriages between a man and a woman are one of the greatest tools we have by which people can be lifted out of poverty.
The sociological evidence is overwhelming that children who grow up with both their mother and their father in an intact family are most likely to develop into well-adjusted, productive citizens able to sustain and provide for themselves. In contrast, when marriages break down or disappear, economic troubles all too often surface.
If marriage is simply the expression of a romantic relationship, then society as a whole will find it easier to rationalize divorce and separation when those feelings ebb and flow, as they do in all marriages. That leaves children in a vulnerable place where we know, statistically, poverty is more likely to follow.
But this fact, in turn, allows us to more easily reach out to those concerned about the ever-increasing size of government and the increasing tax burden needed to sustain it. Again, scientific studies show that significant financial costs for taxpayers are associated with the fragmentation of the family.
A 2008 national assessment1 revealed that divorce and unwed childbearing cost U.S. taxpayers at least $112 billion each year. In Tennessee that cost, in terms of state and local tax dollars, was $757 million! Fueling that which destabilizes marriage fuels the need for bigger government and higher taxes.
Reaffirming marriage as the union of a man and a woman can also appeal to child-rights supporters2 and people who themselves have been deprived of their mom or their dad or both. Many of these people are increasingly advocating for a culture that embraces the right of every child, absent tragedy or other extreme circumstances, to know and be raised by the man and the woman who created them. Those whose voices were not heard when they were created by some artificial means outside the context of a married mom and dad are increasingly working to make sure their voices are heard so that the voiceless no longer are without a voice. For more, check out the resources at the Center for Bioethics and Culture Network (www.cbc-network.org) and the website stopsurrogacynow.com.