....and how not to. As far as I can tell, the way NOT to defend traditional marriage--one man and one woman since Adam and Eve--is to point to the tradition. The other side of the debate is right to point out that numerous exceptions to the Adam/Eve model exist, from various forms of polygamy, the harem, and who knows what else.
Rather, the proper way to defend the legal interpretation of marriage is to recognize that family law does not exist, per se, because government is terribly interested in authenticating relationships and conferring benefits (and penalties) based on fact of the relationship existing. If that were true, we would have Congress issuing certificates to little Billy for his stellar care of the family dog Barfy.
Why, then, do we have family law? It is because the process of growing a family involves the wonderful, messy, and often dangerous process of motherhood, and the law recognizes that the normal processes of heterosexual love tend to produce the two vulnerable classes of mothers and children.
Note here that this explanation of the government's role in family law covers the range of definitions the world has given to marriage. For those using the Adam and Eve model, it ensures that both spouses have the right to communal property--and a host of other provisions. For those desiring to use the Adam and Eve and Eve and Eve model, it tells them that as polygamy is inherently destabilizing to a country and risks the vulnerable parties being abandoned by their father--and therefore bans the practice.
For those practicing the "Adam not making it legal with Eve" model, the law notes that absent a legal commitment from Adam to Eve, Adam will be required to make child support payments to Eve (or vice versa), among other arrangements. Another host of regulations covers those who adopt, or who use "scientific measures" to bear children.
And for those advocating the legal recognition of same-sex relationships as marriage? Well, do such relationships tend to create these vulnerable classes in a way the law does not already address?
There is much to be improved with family and marriage law in general, but as far as I can tell, redefining marriage itself is not a good start.
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