On the eve of America’s National Marriage Week (February 7-14) of 2014, the year before the Supreme Court decided Obergefell, a group calling itself “Equally Blessed” posted a prayer that began by quoting from the Creation account in Genesis: “You who created each of us in Your own image…. We thank You for all the different types of marriages in our world,” including “couples whose marriages are recognized by our state and our Church, and same-sex couples who are denied that recognition…. [W]e ask You to pour Your blessings onto every marriage regardless of gender or sexual orientation.”
Had the authors of this prayer read further into the Genesis passage from which they were quoting, they would have discovered that the marital union of man and woman was uniquely blessed by God because of its potential for procreation: “God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth” (Genesis 1:27-28).
Thus would the man and his wife become “one flesh” (Genesis 2:24), or, as expressed in Jewish tradition, “a perfect whole” (Rabbi Obadiah ben Jacob Sforno), “one complete human being” (Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch). It was intended as the pattern for all time, writes Notre Dame Professor Gary A. Anderson: “The joining of Eve to Adam will be a model for every subsequent human marriage.”
And so it has been— “a social institution that has formed the basis of human society for millennia, for the Kalahari Bushmen and the Han Chinese, the Carthaginians and the Aztecs”—until the beginning of the 21st century when “marriage” began to be redefined, as it was by the United States Supreme Court in Obergefell when Chief Justice John Roberts wrote the above words in his dissenting opinion.
But no court or congress can change the complementary nature of, or the unique benefits arising from, the man-woman union that God created and blessed “to be fruitful and multiply.” Affirming its indispensable role is not “hate speech” but rather “truth speech.” It is also “love speech,” a plea to answer the call of the Declaration of the Rights of the Child: “Mankind owes to the child the best it has to give.”
Consider, for example, the words of Katy Faust, founder of Them Before Us, in her amicus brief in Obergefell. Expressing gratitude for the two women who raised her, Katy remembered, “[B]oth my mother and her partner have been involved in my major life events… I accepted my mom’s partner as an important part of her life and member of the household. I now consider her my friend. If childrearing were just about providing stability by any two parents regardless of gender, then my mom and her partner would have been everything that I needed in life. They cared for me. I cannot remember major strife in their home stemming from their relationship with each other or with me. But that was not enough.”
And in an open letter to Chief Justice Roberts regarding the soon-to-be-decided Obergefell case, Katy said, “This debate, at its core, is about one thing. It’s about children…. Now that I am a parent, I see clearly the beautiful differences my husband and I bring to our family. I see the wholeness and health that my children receive because they have both of their parents living with and loving them. I see how important the role of their father is and how irreplaceable I am as their mother. We play complementary roles in their lives, and neither of us is disposable. In fact, we are both critical. It’s almost as if Mother Nature got this whole reproduction thing exactly right.”
Or we might say that God got it exactly right. In celebration of National Marriage Week 2021, IOF proclaims the immutable truth that the marital union of a man and a woman was divinely created in order to form what US representative Wade Horn told the UN General Assembly on December 6, 2004—“the foundation of the social order, the bedrock of nations, and the bastion of civilization,” even “the cradle of life and love for each new generation.” In the words of Michael Novak, “The roles of a father and a mother, and of children with respect to them, is the absolutely critical center of social force.” This is the truth we must lovingly and boldly defend for the benefit of children and of civilization itself.