How We Got Here

Well, the full reason is centuries old, but part of the reason is today’s change in our marriage laws. Two eminently qualified commentators laid this out more than 3 years ago.

They are:

Ryan T. Anderson , the William E. Simon senior research fellow at The Heritage Foundation, and the founder and editor of Public Discourse, the online journal of the Witherspoon Institute. B.A Princeton, PhD Notre Dame.

Robert P. George, the McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence and director of the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions at Princeton University.

Their 2020 opinion piece in USA Today was prescient.

In that article, Anderson and George presented an argument against the redefinition of marriage, particularly in relation to same-sex marriage and the implications it would have on societal norms of monogamy, exclusivity, and permanence.

They argued that the legal recognition of same-sex marriage has led to a shift in societal understanding of marriage. Marriage is now seen as a flexible institution based on consenting adult relationships, rather than a union between a man and a woman for the purpose of childbearing and rearing.

This shift undermines the belief that children deserve a mother and a father.

In relation to monogamy, the authors questioned why marriage should be limited to two people if it is simply about romantic connection. Because there is nothing inherently special about the number two, the logic of ‘romantic connection’ inexorably leads to the mainstreaming of non-traditional relationships.

Specifically, they mentioned the emergence and acceptance of “throuples,” a term used to describe a three-person romantic relationship. They also mentioned the rise of “ethical nonmonogamy,” a term used to describe relationships where all parties consent to their partners having other romantic and sexual relationships.

On the topic of exclusivity, Anderson and George argued that if marriage is not a union uniting a man and a woman as one flesh, there is no reason it should involve or imply sexual exclusivity. They discussed the acceptance of “open relationships,” where partners are not exclusive and can have other relationships outside of their primary one.

Regarding permanence, they questioned why marriage should be pledged to permanence if it is not a comprehensive union inherently ordered to childbearing and rearing.

This erosion of the norms of monogamy, exclusivity, and permanence has had profound consequences on society, particularly for children, and it is a result of the cultural breakdown of marriage.

Also they argued that the redefinition of marriage has led to questioning the relevance of gender in marriage, contributing to the rise of discussions around transgender and nonbinary identities. For if gender doesn’t matter in marriage, it might not matter at all, leading to the idea of gender as a fluid concept existing along a spectrum of nonbinary options.

In a final flourish they say the redefinition of marriage was influenced by body-self dualism, the idea that we are essentially nonphysical entities inhabiting physical bodies. So these bodies are not who we REALLY are. This belief led to the idea that the physical aspects of sexual acts did not matter, and that what mattered was emotional union and the use of bodies to induce desirable sensations and feelings. This, they argue, contributed to the redefinition of marriage to include same-sex relationships.

In their view, these changes are not grassroots movements but are driven by those wielding political, economic, and cultural power to advance a sexual-liberationist ideology. These changes have been top-down, driven by ideologically friendly courts, federal agencies, and big corporations.

Finally, let me add something about legal arrangements for my gay and lesbian friends. Legal arrangements regarding inheritance rights, visitation rights, etc., for non-heterosexual relationships are supported by the vast majority of Americans.

There was no need to redefine marriage.

But here we are.


The law shapes culture, culture shapes beliefs, and beliefs shape action.