In the current cause célèbre, the quest for "marriage equality', the right to marry is touted as a necessary step towards full equality for same-sex couples. During this push for access to an institution largely rejected by opposite-sex couples, there has been very little discussion about the best interests of children.
Perhaps this is so because adults have not been particularly interested in the well-being of children for at least two generations, political posturing aside.
From "no-fault' divorce and abortion rights in the 1960s to the "contraceptive' mandates of today, adult wishes have trumped children's needs. In the aftermath of these social experiments, many children are reaching adulthood without learning to become responsible, loving spouses and parents. Instead, schools teach them that children are a burden to be avoided by practicing "safer sex."
Marriage is postponed beyond natural fertility or avoided. New generations of children are conceived out of wedlock or through in vitro fertilization, instead of from an act of love by their parents faithfully committed to each other for life.
To its credit, the Catholic Church, a leading provider of services to families, has resisted these trends. The Conference of Catholic Bishops explained, "Marriage is not just about satisfying adult desires, but is a pro-child institution. Every single child, without exception, a mother and a father ... each contributes in a distinct and unique way to the formation of children, helping them to understand their identity as male or female. Respecting a child's dignity means affirming his or her need for — and right to — a mother and a father.'
As Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone stated, "Marriage is either a conjugal union of a man and a woman designed to unite husband and wife to each other and to any children who may come from their union, or it is a relationship for the mutual benefit of adults which the state recognizes and to which it grants certain benefits. Whoever is for one, is opposed to the other.'
Americans are making decisions about marriage that may permanently redefine the concept of parenthood to fulfill the whims of adults at the expense of children. Will we continue to hold the self-indulgent attitudes promoted by the government and taught by Planned Parenthood? Or will we strengthen marriage as the institution uniting children to their mom and dad, and raise our children to act responsibly towards their children?
Unquestionably, single moms, single dads, grandparents and same-sex couples love the children they are raising. But from the child's viewpoint, supported by sociological studies, would these children not be better off raised by their responsible, mature and married biogical parents?
As 11-year-old Grace Evans asked the Minnesota legislature — and us — "which parent do I not need, my mom or my dad?'