Questions & Answers

Hasn’t divorce already harmed the institution you’re trying to preserve?
High rates of divorce, cohabitation, and unwed childbearing lead to heartache and difficulty. Should we reinforce these mistakes, or begin to restore the marriage culture? Redefining marriage makes marriage about adult desires instead of the needs of children; about adult emotional satisfaction instead of a permanent and exclusive union of man and woman for childbearing and rearing. We should rebuild and restore marriage, not undermine or redefine it.

Isn
’t same-sex marriage inevitable internationally? Aren’t you on the wrong side of history?

No. Across the member countries of the United Nations, only 21 of the 193 countries have redefined marriage to include same-sex marriage. The majority still uphold marriage between a man and a woman. Whatever pollsters and pundits may tell us about “inevitability,” the only way to guarantee a cultural loss is to sit idly by. We should frame our message, strengthen coalitions, devise strategies, and bear witness.

Telling the truth about marriage matters. In the struggle to preserve marriage, we can’t just look to immediate advances or setbacks. We need to prepare for the longer work of helping reshape how Bermuda thinks about marriage.

The question is not what will happen, but what should we do?

After all, there’s no such thing as being on the “right” or “wrong” side of history. There’s only being on the right or wrong side of truth.

Isn’t the answer to this debate for Bermuda to Introduce Civil Unions or Civil Partnerships for a win-win result?

In the debate between traditional marriage verses same-sex marriage, a compromise introduced by some governments is the implementation of a civil union. However, the public must be fully informed that in almost every country which has redefined marriage, civil unions were first introduced as the “answer” to alleged discrimination. The public and/or government was led to believe that this would be the end of the matter. However, it inevitably leads to a legal flight of the separate but unequal argument which results in the redefinition of marriage. Internationally, all countries that have legalized same-sex marriage, in all but one case (South Africa) it was preceded by the creation of civil unions. “More and more countries are moving on from the ‘failed experiment’ of civil unions’ by enacting equality in marriage.” The average number of years between the legislation for same-sex unions to the redefinition of marriage (same-sex marriage) is 8.6 years. It is important to note that since the year 2000 this has dropped to 6.9 years.


Country Legislated for same sex unions Redefined marriage Number of years in between
Argentina 2002-2009 progressively region by region. 21 July 2010 8
Belgium 2000 - Legal cohabitation 30 January 2003 3
Brazil 2004 (though some individual judicial decisions precede this) 16 May 2013 9
Canada 2001-2003 progressively region by region 20 July 2005 4
Denmark 1/10/89 - First of its kind in the world 15 June 2012 23
England & Wales 2005 17 July 2013 8
France November 1999 - PACS 18 May 2013 14
Iceland 1996 17 May 2010 14
Ireland 1/1/2011 22 May 2015 4
Luxembourg 01/11/2004 18 June 2014 10
Netherlands 1998 - Registered partnership 1 April 2001 3
New Zealand 25/04/2005 17 April 2013 8
Norway 1993 11 May 2008 15
Portugal 11/5/2001 - "De facto unions" 17 May 2009 8
Scotland 2005 4 February 2014 9
South Africa 30-Nov-06 30 November 2006 0
Spain 1998-2005 progressively region by region 3 July 2005 5
Sweden 1995 (third country, after Denmark and Norway) 1 May 2009 14
Uruguay 01/01/2008 3 May 2013 5
    Average 8.6
 
What could be more pro-family than expanding the rules on who can marry?
Redefining marriage undermines the entire institution and weakens society. It sends the message that marriage is about adult desires and not joining the two sexes together for the needs of children. The most pro-family policy we can promote is one that reflects the truth about marriage and puts the needs of children first.

Are you saying that gay parents can’t love and provide for a child?

All people are capable of loving and providing for children, but all the love in the world can’t turn a woman into a father or a man into a mother. A child needs both a mom and a dad. Children do better when raised by their married mom and dad, and decades of social science evidence show this. We shouldn’t place the desires of adults over the needs of children.

What does the research say?

The latest and most comprehensive research continues to confirm what social science has shown for decades: children do better when raised by a married mother and father. For example, the New Family Structures Study by Mark Regnerus of the University of Texas–Austin and a report in the highly respected journal Demography provide evidence for this conclusion. Still, the social science on same-sex parenting is a matter of significant ongoing debate, and we shouldn’t let it dictate our choices about marriage.

Isn
’t denying same-sex couples the freedom to marry the same as a ban on interracial marriage?

No. Marriage must be color-blind, but it cannot be gender-blind. Men and women — regardless of their race — can unite in marriage; and children need moms and dads — regardless of their race. Equality demands that the law treats things that are the same in the same ways. But a same-sex relationship is not the same as a marriage. No same-sex union can produce a child, nor unite a child with both a mother and a father.

If marriage is about children, what about couples who can’t or don’t have children?
Sound public policy is based on the rule, not the exception
, and most marriages do produce children. While not every married couple will have children, every child has both a mom and a dad. Childless marriages serve a broader social purpose too—showing the potential to create children and to meet children’s need for a mom and a dad.

Why doesn’t government just get out of the marriage business altogether?

Marriage is society’s best guarantee of a limited government that stays out of family life. In fact, enduring marriages are society’s best tool for ensuring that children are born into stable families that will care for, educate, and train those children to be good people and good citizens. If mothers and fathers do not fulfill the responsibility for caring for the children they create, then third parties and government will have to step in.

By promoting strong marriage and intact families, the government actually reduces the role it would otherwise play in fulfilling these social functions. It is in the interest of children, spouses, and the public to promote strong and enduring marriages.

Why shouldn’t everyone be able to marry the one they love?

Every adult is free to love as they choose, but no one is entitled to redefine marriage for all of us. Every marriage policy draws lines based on principle. For example, our current marriage policy says that a person cannot marry someone who is already married, or a close blood relative—regardless of love. Historically, policy has also been based on the idea that marriage is fundamentally rooted in the union of one man and one woman. If that principle is removed, there is no consistent argument for stopping any number of redefinitions to marriage.

We should stand by the enduring principle that marriage exists to bring a man and a woman together as husband and wife to be father and mother to any children their union may produce.

What about single moms or dads that are raising children?
Heroic single moms and dads should be commended. However, studies show that the majority of single parents encourage, welcome, and support the other biological parent being involved in their child’s life whenever possible. This is due to the fact that both moms and dads bring separate, unique, and irreplaceable parenting gifts in the life of the child.

How does redefining marriage weaken marriage?
Redefining marriage denies, as a matter of policy, the ideal that a child needs a mom and a dad. Redefining it to mean a relationship between any two consenting adults is presented by its advocates as a minor change. But if the law adopts this principle — that marriage can be whatever emotional bond the government says it should be — what stops the government from redefining marriage in other ways? Already advocates, in the United States, have gone to federal court demanding a constitutional right to practice polygamy. The debate about marriage is about restoring a culture in which children are most likely to be raised by the man and woman responsible for bringing them into the world.

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