To Reaffirm Marriage

July 7, 2008 - 7:02 PM


On July 1, 1999, a distinguished group of jurists and advocates will gather at King's College School of Law in London to discuss "the legal recognition of same-sex partnerships." A group of law professors from the USA and UK will speak to them. Based on their publications and speeches, all these professors favor legalizing same-sex "marriage" or its equivalent through codes, regulations or court decrees.

The issues to be addressed at this conference are important. So are the participants. It is doubly disappointing, therefore, that the professors on the program will fail to represent a crucial position on the law of marriage, a position currently endorsed by every legal system in the world.

We are professors of law and jurisprudence at universities across the world who represent that position. We believe that marriage is the unique union of a man and a woman, a community of life and love. Marriage so understood is built into the fabric of social life, and cannot be arbitrarily redefined by lawmakers. Male-female marriage provides incomparable benefits to society, especially for children and for those who invest their lives in raising their children. Our domestic and international laws should preserve, protect and promote the institution of marriage.

We offer no simple recipe for laws that address non-marital sexual relationships. Our countries address these questions in different ways. But we are united in the conviction that the legal definition of marriage, as the union of a man and a woman, should not be changed. Redefining marriage to include same-sex unions will introduce unprecedented moral, social and legal confusion into our communities. It will not advance the causes of freedom, equality, justice, and human rights. Rather, it will weaken marriage, and ultimately undermine these causes too.

A conference dealing with so significant a subject should welcome - indeed solicit - academic presenters who defend the traditional understanding of marriage. Since the London conference will not do so, we take this opportunity to tell the world that many legal scholars, including the undersigned, do support marriage as the union of a man and a woman. In that respect, we represent the beliefs and practices of the overwhelming majority of humanity. This view may be "incorrect" to some, but we believe it is the path of wisdom for all people.

For more information, visit the Marriage Law Project in Washington, D.C.