We’re in a fight to protect ‘marriage’

Published 9:59 am Wednesday, January 28, 2015

As a probate judge in Alabama, I have a front row view of the institution of marriage. In addition to being responsible for the issuance of marriage licenses, one of the duties I enjoy most is performing marriage ceremonies. That is why the federal judge’s recent ruling against the state of Alabama is so troubling to me.

Last Friday an unelected federal judge declared Alabama’s Sanctity of Marriage Act unconstitutional. Our state and nation are confronted once again with a massive erosion of the values and principles upon which we are built. While we wait for the U.S. Supreme Court to make a definitive ruling on the issue later this year, it is important that we re-examine the importance of marriage as an institution and the far-reaching impact of these decisions.

The very idea that we are currently engaged in the debate over the definition of marriage seems to be an errand of liberal politicians looking for ways to please their base or an effort by the practitioners of political correctness to hone their craft. As Billy Graham’s son, Franklin, explained, “The institution of marriage should not be defined by presidents or polls, governors or the media. The definition was set long ago. And changing legislation or policy will never change God’s definition.”

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The deconstruction of the family unit has quickened, and much of this work is under the false guise of freedom. Rather than lead to a more free society, as some would have you believe, this will lead to less freedom by way of more government intervention. This will lead us, as taxpayers, to continue to shoulder the burden and pick up shattered pieces from broken families.

Here are two things we can do to promote strong marriage ideals.

First, we should continue to articulate the truth about marriage. Marriage is between one man and one woman, and, as Franklin Graham points out, this was settled more than 8,000 years ago. Empirical data confirms that children do better when raised by both a mother and a father in marriage, and this ultimately results in a more productive member of society. If we allow the federal judiciary to redefine marriage we will surrender the future of countless children, in addition to our religious liberty.

Second, we should demand that our elected federal representatives reform welfare to encourage marriage. Our welfare system should not punish low-income couples who choose to marry. In a recent article authored by Robert Rector, titled, “How Welfare Undermines Marriage and What to Do About It,” he stated that, “It is no accident that the collapse of marriage in America began with the War on Poverty and the proliferation of means-tested welfare programs that it fostered.” Our welfare system should help to incentivize fathers and mothers to marry. This will strengthen the lives of children and reduce the role of the U.S. taxpayer.

I want to be very clear. I understand that consenting adults are free to form relationships with anyone of their choosing. However, I believe the institution of marriage must not be redefined. Ryan T. Anderson in his recent March 2013 article titled, “Marriage: What It Is, Why It Matters, and the Consequences of Redefining It,” stated, “If sexual complementarity is eliminated as an essential characteristic of marriage, then no principle limits civil marriage to monogamous couples.”

This fight for marriage is too important to abandon. Let us continue to speak the truth about marriage and why it is important to our society.


Wes Allen is currently serving as Probate Judge in Pike County.