Autumn Leva: "Marriage is the Most Prochild Institution We Have"


Autumn Leva of Minnesota for Marriage writes in the StarTribune:

"...Politicians at both state and federal levels often focus their debates on whether policies will help or hurt children. Even courts are guided by the legal principle that family conflicts should be adjudicated to provide for "the best interests of the child."

It seems everyone realizes that what's best for kids should guide our governmental policies and social institutions. This is because children really are our most precious resource, and government and society have a compelling interest in seeing them thrive.

It is surprising, then, that the conversation about what the definition of marriage in Minnesota should be has left many who speak up about the best interests of kids labeled as "bigots," "haters," "discriminators" and worse.

Marriage is the most prochild institution we have -- and the only institution that connects children with their parents. Through marriage, men and women come together complementarily to form one union, not only for the benefit of the couple, but also for the children who benefit from being loved and raised by their mother and father.

Marriage says to society as a whole: For every child born, there is a recognized mother and father, accountable to the child and each other. Indeed, the U.S. Supreme Court has said that marriage is "fundamental to the very existence and survival of the [human] race."

The overwhelming body of social science supports what we already understand to be true -- children do best when raised by their married mother and father. As the journal Child Trends affirms, "[R]esearch clearly demonstrates that family structure matters for children, and the family structure that helps children the most is a family headed by two biological parents in a low-conflict marriage."

Every child has a right to know and, to the extent possible, be cared for by the two people who brought them into the world. Not every marriage produces children, but every child has a mother and father. And we all have a right to live in a society that recognizes the importance of mothers and fathers for a child's well-being."

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