Supreme Court – What Is Marriage?
#1. Isn’t marriage whatever the law says it is?
No. Marriage is not a creation of the law. Marriage is a fundamental human institution that predates the law and the Constitution. At its heart, it is an anthropological and sociological reality, not a legal one. Laws relating to marriage merely *recognize and regulate* an institution that already exists.
#2. Isn’t marriage just a way of recognizing people who love each other and want to spend their lives together?
If love and companionship were sufficient to define marriage, then there would be no reason to deny “marriage” to unions of a child and an adult, or an adult child and his or her aging parent, or to roommates who have no sexual relationship, or to groups rather than couples. Love and companionship are usually considered integral to marriage in our culture, but they are not *sufficient* to define it as an institution.
#3. Why is government involved in marriage at all?
Government recognizes marriage because it is an institution that benefits society in a way that no other relationship does. Marriage is society’s least restrictive means to ensure the well-being of *children*, while respecting everyone’s liberty to form their own relationships. That’s why 41 states, with good reason, affirm marriage as the union of a man and a woman.