Marriage does not need redefining

By Rep. Ron Bigelow – R-District 32 (Salt Lake City)

As elected officials, we are often called upon to address social issues that are controversial and filled with emotion. One of these issues is what we politically refer to as an “alternate lifestyle” or what is commonly called “gay rights.” These emotionally charged issues come before the state Legislature in several different forms, with one of the most high-profile being the recent resolution on marriage.

For centuries, the concepts of family and marriage have been so fundamental that they did not need defining. I have been surprised to find that support of the traditional family and marriage has been attacked as a bigoted and hateful position. Religions-considered by most to be compassionate and understanding-have even been attacked for their continued support of the traditional family and marriage.

Some sincerely believe that marriage and family should be changed in our day to meet the desires of those in these alternate lifestyles. In the world’s history, some societies have attempted to change the traditional family and marriage. They paid a heavy price in human misery for their failed experiments. Hopefully, we will learn from the mistakes of the past and the problems of the present and do more to strengthen rather than redefine.

Orson Scott Card said it well: “We will once again be performing a potentially devastating social experiment on ourselves without any attempt to predict the consequences and find out if the American people actually want them.”

If we do keep the traditional concept of family and marriage, will those practicing in alternative relationships somehow be denied their rights or suffer in some way? I believe the answer is no. Currently, individuals involved in alternative relationships are able to find equal treatment under the law, have the same opportunities in business and promotion and can buy homes and shop in any store. So, what is it that is being denied? The right to marry? They can still marry. It just has to be done within the traditional context of marriage.

If marriage is redefined, then we will continue to erode marriage in the traditional sense. It then becomes whatever the current government defines. It could be anything or nothing. Most likely, it will come to mean almost nothing other than a convenient contract to be discarded on a whim without regard to the impact on our children and society.

Can the advocates of an alternative lifestyle continue to live in our society and be happy even if marriage and family are not changed to suit their personal beliefs? I believe they can and do.

We should try to strengthen, maintain and preserve the most successful of all societal units-the traditional family, formed by marriage. Our society should do all in its power to encourage stable, happy and traditional families and marriages.

The hope for our future lies in strong traditional families, not in confusing examples to our children, nor in additional government laws and court rulings that are often temporary and later regretted.

I, for one, will continue to support efforts to preserve and strengthen the traditional marriage and the traditional family.

I also believe that a large majority of those who elected me as a representative feel the same way.

It is great to be in America where we can freely debate these issues, even if they produce heated and emotional discussion and feelings.

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