Marriage is a unique union, a relationship different from all others. It is the permanent bond between one man and one woman and the indispensable good at the heart of every family and every society. Attempting to redefine marriage to include any other kind of relationship empties the term “marriage” of its inherent meaning, for it excludes the necessary complementarity between man and woman, treating sexual difference as if it were irrelevant to what marriage is in its essence, in fact, and in truth.
Marriage is ordered toward an authentic union of persons and the generation of new life. It is only through the union of a man and a woman that new life is created. The stable, lifelong and loving relationship of a man and woman, when legally recognized as a marriage, provides the ideal conditions for raising and socializing any children born of their union.
Proponents of redefining marriage often refer to a “right to marriage” and condemn those who oppose this “right.” But something as unique as marriage is only possible for those open to the complete fulfillment of its purposes; it is not a “right” that can be given or denied. Moreover, no one has a right to have the law or the institutions of the state call “marriage” something that it is not. Truth demands that we recognize as marriages only those unions that are the true and full expression of marriage.
We acknowledge that people come together for many different reasons, but we must remember that the mere existence of a relationship, even one that claims to be based on love and commitment, does not automatically constitute a marriage. When such associations require legal access to certain benefits, privileges, or rights of ownership, the state can choose to grant such a request by any number of legal provisions as long as the truth and purposes of marriage are not obscured.