Conservatives have a history of being inarticulate and impressionable on the subject of same-sex marriage. Either they defend their position with Bible verses, or they give in to the Left and say: “Get the government out of marriage” or “The Constitution protects homosexuals’ right to marry.”

Marriage is civilization’s only suitable institution for raising children. It’s not the government’s rubber-stamped approval of you and your partner’s love. Government and the people have a vested interest in insuring that children are capable of continuing a good society. We shouldn’t, therefore, legalize same-sex marriage, because then we are effectively saying marriage is no longer primarily about procreation, but about coupling.

Consider pro-gay liberal Democrat—I’ll repeat: pro-gay liberal Democrat—and author of The Future of Marriage, David Blankenhorn’s words: “Marriage’s single most fundamental idea is that every child needs a mother and a father. Changing marriage to accommodate same-sex couples would nullify this principle in culture and law.”

Nearly every society before us has recognized this as the role of marriage. This is why, “Sorry, Fred and John, marriage isn’t for you” isn’t that odd of an answer, and doesn’t deserve to be characterized as discriminatory (in the way people discussing these things usually mean it anyways). It would be like crying foul because living people can’t attend their own funerals, or complaining that men can’t enter the ladies room or get Pap smears. What’s in a name? Well, a lot actually.

In the words of Susan Shell (another liberal against same-sex marriage): “Least of all, can gays be guaranteed all of the experiences that stem from the facts of sexual reproduction and its accompanying penumbra of pleasures and cares.”

But back to Blankenhorn—he’s right. We should object to becoming more like the societies that endorse this behavior. There have been studies that show how legalizing same-sex marriage furthers societal ills like illegitimacy, and I don’t think these studies are unfounded, but they’re also not the bombshells many of my fellow conservatives think they are.

Homosexuals—and then homosexuals that want children—are a small minority, and any negative effects their marriages would have on society would be tiny compared to things like divorce and single motherhood. But let’s not give a disease to a dying patient.

By liberalizing divorce laws and expanding the welfare state we’ve already shot American families in the foot. Let’s not erase the fundamental purpose of marriage on top of all that. We, as a people, should have a moral objection (regardless to our religious identity) to further liberalizing any marriage laws—if we truly care about making America economically strong again, we should be trying to do the exact opposite.

There are many objections made to this stance, and you should be able to address them.

You’re denying equal rights: The 14th Amendment’s equal protection clause doesn’t forbid restricting same-sex marriage because it’s simply a regulation of the institution of marriage. No person (regardless of sexual identity) can marry someone of his or her own sex. Similar restrictions are placed on marrying within one’s family and the amount of people one can marry. There are also restrictions on who can vote and how, as well as on anything else that’s regulated by the state.

But…the separation of church and state!: Even if that meant what you think it does, no one is coercing anyone into any religious beliefs. It’s not religion that’s being legislated, but morality.  Just because it correlates with biblical teaching doesn’t make it unconstitutional (if that’s the case, get ready to throw out laws against murder and theft as 1st Amendment violations).

Also, since some churches endorse same-sex marriage, then it must be unconstitutional to legalize it, right?

 I was born this way: How did you come to that conclusion? Were your parents homosexuals?  And what if I were born with a natural inclination to verbally assault minorities, would the state have to endorse it?  Civilization is the restraint of destructive behavior and desires.

Being gay is like being black: Not in any conceivable way.  Behavior is always a choice; race is an immutable characteristic of birth. It was Frank Turek who said: “You’ll find many former homosexuals, but you’ll never find a former African-American.”

As for opposing same-sex marriage being like opposing miscegenation: Race is irrelevant to procreation, but gender is essential.

Aside from these objections, there are also some supposedly conservative solutions that are quite bad. The evangelicals automatically spring for amending the Constitution. Remind me how this is conservative again? The Constitution restrains government’s actions, not the people’s. Marriage has always been and should always be a state issue.

Likewise, saying government shouldn’t be involved in marriage is an easy way to answer a question without facing reality. Angela Morabito joked that “your cousin who took that online quiz and is now a ‘universal life minister’” could marry you and your fiancé.

Anyone can marry anyone at any time. I could likely go off and marry multiple women, I could accidentally marry a relative (which has actually happened without proper government oversight), and I could break those marriages whenever I wanted by saying that they were never valid (perhaps I changed religions—I went from a universal humanist to a practicing Catholic, and am now free from those family obligations).

Government uses marriage oversight to decide issues of child support, custody, and adoption. Government tells you when you’re married or divorced rather than your cousin who perhaps didn’t even pass his online exam (backed by whom, by the way?). Marriage is an important factor in these issues as well as deciding who gets Social Security, Medicare, and insurance benefits. It was for these reasons that a very smart woman once said: “A world without government stop signs would be safer than a world without government marriage.”

I’m usually happy with getting government out of the way, but it isn’t always the answer, because believe it or not, it actually has a purpose.

(For more in depth analysis of the issue see Dr. Frank Turek’s Correct, Not Politically Correct: How Same Sex Marriage Hurts Everyone; Susan M. Shell’s “The liberal case against gay marriage.”)

Keith Fierro | California State Fullerton | @KJFierro