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Heritage Foundation’s Walker: Justices Risk Altering Basic Nature of Marriage

By Todd Beamon and John Bachman   |   Tuesday, 26 Mar 2013 07:07 PM

If the Supreme Court upholds same-sex marriage “we’re going to see marriage becoming less of a child-centered institution and more of an adult-centered institution,” Andrew Walker of the Heritage Foundation tells Newsmax TV in an exclusive interview.

“This focuses more on, to be quite honest, the emotional intensities of consenting adults — and I just don’t really think the government has a place in regulating relationships based on emotional intensities,” Walker, a Heritage Foundation policy analyst, tells Newsmax. “I don’t go to a licensing bureau to have my best friend and my friendship recognized before the state.

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“The state has historically and legally said that marriage is unique because it produces the next generation of citizens — and when the Defense of Marriage Act was passed in 1996, there’s this absolutely stunning passage in the law itself that says that were it not for the possibility of begetting children inherent and heterosexual unions, society would have no particular interest in encouraging citizens to come together in a committed relationship.”

Walker serves the Heritage Foundation’s DeVos Center for Religion and Civil Society. He researches and writes about marriage, family, and the moral principles that support civil society — focusing on how ethics inform public policy decisions and investigating what role religion plays in American political culture.

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court heard arguments on the constitutionality of California’s Proposition 8, which bans gay marriage. The justices signaled that that they were reluctant to embrace a broad ruling that established a fundamental right to marriage for gays and lesbians in the United States.

The court on Wednesday will hear arguments on whether to uphold the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which limits the definition of marriage to couples of the opposite sex.

Rulings in both cases are expected in June.

Walker tells Newsmax that the oral arguments in both cases are significant because “people are disingenuously taking the word ‘marriage’ and applying it to anybody and anyone without properly defining what marriage really is.

“What we’ve seen across America and in 41 states is that Americans have overwhelmingly voted to approach and define marriage as the exclusive union as a man and a woman — and it would be premature and it would be wrong for the Supreme Court to step in and end this debate,” he says.

His own definition of marriage “has about three prongs to it,” Walker says.

“There’s an anthropological reality that says men and women are inherently different — and there is the biological fact that says reproduction depends upon a man and a woman and, third, there is the social reality of marriage that says children need a mother and a father.

“If you put this all together, you get this comprehensive definition that says marriage is a natural instruction that sees a man and a woman coming together as husband and wife to be a mother and father to any children that their union produces,” Walker adds. “That’s qualitatively different than any other relationship that’s known to man.”

And this even applies to married couples in which one member is discovered to be infertile.

“We have to recognize that a childless couple or an infertile couple, they still possess the natural essence of marriage, which is that it’s based on sexual complementarity — the sexual act is occurring, but it’s not occurring to fruition — and that it’s based on a permanent, exclusive relationship,” Walker tells Newsmax. “We’re arguing about public policy being based on the norm of things and not the exception.”

And, as well, to instances involving adopted children of same-sex couples.

“We want to acknowledge and affirm that all individuals can love children, but I also want to step back and say that all the love in the world can’t turn a mother into a father or a father into a mother — and we would be, again, redefining marriage. We would be making it genderless and denying the appeal that children need a mother and a father.

“We recognize that there are individuals in this circumstance, but we also have to recognize from a larger and broader policy principle that children do best in a household with a mom and a dad.”

Looking ahead to June, Walker declined to speculate how the justices would decide.

“There’s two different schools of thought that they could issue either a very broad ruling from both cases that would strike down existing state amendments and state statutes that define marriage or they could have a very narrow ruling that would be tied to just California alone,” he tells Newsmax.

“We’re hoping that there will be that, obviously, marriage will be upheld — but in the occasion that same-sex marriage does come down in the court, we’re hoping that it’s on a state basis, because where we’re most concerned right now is seeing this debate continue — and we don’t want to see the court step in and end the debate.

“The polls show we’re having a great, robust debate — and we don’t want the court to end that,” Walker adds. “More importantly, millions of Americans have spoken out on this issue, and we don’t want their voices being overridden by the court.”

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If the Supreme Court upholds same-sex marriage we're going to see marriage becoming less of a child-centered institution and more of an adult-centered institution, Andrew Walker of the Heritage Foundation tells Newsmax TV in an exclusive interview.

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