Imagine a nursery in a large hospital. A dozen women have children, and these children are placed in a room together. The next day, you are scheduled to go home along with your child. Would it matter which child you brought home with you? If love makes a family, then biology should not matter.
And what about the child? Should it matter to her? Are there some bonds that are primary? Are there some relationships that take precedence over others? To whom do we owe our first allegiance? To God, of course. After that? Is it mom and dad or the state? To whom do our children belong?
When Obergefell was decided, everyone applauded. It was a wonderful time for all of us to declare our independence from all those who have gone before us. Now those who speak against gay marriage called bigots. But do we recognize what we lost? Including the idea that marriage has any inherent meaning. Including the loss of parental rights.
Throughout history, marriage has been orientated towards children. Sure, other things are involved, such as friendship, companionship, desire, and the like. But government offers no legal recognition of friendship. Why is that? Because only one relationship, that of one man and one woman, can produce a child. And that child has a reasonable right to be raised by her mother and her father too, even as a mom and dad very well expect to leave the hospital with their own biological child and not another.
Adoption is wondrous; it is a great way of bringing joy out of a difficult or sad situation. But it is not the ideal. The ideal is that a mother raise her child alongside that child's father. A kid needs both a mom and a dad. Might a child do ok with only a mom? Perhaps. But statistically, it does not work out well. Children without dad at home are statistically vulnerable in just about every category of human thriving: poverty, incarceration, mental stability, and all the rest. (This is no knock at all against a single mom; it is simply a recognition that a child longs for mom and dad and rightly so.)
But as marriage is no longer a thing, children have no such expectations. But, moms and dads, don't think that your position is safe. It works both ways. As natural law is denied, replaced by societal opinion, a child's right to a mom and dad is gone, and so also is your right, as a mom and dad, to think of your children as yours. What the government gives, the government can take away.
The Rev. Dr. Peter Scaer is chairman and professor of Exegetical Theology and director of the M.A. program at Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, Ind.