Marriage: A Right or an Obligation?

June 11, 2022

Discussions of the seemingly unrelated topics of guns and marriage follow. The objective is to delineate rights and obligations.

My wife and I have been married for 53 years. 56 years ago, I asked her to marry me. My mother-in-law urged birth control. I responded, “I don’t think you understand why we are marrying.” Within a few short years, our young family grew to six persons.

The Question: Is marriage a right or an obligation? How do these two words differ in meaning?

“Right vs. Obligation. A right is a claim or title to an interest in anything whatsoever that is enforceable by law. An obligation is defined in the Civil Code as a juridical necessity to give, to do, or not to do. For every right enjoyed by any person, there is a corresponding obligation on the part of another person to respect such right.” Project Jurisprudence

A list of synonyms for the word obligation includes duty, responsibility, imperative, and accountability.

It was Thomas Jefferson who penned the Declaration of Independence. Jefferson was a scholar as were the majority of our Founding Fathers. With respect to rights, Jefferson wrote, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

Contemporary politicians often cite the Second Amendment to say this amendment to the U.S. Constitution gives us a right to keep and bear arms. Because our creator gave us the aforementioned rights, we have a natural obligation, as the stewards of our gifts, to protect ourselves from any who would deprive us of them.

Amendment II
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

The 2nd Amendment does not bestow a right to the citizens of our country. Rather, it affirms our natural (God-given) rights and our individual obligation to defend ourselves from a tyrannical government, federal lawmakers, executives, and judges who may wish to deprive us of our natural rights. The language of this amendment succinctly limits federal powers.

Words have meanings.

Again I ask, is marriage a right or an obligation?

If a law says I cannot exceed a posted speed limit of 70 mph, do I have a right to stay at or below the posted limit? No, I have an obligation to drive at or below 70 mph.

Social Contract Theory and the Commandments of God

Social contract theory, nearly as old as philosophy itself, is the view that a person’s moral and/or political obligations are dependent upon a contract or agreement among them to form the society in which they live. source

What is the role of God’s authority in our American social contract? The United States of America was founded by scholarly men who submitted to the natural laws of God. Atheists do not like this, but there it is. The phrase, “so help me God” has been included by all presidents from Washington to Biden, except for Theodore Roosevelt. All but two, John Quincy Adams and Theodore Roosevelt spoke the oath of office with their hands on the Bible. John Quincy Adams placed his hand on a book of the law. Barack Obama spoke the oath of office using two Bibles, one owned by Abraham Lincoln and the other by Martin Luther King Jr.

36 USC 302: National motto went into effect on July 30, 1956, when  President Eisenhower signed into law the establishment of our national motto.

Regardless of a citizen’s worldview to the contrary, God is at the foundation of our country and God’s laws and commandments are inextricably woven into the Supreme Law of the Land and the fabric of our social contract.

There are same-sex couples that promote homosexual marriage and claim such as a right, equal in every respect to the marriage of a man and a woman. The question arises: Is holy matrimony a right?

God’s first commandment to mankind is not found in the list of the Ten Commandments. It was given thousands of years before the Ten Commandments. I refer the reader to the first book of the Bible, Genesis.

God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.” Genesis 1:28 NIV.

Marriage, holy matrimony, is not a right. The marriage of a man and a woman is an obligation. All citizens have the natural Right to Life and only the marriage of a man and a woman can increase the human population. The obligation of all mankind is to procreate.

Procreation of the human species is only possible through the physical union of a man and a woman. There has been only one recorded instance of a parthenogenetically produced child by a woman in all human history.

John White
Rockwall, Texas

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Online Resources for Further Study

  • John Locke’s Two Treatises on Government
  • An Essay Concerning Human Understanding
    § 51. As therefore the highest perfection of intellectual nature lies in a careful and constant pursuit of true and solid happiness, so the care of ourselves, that we mistake not imaginary for real happiness, is the necessary foundation of our liberty. The stronger ties we have to an unalterable pursuit of happiness in general, which is our greatest good, and which, as such, our desires always follow, the more are we free from any necessary determination of our will to any particular action, and from a necessary compliance with our desire, set upon any particular, and then appearing preferable good, till we have duly examined, whether it has a tendency to, or be inconsistent with our real happiness: and therefore till we are as much informed upon this inquiry, as the weight of the matter, and the nature of the case demands; we are, by the necessity of preferring and pursuing true happiness as our greatest good, obliged to suspend the satisfaction of our desires in particular cases. [pages 185-186]
  • Thomas Jefferson’s Sophisticated, Radical Vision of Liberty
    Jefferson expressed a sophisticated, radical vision of liberty with awesome grace and eloquence… Moreover, he developed a doctrine for strictly limiting the power of government, the most dangerous threat to liberty everywhere… Though Jefferson had personal failings—in the case of slavery, a monstrous one—they don’t invalidate the philosophy of liberty he championed, any more than Einstein’s personal failings are evidence against his theory of relativity.
  • The unification of one man and one woman represents Christ and the church
    Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ… Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything… “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church… Ephesians 5:21-32 NIV

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Published by John White

A lifetime (over 50 years) of experiences with automation and control systems ranging from aerospace navigation, radar, and ordinance delivery systems to the world's first robotic drilling machine for the oil patch, to process-control systems, energy management systems and general problem-solving. At present, my focus is on self-funding HVAC retrofit projects and indoor air quality with a view to preventing infections from airborne pathogens.

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