By Guy Murray

There are many religious-based reasons to support the institution of Man-Woman marriage. Most of Christianity looks to traditional biblical support, including both Old and New Testament sources - and there are many others. For the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, it goes beyond biblical precedent. One of the core doctrines that sets us apart from other Christian denominations is the principle of continued and direct revelation between man and God. It was the Rock upon which Christ (Matthew 16:17-19) built His Church both during His earthly ministry and at the inception of the Restoration of His Church in modern time.

The core document describing the doctrinal foundation of Mormon belief about men, women, family, and marriage is The Family: A Proclamation to the World. LDS believe this document is divinely inspired from modern Prophets, Apostles, Seers, and Revelators, whom we believe speak for God on earth. Some, with good reason, sustain the Proclamation as scripture, meaning "the will of the Lord, the mind of the Lord, the word of the Lord, the voice of the Lord, and the power of God unto salvation" (D&C 68:4). Such proclamations are rare. This one was issued in the united and unanimous voices of the Quorums of the Twelve Apostles and the First Presidency, the highest governing bodies in the Mormon Church.

It establishes:

1. Its principles are vital to the happiness and well being of all families;

2. Marriage between a man and woman is ordained of God, and essential to His eternal plan;

3. The family is central to God's eternal plan for mankind;

4. Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose;

5. We are commanded to multiply and replenish the earth;

6. Power of procreation is to be used only between man and woman, lawfully wedded as husband and wife;

7. Children are entitled to be born into the bonds of marriage and be reared by both a mother and a father;

8. The disintegration of the family will bring well-prophesied calamities upon individuals, communities, and nations.

These Divine guidelines are plain, precious, easily understood, and unambiguous. They form the basis of why Mormons believe marriage is reserved for men and women only. Expounding on the Proclamation, the Church has noted that marriage is much more than just a civil contract between any number of consenting adults forming a genderless union:

Marriage is not primarily a contract between individuals to ratify their affections and provide for mutual obligations. Rather, marriage and family are vital instruments for rearing children and teaching them to become responsible adults. While governments did not invent marriage, throughout the ages governments of all types have recognized and affirmed marriage as an essential institution in preserving social stability and perpetuating life itself. Hence, regardless of whether marriages were performed as a religious rite or a civil ceremony, married couples in almost every culture have been granted special benefits aimed primarily at sustaining their relationship and promoting the environment in which children are reared. A husband and a wife do not receive these benefits to elevate them above any other two people who may share a residence or social tie, but rather in order to preserve, protect, and defend the all-important institutions of marriage and family.