Taking a Walk for Marriage

Today I had the opportunity join thousands of others in the March for Marriage. On the first day of Supreme Court arguments on marriage a diverse crowd gathered on the National Mall to show support for marriage between one man and one woman, united as husband and wife to be mother and father to their children.

The March for Marriage makes its way down Constitution Avenue.

After making our way down the Mall to the front steps of the Court (weaving peacefully through a smaller group of same-sex marriage supporters gathered there) and back to the rally location, a number of speakers addressed the animated crowd. There was Rev. Ruben Diaz (D) state senator from New York and president of the New York Hispanic Clergy Organization, Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone, Rev. Bill Owens of the Coalition of African-American Pastors, Jennifer Marshall of the Heritage Foundation, Cathy Ruse of Family Research Council, Gary Bauer, Doug Mainwaring and many more.

Oh, and me!

And just in case you weren’t able to be there with us on the Mall I’ve posted the full-text of my comments below.

(I also ad-libbed an opening that my friend Owen captured on his iPhone. Check it out: March for Marriage – Teetsel opening)

Remarks at March for Marriage

In 2009, over 100 religious leaders from the Catholic, Protestant and Orthodox traditions – including many of the speakers here today – joined together to author a landmark statement of Christian conscience on life, marriage and religious liberty that came to be known as the Manhattan Declaration.

The Manhattan Declaration describes marriage as the “first institution of human society – the institution on which all other human institutions have their foundation.”

You see, marriage is the original and most important institution for sustaining the health, education and welfare of all persons in society. We understand that where marriage is honored, and where there is a flourishing marriage culture, everyone benefits – the spouses, their children, and the communities and societies in which they live.

On the other hand, where marriage begins to erode, social pathologies of every sort quickly manifest themselves. Experience confirms this, social science confirms this. Even President Obama recognizes this fact. It is the reason his administration runs a Fatherhood Initiative that describes fatherlessness as (quote)

a growing crisis in America, one that undergirds many of the challenges that families are facing. When dads aren’t around, young people are more likely to drop out of school, use drugs, be involved in the criminal justice system, and become young parents themselves.

These are the reasons we are gathered here today.

Marriage is not about personal intimacy; it is a public good.

It is not about what adults want; it is about what children need.

Advocates of same-sex marriage often point out that we have failed to uphold our own definition of marriage. They are right. Too often we have failed to model for the world its true meaning.

Let today be the day we commit ourselves to renewing a culture of marriage.

The Manhattan Declaration points the way forward:

To strengthen families, we must reform ill-advised policies that contribute to the weakening of the institution of marriage, including “no-fault divorce.”

To strengthen families, we must work in the legal, cultural, and religious domains to instill in my generation a sound understanding of what marriage is, what it requires, and why it is worth the commitment and sacrifice. That’s why this week I helped to launch a new group: Marriage Generation, whose purpose to be a voice for marriage for the next generation.

To strengthen families, we must stop glamorizing promiscuity and infidelity and restore among our people a sense of the profound beauty, mystery, and holiness of faithful marital love.

If you haven’t already, today is the day to join the 535,191 Christians who have committed themselves to the Manhattan Declaration movement; today is the day to say that when it comes to life, marriage, and religious liberty we must stand up to the cultural winds and never render to Caesar those things that rightly belong to God.

Thank you.




  • Ethan Manx

    “Marriage is not about personal intimacy; it is a public good.”

    Cool. You don’t think marriage is about the parties initially involved and their commitment to each other? Fine. You can live by that. One question: why do you want to force me to live by that too?

    You see, I’m not arguing for change in YOUR marriage. I’m arguing for equal rights. All men and women are equal under the law. Why are two men in a committed relationship less than a man and a women in a committed relationship under the law? You see how it doesn’t add up, surely.

    Notice how you are still utterly free to reject and abhor homosexuality. I’m not arguing for you to shut up about your opinions. All I’m confused over is that, for some reason, your opinions are telling me what to do. My opinions should matter to me, not your opinions.

    Don’t like gay marriage? Don’t get gay married. Do you think that gay marriage can’t be “true” due to how it doesn’t fit your criteria for marriage? Well, make sure that your marriage fits your criteria and let me and my partner declare our relationship however we see fit.

    Right now, the only thing linking every marriage is a contract and two committed people. Not religion. Not whatever purpose you can attribute to marriage (y’know, like child-rearing). Homosexuals can sign contracts and can form committed relationships. There is no reason to keep us from marrying.

    • Max

      @Ethan; I am sure that deep down in your heart you know that this ‘same sex marriage’ thing is absolutely wrong – religion aside, and that is why those that promote it shy away from facing this ugly truth: have you asked yourself why you think this age-long ‘thing’ known as sodomy should be referred to as ‘marriage’ now and also be legalized by a government ? It is not as if these proponents of the legalization of sodomy are not smart enough to assign a clearly different word/term for defining this their new idea of ‘equal right of commitment in a relationship’, the sad truth is that they delude themselves with the belief that terming ‘it’ a ‘marriage’ will definitely change how the society perceives sodomy. Come on dear, even atheists and pagans both now and in ancient times marry and the word ‘marriage’ was not introduced into the law by any religion ! My candid advice to those proponents of the legalization of this pitiable idea is that they as a group should start their terribly poor defenses of this their unrepentant ‘weakness’ by first giving it a different new name. They should stop piggybacking on the legal definitions of the term ‘marriage’ and use their separate chosen term if they really need to attract the sympathies of the American society and its legislative institutions.
      However on an individual basis, the best solution to this problem of ‘living in a state of self-imposed bondage’ in a free world is to:
      First acknowledge it to oneself deep down in one’s heart that sodomy is an unhealthy, physically and psychologically-harmful lifestyle in any human society just like any other antisocial lifestyle(e.g.: smoking, alcoholism, prostitution etc) and will never receive the full blessing of the law in any nation no matter the size of the economic benefits the government derives from them.
      Secondly, the individual should immediately determine to seek and get professional help before it is too late. The help mustn’t be sought from a religious organization, but if getting it from a religious organization is the only available option then there should be nothing wrong in getting that help from there, logically that will be the smartest thing to do in the circumstance.

      • Peter

        ‘will never recieve the full blessing of the law in any nation’ “As of May 2013, thirteen countries (Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, France, Iceland, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, South Africa, Sweden), and several sub-national jurisdictions (parts of Mexico and the United States), allow same-sex couples to marry. Uruguay and New Zealand have both enacted laws to legalize same-sex marriage which will come into force in August 2013.
        Bills allowing legal recognition of same-sex marriage have been
        proposed, are pending, or have passed at least one legislative house in Andorra, England and Wales, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Luxembourg, Nepal, Scotland, and Taiwan, as well as in parts of Australia, Mexico, and the United States.” There is no effective treatment for being gay. All these so-called ‘ex-gay’ ministries have been exposed as failiures. You cannot change someone’s sexual orientation. For whatever reason, God has decided to make some people attracted to members of their own sex. Not just people either, animals too. There’s even a species of lizard that is exclusively lesbian and reproduces through virgin birth. “The New Mexico whiptail lizard is a crossbreed of a western whiptail
        which lives in the desert and the little striped whiptail that favours
        grasslands. The lizard is a female-only species that reproduces by
        producing an egg through parthenogenesis. Despite reproducing asexually,
        and being an all female species, the whiptail still engages in mating
        behavior with other females of its own species, giving rise to the
        common nickname “lesbian lizards”. A common theory is that this behavior
        stimulates ovulation, as those who do not “mate” do not lay eggs”

  • Darla Huck

    I don’t know if you remember me, but I was your English teacher in Vicenza, Italy, and you helped me with prom. Hope you are well.
    Ms. Huck

  • Katie

    I saw you speak at the rally yesterday. Great job! I am trying to get more involved in this issue- I am trying to write something and I liked what you said about Obama’s Fatherhood Initiative, is this quote “a growing crisis in America, one that undergirds many of the challenges that families are facing. When dads aren’t around, young people are more likely to drop out of school, use drugs, be involved in the criminal justice system, and become young parents themselves,” a quote from Obama? I just want to have the right citation. Thanks so much!

    Katie Costantino

    • Eric Teetsel

      Hi Katie! You can find the exact quote on the bottom of the Fatherhood.gov page here: http://www.fatherhood.gov/about-us

      President Obama himself made a similar statement in a speech in 2008: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0608/11094.html

      “We know that more than half of all black children live in single-parent households, a number that has doubled — doubled — since we were children. We know the statistics — that children who grow up without a father are five times more likely to live in poverty and commit crime; nine times more likely to drop out of schools and 20 times more likely to end up in prison. They are more likely to have behavioral problems, or run away from home or become teenage parents themselves. And the foundations of our community are weaker because of it.”

  • Frank

    Keep up the great work and don’t get discouraged. You are fighting against spiritual forces.

  • Victor

    I wonder where I can read the list of all the signatories, not just religious leaders, but common folk too. Info to that effect would be appreciated. Thank you.

    • Victor

      Otherwise, it would look like you’re just cranking the number of the signatures up.

      • Eric Teetsel

        Hi Victor – I’m sure you understand that there’s no way I can give you all that information. But I can assure you that to the best of my knowledge every one of our 538,000+ signatures is a real person. No “cranking” the numbers going on. (Trust me, if I were in it for the numbers and willing to lie, we would be growing much faster.)

  • http://practicingresurrection.wordpress.com Bill

    I don’t see how anyone could reasonably object to strengthening the “culture of marriage.” I expect most of those who favor permitting gay couples to marry would agree that doing so would be a good thing. But why wouldn’t extending the privileges of marriage to homosexuals strengthen marriage, rather than weaken it? I’ve never understood the argument that allowing gay people to get married (which seems to me to be something proponents of marriage should encourage) somehow jeopardizes or weakens the marriages of hetereosexuals. Just my two cents worth.

  • Michael Snow

    OT but I see no contact link. I have often wondered why the Manhattan Declaration, in a country with millions who claim to be ‘born again.’ has so few signatures.
    One reason may be this blog. The link on “About” does not work. On another page, it simply gives the address with no link.

    • Michael Snow

      And another reason is that it seems that it is only an internet effort. What are churches doing?

  • Patrick Flynn

    I fully agree with Ethan and I will not sign this document. Marriage is a commitment before God and man (witnesses) between two people who are in love and committed to each other for a lifetime. It has nothing to do with sexual orientation and everything to do with love and commitment between two human beings. I think the biggest fear and misconception is that if same sex marriage is permitted that mankind will die out I mean come on get real people, do you really think that 10% of the world’s population who are “gay” can wipe out humanity? I really don’t think so! And what about people who cannot have children or do not desire to have children are they out of the “will of God”. Genesis has nothing to do with procreating human beings and everything to do with being fruitful in our souls and multiplying and growing in the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Yes I am a born again Holy Spirit filled gay man and I love my husband with all my heart. We live a normal life just like any other hetrosexual couple out there because we understand who we are and that God loves us and made us in the image of God. So let people be and let people love who they want to love. its time to change that middle ages mindset of what marriage is all about.

  • Jasper the friendly kitten

    If marriage is good for society then it stands to reason that more people being able to get married will also be good for society.

    Marriage is good for gay men, it promotes fidelity and means that their relationships have a future, which makes them less likely to move from partner to partner. This will help stop the spread of AIDs.

    Gay marriage is good for heterosexuals because it means that they are less likely to be married to someone who is secretly gay and trying to hide it, who doesn’t really feel any attraction to them. The kind of marriages where one partner is hiding the truth about themselves from the other is not the kind that is healthy for society, it just promotes misery for both parties. It’s better for gay people to be married to each other and for straight people to be married to each other.

    Gay marriage is good news for children is care who need adopting, because it means there will be more stable partnerships around to care for them. Gay couples are more likely to adopt children with special needs or older children who find it difficult to be rehomed otherwise.

    No-one is trying to destroy marriage. It’s because marriage is a great institution with lots of benefits that gay people want to be able to get married to the ones they love.

  • Wayne Froese

    I am really fascinated by your concept of a marriage to produce children being for the good of a nation and I want to explore some questions it raises. When a couple cannot have children, exactly when should they divorce (because it is for the good of society and children)? How much of a public good does it provide to have a gay person marry a straight person? If a person doesn’t believe they should marry because they are gay, should our nation deport them for the public good? Is having 1 child enough to be a public good or should we have a qualifying minimum? How many gay people should not be married before my straight marriage is a public good? Shouldn’t we just force gay people to be Christian for the public good? If we disproportionately incarcerate black males, is it because their marriages were not going to be for the public good? If one spouse is good, could we have more public good if we allowed polygamy? If a spouse dies and you remarry, is that more or less public good? I am excited to learn what your new group will find when it researches these topics.

  • Oswald Carnes

    Wow. That worked out really well for you. Must be god’s judgment on ignorant bigot trash.