We shouldn’t expect non-Christians to do things for Christian reasons. However, we can expect, for example, economic conservatives to do things for economically conservative reasons. (By “economic conservative,” I mean a conservative who wants to distinguish himself from social – or religious – conservatives.)
I was at a business dinner not too long ago and the person across from me – a political conservative – opined that if other conservatives would keep religion out of political discussions, then conservatism would do much better with the public. The problem with this is that practically the only people objecting to the redefinition of marriage these days are religious people doing so for religious reasons. And marriage has everything to do with economics.
You see, raising an infant to adulthood is a very expensive and time-consuming operation. If one or both of the two people who produced that infant don’t stick around to finish the job, that portion of the cost is going to fall to taxpayers. Moreover, orphans and children of single parents are empirically proven to have more behavioral problems which, sooner or later, leads to increased law enforcement and associated costs as well. Therefore, it’s an economic bargain for society to offer incentives for child-producers to be the continuing caretakers of those children.
Conversely, why should society offer tax benefits to couples who cannot possibly produce a human being? If such people want to spend their lives together, so be it, but society has no interest and no responsibility to subsidize romances.
Over 40% of children coming into the world these days, at least in America, are coming into single-parent households. Who is going to bear the costs of these children that the single parent (almost always a female) cannot afford? Society. This will be in the form of food stamps and other tax incentives and payments. And the costs are eventually going to be more than society can afford, if they’re not already.
Economic conservatives should realize that out-of-wedlock births are going to bankrupt the country. As the nation’s debt approaches $20 trillion, I wonder how many more trillions it will take before they realize this? No, children are not the only reason that the debt keeps rising, but economic conservatives are supposed to appreciate all the drivers of government fiscal policy, and dependents are a very big part of it.
Economic conservatives, therefore, are acting against their own stated interests when they acquiesce to an expansion of marriage benefits to people who can’t produce children at a time when the real economic problem is that the number of children needing government support because of non-existent or crumbling marriages is rising.