Rubio's Utilitarian Case for Traditional Marriage Dodges More Powerful, Controversial Approach

How many more social conservatives must we endure as they make the utilitarian case for traditional marriage, dodging the more frank, powerful and controversial biblical case, summarized thus: "God says."?

In Sen. Marco Rubio's recent speech at Catholic University, as my colleague Rodrigo Sermeño reports, Rubio defended "strong values for a strong America." But the senator connected these values only tangentially with the God who designed us and who sanctifies our relationships. He rested the weight of his argument upon the social sciences, history, conventional wisdom and stats about wealth and happiness.

Thousands of years of human history have shown that the ideal setting for children to grow up is with a mother and a father committed to one another, living together, and sharing the responsibility of raising their children. And since traditional marriage has such an extraordinary record of success at raising children into strong and successful adults, states in our country have long elevated this institution and set it apart in our laws.

This is what I mean by the utilitarian argument. Essentially, he says that marriage works, so the government should recognize it.

“I was taught certain values that led me to live my life in a sequence that has a proven track record of success. In America, if you get an education, find a good job, and wait until marriage to have children, your chances of achieving economic security and professional fulfillment are incredibly high,” Rubio said.

Rubio calls this the "success sequence," and attributes our moral decline to the "erosion of the success sequence."

But the truth is that the social and moral wellbeing of our people has a direct and consequential impact on their economic wellbeing.