The president may have decided against it, but the defense of traditional marriage is being taken up by assorted other people who wield power. Here are two…

Out of many other notable efforts out there to make the case for the family as society’s foundation and building block, two crossed my path today while doing research and radio interviews.

An interview with the  president of the Chesterton Society can go absolutely anywhere on any subject, so brilliant was the ‘Apostle of Common Sense.’ But Dale Ahlquist and I talked in large part about Chesterton’s expressed beliefs about the family as the basis of civilization.

“Ideals,” says G.K. Chesterton, “are the most practical thing in the world.” This is why we still defend the family. This is why we insist on the ideal of marriage as a permanent union between one man and one woman, which creates the only proper setting for bringing new souls into the world, and that this purely natural act should not be interfered with.

The social trends have steadily moved in the opposite direction from this ideal in the last century. It is no longer a matter of a few loud critics getting a little testy at our quaint ideas of morality; we have gone past being attacked to being brazenly ignored. But if the society at large does not understand the moral arguments for the family, perhaps it will gain some appreciation for the practical arguments.

Good point. The moral argument has either been abandoned or morphed, but the practical is one a Chestertonian can make quite well.

An economy built on massive lending and spending cannot be sustained…An economy based on the family is self-sustaining…

Chesterton says that every high civilization decays by forgetting obvious things. The obvious things are the ordinary things, and we have forgotten them…

“The disintegration of rational society,” says Chesterton, “started in the drift from the hearth and the family; the solution must be a drift back.”

And some are moving that way. Congressional leadership picked up the baton the president decided to drop.

U.S. Speaker of the House John Boehner announced Wednesday that the House is initiating a legal defense of the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which defines marriage as the union of a man and a woman. The decision by the Obama administration last month to abandon defense of the law in several current lawsuits left the law without any legal defense.

“The American people deserve to have their laws defended. The House has stepped up to the plate where the Department of Justice has shirked its responsibility,” said Alliance Defense Fund Senior Counsel Brian Raum. “The House of Representatives has the legal authority to intervene in these lawsuits to defend the federal DOMA statute. Even though Congress passed it with overwhelming bipartisan support, the DOJ won’t defend it. That means that a rigorous defense by Congress is the best possible option.”

As Chesterton said

The obvious things are the ordinary things, and we have forgotten them. The modern world that we have created has brought with it great strain and stress so that even the things that normal men have normally desired are no longer desirable: “marriage and fair ownership and worship and the mysterious worth of man.”

The ADF has made it their mission “to protect and preserve religious liberty, the sanctity of life, marriage, and the family,” and they are on it. So are a great many Americans.

Voters in all 30 states that have sought to affirm marriage as one man and one woman in their state constitutions have overwhelmingly done so.

The debates and arguments will continue. May they all be reasoned.

Sheila Liaugminas

Sheila Liaugminas is an Emmy award-winning Chicago-based journalist in print and broadcast media. Her writing and broadcasting covers matters of faith, culture, politics and the media....