Lawyer who defends marriage monogamy

Jun 4, 2022

We wrote recently about the mainstream media’s increasing criticism of monogamy as an outdated concept.

To get key insights on this I spoke recently with an academic regarded by many as one of the world’s leading experts on the law of marriage. Prof John Witte Jr. is a Harvard-educated lawyer and international expert on the intersection of law with faith, freedom and family.

We base our conversation around one of Prof Witte’s many books, The Western Case for Monogamy Over Polygamy. He says monogamy has been “the most expedient form of relationship for the long term” in both Western and non-Western civilisations. Over time and cultures, it has consistently led to best outcomes for healthy children, ordered inheritance, peaceful households, and avoids the consequences for wider society, of alpha males ‘hoarding spouses’.

Prof Witte highlights natural law arguments for monogamy. He explains how real marriage differs from serial monogamy (having one long-term partner followed by another), and same-sex partnerships.

Finally, given where we are, we explore how we should respond to conflicting ideologies and their challenges to free speech and religious freedom.

Prof Witte says that ‘the pendulum might swing back again’, but how far, and how long this takes, will depend on the extent to which people speak up and live up to their moral ideals. The Churches specifically, he says, “have not helped themselves”.

“The need to nudge and support the heterosexual monogamous family”, he says, “is something that pre-Christians, Christians and post-Christians alike, have endorsed for the good of society and for the better pursuit of justice”.

At C4M, we know that going forward, society will flourish only when it returns to honour lifelong monogamous marriage between one man and one woman.