We Still Need Dads | Opinion

"We still need dads." It's a simple, poignant and human statement that shouldn't be controversial. Dads are 50 percent biologically responsible for every baby that has ever been born, but they're so much more.

Today is Father's Day. It's not just a day to celebrate "Parent One" or "Parent Two." We celebrate fathers because we understand that they're not dispensable, replaceable or interchangeable. No one quite fills dad's shoes—not a second mom or a live-in boyfriend. Government programs can pay the bills. Single moms do heroic work. Teachers, coaches and pastors mentor and fill the gaps. But when dad is gone, we feel his absence.

For Ryan, "dad" is the amazing man who modeled love, devotion, dependability, integrity, compassion, humor and unwavering faith. While Ryan doesn't share his dad's DNA, he does cherish the man who trans-racially adopted him and nine others—the man who provided for and loved them, all along with his three biological children.

And John looks to his dad because he taught him how to play, care for others, think, love, provide and find God's will in all things. John enjoys sitting down and talking to his dad about faith, politics, sports, law and the world just as much today as when he was growing up.

Some say that it's simply two (or one or three) stable, loving adults that matter. But that's not reality. According to the 2018 U.S. Census Bureau report on poverty, single female-led homes are 5.3 times more impoverished than two-parent married homes. Children who lack an involved dad in their life experience higher high school dropout rates, higher usage of drugs, two-times higher rates of suicide, seven-times higher instances of teenage pregnancy, higher incarceration rates, higher instances of violent crime, higher rates of abuse and neglect (typically by live-in boyfriends who are not the biological parent), higher abortion rates, lower college graduation rates and lower employment rates. There are faces, names and stories behind all these numbers. We need our fathers and miss them when they're gone.

Nature and God reveal that we are all created male or female. Every human being has a fully functioning circulatory system, digestive system and nervous system before we're even born. But we only ever possess half of a reproductive system. There is a profound and mysterious beauty when a man and woman unite in a permanent and exclusive marriage bond. Their selfless love for each other isn't just a beautiful emotion or a passing feeling. That conjugal bond is so vital and so momentous that the love it reflects requires its own unique names—"daughters" and "sons."

U.S. Supreme Court building
U.S. Supreme Court building Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Unfortunately, the U.S. Supreme Court has taken an active and destructive role in rewriting this human script. In the Court's 2015 decision, Obergefell v. Hodges, the majority stripped Americans of our freedom to debate and decide marriage policy through the democratic process. They decided for everyone that marriage is not about dads, moms and children, but simply an opportunity for consenting adults to share an emotional connection and "express their identity."

On Monday, the Court deepened the damage in Bostock v. Clayton County, retroactively redefining what "sex" means in federal law. While the law in question clearly indicated that "sex" referred to being male or female, the Court decided it now also encompassed sexual orientation (who we love) and gender identity (how we feel about our sexuality).

Why does this matter? The law is powerful; it "teaches" society. In Obergefell and Bostock, the Court taught Americans that sex and life-giving marriages are irrelevant to who we are as humans. Instead of fighting cultural stereotypes—defending an athletic girl who wants to play baseball, or a sensitive boy who prefers pink shirts—the Court taught children that the girl must actually be a boy and the boy must be a girl. And the Court ignored the reality that children who try and change their sex endure many long-term mental-health problems, an increased suicide rate and permanent infertility.

The Court has also taught our culture that parents are interchangeable, and that a mom or dad is dispensable. Together with the Court's previously fabricated right to abort an unborn child, these judicially imposed policies are undermining the American family and snuffing out future children. It shouldn't surprise anyone that there are fewer marriages and less children born today than at any time in our country's history. And at a moment when Americans are blessed with more prosperity and technology to make us happier than any civilization that has ever existed, we experience more depression and higher suicide rates.

Ideas have consequences. Bad ideas have victims. The U.S. Supreme Court has repeatedly victimized American families and children by redefining relationships and pretending that dads don't matter. They still do. And no court can erase this truth.

Ryan Bomberger is an Emmy Award-winning creative professional, international public speaker, columnist, and founder of the nonprofit Radiance Foundation. He's the author of Not Equal: Civil Rights Gone Wrong and a happily married father of four home-schooled children, two of whom were adopted.

John Bursch is senior counsel and vice president of appellate advocacy with Alliance Defending Freedom. John has argued 12 U.S. Supreme Court cases (including Obergefell and the Harris decision bundled with Bostock) and more than 30 state supreme court cases since 2011. He is a happily married father of five children.

The views expressed in this article are the writers' own.