The Oct. 28 Local Opinions essay by Chrysovalantis P. Kefalas, “Marriage equality and the golden rule,” illustrated several of the fallacies in the arguments for redefining marriage.

Mr. Kefalas stated that civil marriage “confers to people basic respect and dignity.” Yet this is not the purpose of marriage. Instead, marriage exists as a public institution to encourage and regulate the particular relationship with the potential to provide particular public benefits — the natural reproduction of the human race and the raising of children by the mother and father who produce them.

This definition of marriage, rooted not in the teachings of any religion but in the biological order of nature, no more denies “respect,” “dignity” or “legitimacy” to Mr. Kefalas than it does to any other person who is single, cohabiting or living with a loved one whom he or she may not marry (such as a close relative).

Mr. Kefalas cited judges who recently ruled against the federal Defense of Marriage Act, but he failed to note that Maryland’s highest court has declared that “the State’s legitimate interests in fostering procreation and encouraging the traditional family structure in which children are born are related reasonably to” defining marriage as being between a man and a woman.

Peter Sprigg, Germantown

The writer is a senior fellow for policy studies at the Family Research Council in Washington.