John Stossel, host of Fox Business Network's Stossel, on Thursday challenged NOM's Brian Brown on gay marriage.

Brown, the president of the National Organization for Marriage (NOM), the country's most vociferous opponent of gay marriage, and nationally syndicated columnist David Harsanyi, a self-described libertarian, were Stossel's guests on the segment.

“It is a mistake to allow government to define what marriage should be, gay or not. It should get out of the business of defining marriage at all and let people – it's not a public good, it's a private relationship that people should engage in without government,” Harsanyi told Stossel to the delight of the audience.

Brown disagreed, insisting that marriage is “a public good.”

“The state's interest in marriage is that this is the institution by which we create stable families where kids can be connected … to both their mother and their father.”

“So what we've seen in states that have gone in this direction – we see things like attempts to recognize three parents, because there is a biological father and two mothers. So what we see is a total deconstruction of marriage.”

“So what?” Stossel asked.

“Well, because deconstructing marriage is a very bad idea,” he answered, then added that broken families result in higher rates of incarceration and juvenile delinquency.

Harsanyi noted that none of that undermines his marriage.

“Well, marriage is not a creation of the state. The state should support what is true and good and beautiful. It's true and good and beautiful that marriage is the union of a man and a woman,” Brown responded, giving the audience a good chuckle.

“I don't want the state deciding what is good and beautiful,” Stossel said to encouraging applause from the audience. (The video is embedded in the right panel of this page.)

(Related: Brian Brown suggests gay marriage will “normalize pedophilia.”)