Could these trend lines and weakening of social trust (standards and expectations) be related?
Is the logical endpoint of this trend a return to common law marriage?
Don’t most states still have common-law marriage, with a 7-years-of-cohabiting threshold?
Not that any relationship centered on today’s self-indulgent “leave when the magic is gone” dictum* is likely to make the 7-year mark… That’s 21 “gay-years”, that’s practically a lifetime!
* This wisdom brought to you by KCBS News 740, when one of their Churchladies of the Left (Susan Lee Taylor, possibly) asked a representative of the homosexual community, “What good advice can homosexuals give to heterosexuals, to improve the institution of marriage?”
I thought only a few states had common law marriage? If I recall correctly, there was a big movement to abolish it in the 19th century.
Things fall apart. The center cannot hold. Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world. The best lack all conviction while the worst are full of passionate intensity.
So… as women get older, their legs get longer and more of them get married! Neat!
Now let’s put some more useful facts about women on the graph…
– Poverty rate among women who have children out of wedlock, compared to poverty rate among married women who have children
– Likelihood of having two or more children (replacement rate), as a function of woman’s marriage age
– Money spent on fertility treatment per child born, as a function of the mother’s age
And some useful facts about children…
– Poverty rate of children born out of wedlock, compared to children born to a married mother and father
– Delinquency rate of children born out of wedlock, compared to children born to a married mother and father
– Academic performance of children born out of wedlock, compared to children born to a married mother and father
After we have a look at those numbers, let’s stop being quite so carefully neutral about the erosion of traditions of marriage.
Now is this a good thing? Why would any woman decide that there is no need to wait to have a child but that marriage can wait? Actually, severing the connection between marriage and procreation is a catastrophe. Same sex marriage ratifies and institutionalizes this disconnect.
I agree with the commenters above: severing marriage from childrearing is a dangerous thing. The nurture and acculturation of children is best accomplished in a stable two-parent household.
Now whether gay male or lesbian female couples (they are really two different animals) can do this as well and reliably as the biological parents of the children they raise is an open question. We have very little data.
Assuming gay marriage becomes a constitutional right, society might give thought to redefining the institution legally (in terms of its special privileges, rights, and responsibilities) to include only those unions where children are involved.
Why? Because it is easy to show that the state has a compelling interest in the nurture and acculturation of the next generation. The future of our particular form of civilization, including the perpetuation of its liberal values and institutions — which, at this point remain, unique in the world — cannot be accomplished in any other way.
A terrible human price was paid to make the modern world. We have a responsibility to our descendants to hand it on intact.