Was it our CPTV debate where my opponent said she didn’t think marriage was in as dire straits as I did? I hope she’s reading the story on page A3 of today’s Courant:

Punctuating a fundamental change in American family life, married couples with children now occupy fewer than one in every four households – a share that has been slashed in half since 1960 and is the lowest ever recorded by the census.

As marriage with children becomes an exception rather than the norm, social scientists say it is also becoming the self-selected province of the college-educated and the affluent. The working class and the poor, meanwhile, increasingly steer away from marriage, while living together and bearing children out of wedlock.

With an increasing body of social science evidence demonstrating that children do best in a home with both their married mother and father this latest news is yet another blow to our nation’s most vulnerable citizens. And to some even more than others:

Marriage has declined across all income groups, but it has declined far less among couples who make the most money and have the best education. These couples are also less likely to divorce. Many demographers peg the rise of a class-based marriage gap to the erosion since 1970 of the broad-based economic prosperity that followed World War II.

It is all the more tragic that economic factors play a role in marriage’s decline among the poor since, as discussed here a few months ago, marriage itself is the “key to lifting Connecticut’s low-income children out of poverty.”

In light of this latest story we are especially pleased to note that the FIC-supported bill establishing a task force on fatherlessness was unanimously voted out of committee yesterday (the violent lyrics bill was not so fortunate). Watch for more information on what you can do to pass this important pro-family bill into law.

34 Responses to “Traditonal Families On the Ropes”

  1. on 07 Mar 2007 at 11:15 amSimon

    The numbers speak for themselves, I think. I think that most people realize that marriage is good for society, good for kids, good for the economy, etc. I can’t imagine that anyone looks at the statistics reported in the Courant without some pause. But I have a question. The story (and I’ll admit to not having read it but am borrowing from your summary) notes that the drop of in marriage is dramatically effecting the poor, not so much the well-to-do. This would suggest some socio-economic factors at play. Do you really think that the rather stark statistics are a product of the influence of gay marriage?

    I think most of us will agree on the importance and value of marriage (that, of course, is one of the reasons that the gay community would like to access its benefits). The point of departure is the cause of marriage being undermined in our society.

    Maybe, the real effort should not be expended in fighting gay marriage but in fighting for economic justice, fighting for living wages, fighting to reduce poverty, fighting for affordable health care, etc.

    Curious to hear your readers thoughts.

  2. on 07 Mar 2007 at 11:36 amGenghis Conn

    The solution? Stop gays from getting married! That’ll fix everything.

  3. on 07 Mar 2007 at 2:05 pmModernFemme

    Can we try not to be so knee-jerk juvenile around here GC? Poverty and class does have something to do with it. The poor have so many other obstacles to overcome in their life and their marriages – hunger, fear, depression, etc. – they need society to support the concept (through traditional marriage) that fathers really matter for something more than just their paycheck.

  4. on 07 Mar 2007 at 2:12 pmNaCN

    Your arguments reduce to this: The dike is weak and falling apart, so don’t bother trying to stop the leaks. Forget about it. Just pull your finger out.

  5. on 07 Mar 2007 at 2:27 pmSteve

    Maybe, the real effort should not be expended in fighting gay marriage but in fighting for economic justice, fighting for living wages, fighting to reduce poverty, fighting for affordable health care, etc.

    It is a real mess, isn’t it?

    A couple of quick points. First, it isn’t an either/or proposition. While we may disagree on the best way to go about it, we should be working towards all of those other things that you’ve listed. One can do what one can do, however. Why prioritize fighting gay marriage over the others? Because gay marriage represents a paradigm that stands marriage on its head. If marriage can be redefined to mean something that any group with the votes says it should be, then marriage is quite meaningless to begin with. Marriage is more than a collection of benefits, or mutual attraction. Yes, it is important to society that children be raised in the best environment possible; that is, with a mother and a father – and it does not profit society to promote novel alternatives to the family. If we agree that marriage has an “importance and value”, then it might behoove us to first understand exactly what that means to society before we boldly gut it with subjective sensibilities.

  6. on 07 Mar 2007 at 4:19 pmSimon

    NaCN, were you responding to my post? Confusing. It makes no sense, really. You said:

    “Your arguments reduce to this: The dike is weak and falling apart, so don’t bother trying to stop the leaks. Forget about it. Just pull your finger out. ”

    That is not at all what I am saying. To borrow your analogy, I am not saying pull your finger out of the dike, I am saying stop the leaks that matter.

    So, to the extent people claim that gay marriage undermines traditional marriage, and to the extent that this blog has offered evidence that traditional marriage is under greatest siege in our poorer communities, I am asking for someone to connect the dots with the negative influence of gay marriage.

    I am trying to ask an honest question and was hoping for an honest answer/debate, not some sophistry. ; )

  7. on 07 Mar 2007 at 7:10 pmmatt

    Thinking more generally about our society and government, taxes and public services are how we commit to one another — they’re the basis for the American family, if you will. Personally, I see anti-tax ideology as being fundamentally opposed to my view of what being “pro-family” means, and the narrow band of issues chosen by the conservative movement to represent one’s commitment to “the family” often seem more divisive than necessary.

    Earlier this week, I heard a white evangelical Fairfield County legislator speak about how we should consider Bridgeport “not just some city, but our city,” in the context of education spending. And this being surburbia, the reaction was mixed, but that seems to me the kind of moral issue that can reach across party lines and even across the range of religious and secular interests to really improve people’s lives.

    And really, is limiting access to birth control or keeping gay couples from marrying so much more important than helping kids and parents in poverty?

  8. on 07 Mar 2007 at 8:18 pmYawn

    The best way to increase marriage rates is to prevent people from getting married. Brilliant!

    This is why I love to watch the FIC. They are the best spokespeople for marriage equality. Just wind them up and let the entertainment begin!

  9. on 07 Mar 2007 at 8:49 pmDave

    To some degree, the institutions of marriage and family have been progressively damaged by the lack of shame that had previously been associated with socially undesirable conditions like out-of wedlock births. Perhaps the “free love” 60s marked the beginning of the annihilation of shame. But even if there is no bright line of demarcation to evidence the erosion of recognition for shame at a certain point in time, one needs only to look at our present day situation to review the damage impact.

    In decades past, people would have been ashamed and embarrassed by an out-of-wedlock birth, a divorce, or other matters best kept in private. Today we are the opposite end of the spectrum, with unmarried women gleefully announcing and trumpeting the births of their children. People don’t mind telling about how many partners they’ve slept with, or how many divorces they’ve had. Couples no longer see anything wrong with unmarried cohabitation. And it is we traditionalists, who look askance at these behaviors, who are made to feel as if we’re the ones with a problem!

    Just because something is legal does not make it morally right. But sadly as a society we have lost our moral compass. People have started to really buy into the misguided notion that their choice of lifestyle cannot possibly affect or hurt anyone else. They have overlooked the impact that their choices have on children, who may have to grow up without a mother or father, and upon our entire culture, which tends not to see marriage as a lifelong commitment … but more like something you can change when it gets out of style, like going shopping for new clothing.

    People have also developed a warped sense of self-esteem, which has virtually disconnected actions from consequences. Folks feel that they can do no wrong and that they have license to do as they please, without accountability. Anyone who dares to look critically upon their poor choices is labeled as myopic and bigoted.

    As to apparent economic correlation, you may want to take a closer look at the Rutgers’ Marriage Project report “State of Our Unions – 2006”. The true underlying difference may be educational. College-educated men and women have become more likely to marry, and stay married, while the opposite trend is occurring among less educated men and women. With this in mind, it is easy to see how an economic pattern would follow in the wake of this educational difference. Arguably those who have the ability to pursue such higher education will be imbued with a better sense of self-examination and more thoughtful consideration of their life decisions. They are more likely to see clearly the cause and effect relationship, and consequently tend toward more pragmatic and socially responsible actions.

    With this in mind, perhaps we need to consider what has changed in our educational system at the elementary and high school level during the past few decades. A closer look at this may help to reveal why society has lost its collective moral compass. I have a feeling that you will find the missing ingredient is a lack of training our youth in moral values, because this was purged from the educational system back in the 60s in the zeal to eliminate any trace of religious influence.

  10. on 07 Mar 2007 at 9:37 pmchele

    I don’t believe thoughtful and observant people needed a(nother) study telling us that the declining socio-economic situation in the U.S. is wreaking havoc on families of all configurations.

    It is interesting that this blog, which states that its main focus is the family, has not addressed any concrete issues facing families nationally and/or in Connecticut.

    Certainly a family in which both parents have to work more than one job to make ends meet is a family at risk. Even if they do have the “correct” mommy and daddy it isn’t going to matter a hill of beans if mommy and daddy are either at work or sleeping most of the time.

    A family walking a tightrope with no safety net, where one illness, one broken down car, one cutback in work hours means the loss of everything, is not a strong healthy family.

    What was your stand on the Federal minimum wage law? What is your stance on unions and collective bargaining?
    What about safe, affordable day care for working parents?
    Job training?
    Student loans?
    Keeping/bringing jobs in/to the state?

    Connecticut is beginning a discussion on the best way to achieve universal health care. This issue is of HUGE importance to families. What does FIC think about the various proposals and ideas? Where does FIC stand?

    Any of those things has more impact on families than billboards. Any of those things has more impact on traditional families than whether same gender couples can marry.

    Yet, in going through the archives, I don’t see any of those issues affecting family life mentioned.

    Approximately 90% of this blog talks about sex in one way or another — who should have it, who shouldn’t have it, how they should have it, with whom, what to do when people have been forced to have it, who’s selling things with which to enhance it, how enhancing is bad, who might see a billboard that makes them think about it, thinking about it is bad (although blogging about it is okay), what sex is for, what its not for, etc. Approximately 8% deals with how the media and most people don’t agree with FIC’s outlook on sex and religion, and desire to force people to live by it. All legislation that FIC supports deals with … sex.

    So far as I can see, you’re using religion as a front for an ultra-conservative socio-economic agenda that is actually quite detrimental to the average family in America.

  11. on 08 Mar 2007 at 7:21 amGenghis Conn

    Chele is absolutely correct–the FIC isn’t about families and their actual problems at all, but instead is concerned with mule-headed Focus on the Family-style religious conservatism and social engineering.

    The problems faced by families are serious. Lousy education, absent fathers, economic uncertainty and inadequate health care are just a few of the problems. The FIC has not made much of a move to help alleviate any of these problems. They are not a serious organization.

    Until they join the debate in a substantive way instead of throwing petty insults and loaded language at people they deem to be liberal, the Hartford Courant, anyone who is pro-choice and others, they don’t deserve to be taken seriously.

  12. on 08 Mar 2007 at 7:29 amPeter

    From a comment I posted in the Darfur thread on Dec. 22:

    Pro-family/pro-lifers will find in Genghis’ comment the echo of a familiar criticism frequently lobbed at them: “Why focus on abortion or same-sex ‘marriage’ when you should be feeding the poor, aiding the homeless, etc?” But the Catholics and Evangelicals who make up the bulk of our membership are doing many of these things. If Love Makes a Family is running soup kitchens and homeless shelters, I haven’t heard about it. Seems to be they’re the ones who are about “single issue” politics. It’s also no coincidence that those asking us to turn our attention from abortion and same-sex “marriage” are usually the same folks who actively support those things. I’m sure they would like us to get out of their way. Here’s my counter-suggestion to them: stop supporting the legal destruction of the unborn and the redefinition of marriage and after we restore legal protection to the unborn and pass a federal marriage amendment we pro-lifers will be happy to turn more of our energy to other causes. Any takers on the Left? I didn’t think so…

    What we’re truly “guilty” of–in the eyes of the Left, anyway–is pushing back instead of just rolling over and saying “hey, whatever radical new thing you’ve cooked up is fine with us; we won’t resist.”

  13. on 08 Mar 2007 at 8:14 ammatt

    Look, if a Democrat was pro-choice and anti-worker, I’d be against them. Us lefties aren’t afraid to chuck a legislator overboard from time to time.

    Conservative Republicans tend to oppose abortion, but also favor radical economic policies that burden the poor. Why would you encourage people to support them?

    The article you reference here makes the case that the working class and the poor are finding it increasingly difficult to keep a coherent family together due primarily to economic pressures. But the FIC is focusing on sex issues, as if gay marriages harm heterosexual relationships more than crippling poverty does.

    For example, my legislator proposed a cut in the state income tax, and I got in his face about it. Why are you guys helpless to do the same to conservative officeholders about their anti-family economic policies?

  14. on 08 Mar 2007 at 8:48 ammatt

    Here’s an example: Julio Morales (I’m sure you guys are fans) endorsing Ned Lamont last year –

    “I support Ned Lamont because he opposes the war, and because he supports universal healthcare, full civil rights and equality for the LGBT community, and a host of other policy initiatives that will directly benefit Connecticut and the rest of the nation.

    There’s an example of someone making an endorsement not just because of LGBT issues alone, but on a raft of issues that point to a bigger vision of social justice.

    Yes, everyone has their voting issues, and some people would probably rather poor people go hungry than lesbians get married. But there’s nothing stopping you from supporting healthcare *and* opposing same-sex marriage, is there?

    I’d be very interested to hear an FIC economic agenda in part because Connecticut conservatives have traditionally been different from the larger conservative movement: surely your views are somewhat different than the Focus on the Family / FRC stereotypes, but I think you suffer from keeping such a limited focus. And also, there was a time when FIC talked extensively about education policy, so it’s hardly that you’re unable to expand your horizons…

  15. on 08 Mar 2007 at 10:19 amSteve

    if a Democrat was pro-choice and anti-worker, I’d be against them.

    And if a Democrat was pro-life and pro-worker, I’d be for them. Would you? Why aren’t there any? (Well, I shouldn’t say any, but you can count them on your fingers.) It’s kinda hard to support a candidate/party/philosophy in government that doesn’t exist.

    Peter hit the nail on the head. If all these other issues are so much more important to the left than “sex issues”, then the solution is simple: Stop pushing for radical changes in marriage and stop killing unborn children. If you guys on the left would stop initiating & pushing for all this nutty stuff, then we on the right will stop our opposition. Simple. Then we all could spend more time and energy on these other problems. (Just think what we could do, too…) Indeed, the problems facing the family are serious. Why then are you attempting to further complicate the matter by performing yet another crazy liberal social experiment on the next generation? Stop already.

  16. on 08 Mar 2007 at 12:04 pmmatt

    You guys keep redirecting: it’s almost that you’re ashamed to discuss your own choices, and can only attack. Pity.

    That you can justify away the suffering of the poor shows why liberal folks find your christian moral values paper-thin. I just don’t think a blastocyst has a soul, but a 5 year old is pretty uncontroversially a person. You wouldn’t know it from listening to you guys though.

  17. on 08 Mar 2007 at 1:08 pmmatt

    And if a Democrat was pro-life and pro-worker, I’d be for them. Would you? Why aren’t there any?

    It’s an ongoing debate, but the Dem caucus on the federal level is more consistently pro-worker than pro-choice. Notable pro-lifers include new Senator Bob Casey and of course Majority Leader Harry Reid.

    When given a choice between Casey and Santorum, whose primary difference was on economic and labor issues, Dems went pretty enthusiastically for Casey. Casey also won a primary against well-regarded but ultimately losing candidate Chuck Pennachio, who was pro-choice and pro-worker.

    I showed you mine, now show me yours 🙂

  18. on 08 Mar 2007 at 1:51 pmSteve


    You haven’t quite mastered the art of spin – or redirection. Just how exactly do we “justify away the suffering of the poor?” Also, kindly tell me how all the Christian charities, soup kitchens and the like fit into that justification. And while you’re at it, explain to me how it was more charitable to force a catholic adoption agency to choose between renouncing their faith and closing their doors. Perhaps you can also tell me how you guys are doing more by way of charity?

    Can we all do more? Certainly. But what’s paper-thinly apparent is your attempt to create red herrings.

  19. on 08 Mar 2007 at 2:34 pmSteve

    I showed you mine, now show me yours

    (Hey… I like that blockquote tag. I hope it worked…)

    If by “mine” you mean republican, then you’re barking up the wrong tree. There are fewer and fewer good candidates in either party to vote for, especially here in CT. On National elections I generally vote Republican, but I do it holding my nose. This past election I voted for exactly one Republican (holding my nose.)

    Calling Harry Reid pro-life is like calling Lieberman conservative. Up til 2001 he had a perfect record with NARAL. Since then he’s voted against partial-birth abortion and a couple of other things. Hardly pro-life. The jury is still out on Casey.

  20. on 08 Mar 2007 at 9:36 pmDave

    Recently some folks posting here have intimated that we traditionalists don’t sufficiently demonstrate our Christian compassion. They say we don’t care enough about reducing poverty, ensuring adequate healthcare for citizens of all economic backgrounds, etc.

    Well this may come as a surprise to you, so hang onto your hats.

    Syracuse University professor Arthur C. Brooks, a behavioral economist, has been studying charitable giving for 10 years. He recently published his findings, which he personally found as quite a surprise. Indeed, he wrote, “These are not the sort of conclusions I ever thought I would reach when I started looking at charitable giving” and “I have to admit I probably would have hated what I have to say in this book”.

    What is the big surprise? The book, entitled “Who Really Cares: The Surprising Truth About Compassionate Conservatism”, reports that conservatives who practice religion and live in traditional nuclear families are the most generous Americans, by any measure. Moreover, his studies reveal that secular liberals give far less to charity.

    Professor Brooks writes: “For too long, liberals have been claiming they are the most virtuous members of American society. Although they usually give less to charity, they have nevertheless lambasted conservatives for their callousness in the face of social injustice.”

    If you are interested in exploring his findings in greater depth, hop on over to

    Here are a few samples from the results he’s compiled:

    * Conservative households in America donate 30% more money to charity each year than liberal households.

    * This is not just because of giving to churches—religious people are more generous than secularists towards explicitly non-religious charities as well.

    * A religious person is 57% more likely than a secularist to help a homeless person.

    Of course, there is a lot more to be said on this subject, and Professor Brooks does it quite well in his book. Sadly I expect the reaction among some liberals is likely to be nothing more than the first 3 words of the book’s title … who really cares?

  21. on 08 Mar 2007 at 10:55 pmchele

    Peter and Steve,

    We were not addressing acts of charity and human kindness. Whatsoever either of you do or don’t do unto the least of your brothers is of no concern to me — your souls are your own problem.

    What we are attempting to discuss here is how FIC supports, or does not support, legislation on the wide range of issues that are of great importance to the welfare of familes in Connecticut, the United States, and perhaps even the world.

    You claim that your main concern is the family. You post a thread about economic factors harming families. People point out that you NEVER address socio-economic issues that affect families; you are fixated on sexual issues.

    I asked where FIC stands on unions, job training, student loans, safe affordable day care, universal health care, job creation/retention — all issues of huge importance to healthy families.

    Peter replies with something completely unrelated about soup kitchens and homeless shelters, a rant against Love Makes a Family, and a slavering attack on “the left.”

    Matt answers Steve’s challenge and names pro-life liberal politicians — and Steve goes off on an unrelated tangent which he hopes will cover that he hasn’t answered Matt’s questions to him.

    So we’re at an impasse.
    FIC apparently has no opinion on health care for families, job security for families, safe care for children or anything affecting famlies that doesn’t relate to sex.

    FIC can’t seem to discuss the economic issues adversely affecting families today. Or won’t.

    They’d rather legislate billboards and song lyrics.

    Guys, THIS is why you have no credibility.

  22. on 09 Mar 2007 at 6:31 amSteve

    …you are fixated on sexual issues.

    I’m simply amazed (but not surprised.) The left is pushing to radically alter marriage, has made abortion legal from conception to birth, teaches “sex-ed” to children in grammar school – including indoctrination in the homosexual agenda among various other juicy sexual tidbits, promotes “safe sex” among kids, has homosex conferences and seminars promoting and teaching adolescents how to “perform” with each other or by themselves (paid for with tax dollars no less) – and the list goes on and on and on… We step back and say that these kind of things aren’t good for children, families and society – and we’re the ones fixated on sexual issues? Puh-lease. Get a grip, my friends. We’re reacting to your fixations. Not the other way around.

    As for the rest of your post chele, I’ll try to respond later as time permits.

  23. on 09 Mar 2007 at 6:49 amModernFemme

    FIC must be involved heavily in the social issues in Connecticut because by supporting stable families, we improve all the other issues that affect children: poverty, healthcare, education, etc. Besides, criticizing FIC for not choosing other topics, is a cheap debating point. It draws attention away from the original topic of the blog entry, which you lefty bloggers (snore) seldom address intellectually or seriously.

  24. on 09 Mar 2007 at 7:08 ammatt

    Sure, Dave. I’d buy that conservatives give somewhat more to charity.

    But you either think that it’s a society-wide commitment, or something that should be at the whimsy of people with disposable income.

    Personal virtue isn’t a social safety net. Just ask residents of the ninth ward, or troops without body armor in Iraq, or families forced to choose between medical treatments or their homes. Those tragedies are the real consequences of the system conservatives have built.

    Conservatives might put more in the collection plate, but your empathy doesn’t extend past your line of sight.

  25. on 09 Mar 2007 at 7:35 ammatt

    Modern Femme, so its gays and lesbians that are keeping us from universal healthcare?

    Wow, Love Makes a Family is sure going to hear from me on that one. I bet they’re the ones that took all the needed textbooks out of the urban schools, too. I wouldn’t be surprised if they were keeping the minimum wage down as well.

    I used to think Republicans were responsible for all that, because, you know, they always vote against those things. Turns out it’s just the big rainbow anti-family conspiracy striking again.

  26. on 09 Mar 2007 at 8:43 amModernFemme

    Matt, if you think any one group is responsible for all the ills of society, then you are quite simple minded.

  27. on 09 Mar 2007 at 10:43 pmSteve

    First off chele, except for the fact that you’re wrong, your mind reading abilities would be most impressive. Fact is I did answer Matt’s question. Even though liberals try to make Harry the poster child of diverse thought in the Democratic Party, Harry Reid isn’t pro-life. So much for diversity. Matt may have a point about Casey, I’ll concede. He may be the exception, for the most part. If he ever gets the chance, we’ll see how he votes now that he’s in Washington. Regardless, I also said that there aren’t many good candidates on either side of the aisle. How is that avoiding his question? Would you rather that I make something up? Cut me some slack there, tootsie. 😉

    About family issues: I can’t speak for FIC, but I can tell you that there are a growing number of people who are very grateful for the work that they do. Sure there are many challenges facing the family, just as there are many people and groups doing their best to address those issues, and we do our best to support them. They all have their niche. But as I said in a previous post, one can do what one can do. It seems to me that FIC is using their limited resources toward the most pressing issues of the day – and your side dictated what today’s issue is, not ours. You guys set up the ring, put on the gloves and rang the bell. Quit acting so offended if we land a jab or two. If you really do believe that all these other issues are more important than gay marriage, then lets all put that issue aside and work on some of those other issues instead. Any takers? (No, I won’t hold my breath.) Why are you pushing so hard for it when all these other injustices are not being addressed? Hmmmmm? Could it be that you guys also think that gay marriage (you know, one of those “sexual issues”) is a very important issue? Obviously it’s even more important to you guys than your laundry list of issues since it’s taking precedence in the legislature, and you’re supporting the priority.

    Lastly, I just wanted to emphasize something you said:

    Whatsoever either of you do or don’t do unto the least of your brothers is of no concern to me — your souls are your own problem.

    Ah yes. Liberal gospel. You should put that on a plaque. Right next to:

    Am I my brothers keeper?

  28. on 09 Mar 2007 at 10:53 pmchele

    Modern Femme #23,

    Please explain EXACTLY, with examples, how FIC opposing marriage equality improves education, healthcare, and decreases poverty. Will it also make the trains run on time?

    FYI, the original topic of this blog entry was a study about the decline of marriage among the working class and the poor. And we are drawing attention to FIC’s failure to address the economic factors that affect marriages. So, we’re pretty much on topic here.

    And every time I see your nickname, it amuses me no end.

  29. on 10 Mar 2007 at 9:23 ammatt

    If you really do believe that all these other issues are more important than gay marriage, then lets all put that issue aside and work on some of those other issues instead. Any takers? (No, I won’t hold my breath.)

    I had never considered it previously, but I actually don’t know how any of my legislators — state rep, state senator, US Congress or US Senate voted on civil unions (or DOMA in the 90s.) It’s not a voting issue for me, though obviously I’d prefer to be represented by legislators favoring marriage equality.

  30. on 10 Mar 2007 at 10:02 amDave


    You continue to imply that marriage is a disconnected, independent issue, which is isolated from other concerns such as education, healthcare and income. I suppose that is because we see its importance for a different vantage point. Apparently you feel that marriage is just another choice, and just another among the many issues faced by government. We feel it is intimately and inextricably connected with many other aspects of our lives, because family is the fundamental building block of civilization.

    OK, let’s take a look at the specific concerns you’ve raised. How is defending the family helping in aiding the societal interests in education, healthcare and income?

    1. Education

    Children living with two parents perform better in school and are less likely to drop out. They have higher test scores and grade point averages and are more likely to go to college. Later in life, they have better jobs, higher incomes, and lower unemployment rates.

    You can learn more about this in “”Family Structure and Child Well-Being: Economic Resources versus Parental Behaviors”, a study by Elizabeth Thompson, T. L. Hanson and S. S. McLanahan.

    2. Healthcare

    According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), married people are, in general, in better health than those who are divorced, widowed, never-married, or living with a partner. They are also less likely to suffer from health conditions like back pain, headaches, and serious psychological distress. Married people are also less likely to smoke, drink heavily, and be physically inactive.

    Even in the early 1970s, an unusual pattern in life span data began to appear: married people tended to live longer than their single, divorced, and widowed counterparts. Scientific and medical studies have continued to focus on the pathway leading from the marital relationship to physical health. And this “marriage benefit” is still seen today, as married people are consistently less likely to have surgery and to die from all causes including stroke, cancer, heart attacks, pneumonia, and accidents. In fact, the evidence has revealed that middle-aged men are about twice as likely to die if they are unmarried!

    Moreover, a wide body of social science literature confirms that marriage is a powerful protector of public health. Children raised by their own two married parents live longer, have fewer illnesses and accidents, and enjoy better health than children raised outside of intact marriages.

    3. Income

    Data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (NLSY) reveals that marriage plays a powerful role in lifting children out of poverty. Nearly 80 percent of long-term child poverty occurs to children raised in some type of broken family or by a parent who never married. A particularly compelling finding of the study is that a child raised by a never-married mother is nine times more likely to live in poverty than a child born and raised by two parents in an intact marriage!

    To learn more about scientific findings on the significance or marriage, I would encourage you to read “Why Marriage Matters: 26 Conclusions from the Social Sciences”. This report was produced by a politically diverse and interdisciplinary group of leading family scholars, and they overwhelmingly report that:

    1. Marriage is an important social good, associated with an impressively broad array of positive outcomes for children and adults alike.

    2. Marriage is an important public good, associated with a range of economic, health, educational, and safety benefits that help local, state, and federal governments serve the common good.

    3. The benefits of marriage extend to poor and minority communities, despite the fact that marriage is particularly fragile in these communities.

    With all this in mind, we ought to be uplifting families with government programs that support and encourage them. And yet the marriage statistics continue to decline among certain demographic groups. Perhaps we should take a look at the anti-family tax code which has existed since the 1960s, thanks to changes initiated by radical feminists and extreme leftist Democrats. Since that time, we have labored under an oppressive tax burden that unfairly targets families. In fact, the federal tax burden on the income of the average family with children has gone from 3% in 1948 to almost 25%. Naturally, once our government began to rely on this extra source of revenue, it has been very difficult to unwind these changes. Some folks may have forgotten this, but just a few decades ago it was possible to support a family on a single income. Mom and Dad didn’t both have to leave the home and work to make ends meet. Many factors contributed to the changes we have witnessed as it relates to a “living wage”. The relationship of supply and demand certainly played a role, with the entry of so many persons to the workforce that the level of “real income” earned by that labor commensurately decreased. But we need to seriously consider that one of the biggest economic impacts to the family in these past decades has been a catastrophic increase in their tax burden. Changing our government policy in this area, to support families instead of burying them under a crushing financial burden, would go a long way towards indirectly solving the problems of unwed mothers, unmarried cohabitation, and their related difficulties in education, healthcare and poverty.

    In the end, however, even if we disagree about the proper definition of marriage, I believe that the issues of education, healthcare, and poverty are universal concerns that are held by all members of society. As such, I wouldn’t look to either FIC or LMF to champion these causes. Married or not, we all benefit from an educated, healthy, and economically thriving populace. These are issues to be addressed at large through the ordinary mechanisms of government and public policy. We focus specifically on defending the traditional definition of marriage because the Left has chosen to make this issue our battleground. Just as you have freedom of speech to attempt to influence public policy in this matter, so too do we. At least we have the decency to debate the issue in a respectful manner, without categorizing our opponents as bigoted and hateful.

  31. on 10 Mar 2007 at 3:12 pmchele

    No Steve, I don’t consider marriage separate from other social concerns. The point we are making is that FIC seemingly does, as FIC does not support (or even discuss) legislation on socio-economic issues that affect families.

    FIC is ONLY concerned with homosexuals, contraception, abortion and, apparently, adult stores.

  32. on 10 Mar 2007 at 9:36 pmDave

    To imply that FIC is only concerned with defending against the LGBT agenda is to completely misrepresent the truth. It is only one aspect of their broader mission.

    FIC has supported parental rights, religious liberty, and protecting children from harm. Something you may not have seen (since you are focused solely on discrediting them) is their outreach via speaking engagements in which they have inspired people to work on saving their marriages instead of divorcing; and where they have encouraged especially fathers to fulfill their critically-needed role in nurturing their children.

    There is much more to FIC than just this blog, and much more than just lobbying in Hartford.

    Perhaps the reason you don’t see this is because so much of the other activity occurs in the communities of faith that you regard as irrelevant from your secular world-view.

  33. on 11 Mar 2007 at 6:14 ammatt

    Dave, we get that – the question at hand is why economic matters are off the table for determining the nature of FIC’s “pro-family agenda”, when articles like the one at the top of this thread show that economics are supremely relevant to the functioning of families, and when so many tangential-at-best issues (like regulation of bible colleges, just as one example) are on the list.

  34. on 12 Mar 2007 at 10:46 amPeter

    Responding to every error of our opponents in this and the “Teen Forum” thread would take all day. But I’ll hit the highlights:

    1) Chele, it’s irrelevant that your question mentioned “healthcare,” etc and my response from the Darfur thread referenced “soup kitchens” etc. My response attacks the underlying premises of your question: that FIC should be doing X instead of Y and that our not doing X indicates a lack of compassion/interest in other issues families face. It is revealing, though, that the lefties in these threads seem to think the solution for those other issues relies entirely on government action while the conservatives are referencing charitable endeavors.

    2) Lefty commenters also seem to presume that it matters to us whether FIC is “taken seriously” or has “credibility” in your eyes. It doesn’t. Happily, FIC’s success will not depend on whether we can persuade the liberals in our comboxes…many of whom seem beyond persuading.

    3) But hey, maybe we should care. After all, the Catholic Church’s opposition to the death penalty and support for the left position on a host of other issues bought them so much credibility with liberals that the Left called off efforts to force Plan B on Catholic hospitals and…oh, wait. That didn’t happen, did it?

    4) Liberal commenters in these threads also seem to assume that the left position on economics is the only just one. They seem to be saying to FIC: we can disagree on abortion and gay “marriage,” but surely we can all agree on opposing “anti-tax ideology” etc.? This gets the hierarchy of issues exactly backwards. On economics people can and do disagree on the means for achieving just ends for our fellow man. But the social issues are more about the ends that a society is pursuing…and a society that disagrees over ends is in far more trouble than one that merely disagrees over the means for pursuing an agreed-upon end. We can disagree about universal health care or tax hikes, but that the unborn should not be killed and marriage should not be redefined ought to be beyond dispute.

    5) My original post highlighted the economic part of the article cited in order to remind readers that marriage itself is the best program for getting out of poverty. Liberal responses ignored that point and focused entirely on economics–understood as supporting or opposing various government actions. Again, as with my first point above, their responses are unintentionally revealing.

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