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Old 01-07-2011, 08:08 PM   #31
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Old 03-10-2011, 03:08 PM   #32
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Traditional marriage is dead. Let's celebrate | Jill Filipovic | Comment is free | guardian.co.uk

It's finally time to ring the death knell for traditional marriage. Last week, the Obama administration released a comprehensive report on the status of American women, the first of its kind since 1963. The results are mixed. They have made substantial gains in education but still make 80 cents to a man's dollar, are more likely than men to live in poverty, and are more likely to be stalked or killed by intimate partners. The report also sheds light on the status of the American family – a social unit that has been remade by social liberalism. Conservatives are right: traditional marriage is under attack. But the assault isn't just from gay men and lesbians who want the right to enter into marriages of their own. Heterosexual Janes and Johns are also reshaping holy matrimony: they're marrying later, they're marrying less, and for reasons other than having children. And it's making them (and their kids) happier and healthier.

The average age of marriage for a college-educated woman today is 30 (for a college-educated man, 31). Women without a high-school diploma typically marry at 26. Back in 1950, the average marriage age was 21; now that's right about the time that more women than ever are awarded their undergraduate degrees. Marriage for the middle class in America was then a fairly simple financial arrangement: husband worked to support the family, wife cared for the children and the home. It wouldn't be the worst system if all human beings were worker bees without individual interests and passions. But because some women are interested in the world beyond cooking dinners and changing diapers, and some men don't want to spend their whole lives in offices or factories and instead want to get to know their kids, marriage evolved.

Conservatives, of course, want to ride this thing until the wheels fall off. Never mind that the 1950s-style "traditional family" that they so wholly exhort isn't actually all that "traditional" in the long history of marriage, where women were given away as property from fathers to husbands. Back then, women in many states couldn't open their own bank accounts. Until recently, there were no laws against marital rape, and domestic violence was viewed as a private matter and not one for legal intervention. People who fell outside of rigid gender roles or were poor, non-white or disabled didn't live in Leave It To Beaver fantasyland. Women who had children outside of marriage were whisked away to private homes where their babies were taken from them and put up for adoption; children with disabilities were institutionalised; non-white citizens were routinely barred from political participation and discriminated against with impunity; significantly more children and elderly people lived in poverty than today; and physical and sexual abuse of children was rarely investigated.

Thanks to increased gender equality hastened in no small part by the advent of the birth control pill and the legalisation of abortion, families are better off across the board. Mothers today spend more time with their children than they did in 1965, the height of the female-homemaker family. Fathers also spend more time (and more quality time) with their children than ever before. Working outside the home has mental health benefits: women who work have a higher sense of social competence and lower rates of depression than women who don't. And with sole-breadwinner obligations increasingly loosened, men are freer to take on non-traditional roles as caring dads and attentive husbands, who provide much more for their families than just a pay cheque.

And the more egalitarian the relationship, the better. Couples who share both paid work and housework have more sex. Children of women with college degrees do better in school. Women who are college-educated tend to marry later, and also have lower divorce rates; they are more likely to stay married than women who aren't highly educated and financially independent (quite possibly because women who are self-sufficient don't need to get married for support, and can choose a partner with whom they can have a happy and egalitarian relationship).

Notably, fewer men and women marry today than they did a few decades ago: about 15% of women and 20% of men have never married. In 1970, those figures were 7% and 9%, respectively. More women are also forgoing childbearing – nearly twice as many women have never given birth today than in 1976. And when we do have children, we're doing it later: the average age of childbirth is now 25, compared with 21 in 1970. The teen birthrate is also down significantly: in 1970, the teen birthrate was 69 per 1,000 births; today, it's 48.

Those numbers are no indication that marriage and child-rearing are passé or under-valued – quite the opposite. Marriage, more than ever, is something that more people feel the right to opt out of, which means that those of us who do marry (except those who are shamefully barred from marriage because of their sexual orientation) are opting in, and doing so increasingly because we want to, not because of social obligations. If you believe that marriage can be a good thing for people who choose it, this should be welcome news. Children, too, should be welcome additions and not obligations. The fact that more women and families are delaying childbirth indicates that there's more planning involved, and that women and men are making commitments to familial stability and personal ability before deciding to have kids.

We're still a long way from a gender-egalitarian marital utopia, but traditional marriage is blessedly deceased. With its demise has come a new marriage model that is by nearly every measure better for men, women and children, and is hopefully continuing to improve.

Marriage itself is far from dead. But the traditional conservative vision of it is, and thank goodness for that – it's about time the old thing croaked.
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Old 03-10-2011, 03:13 PM   #33
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Old 03-10-2011, 07:53 PM   #34
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"You know, right now, 75 percent of black kids in this country are born out of wedlock," he said. "61 percent of Hispanic kids -- across the board, 41 percent of all live births in America are out of wedlock births. And the cost of that is simply staggering."

~Mike Huckabee



Marriage is about two people coming together and creating a family in love.

It is far from obsolete.

It is the perfect plan.


I teach in a public middle school. I know a traditional family is important to the children.
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Old 03-10-2011, 08:12 PM   #35
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It is possible for children to be born out of wedlock and still have loving, responsible parents who raise them well.
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Old 03-10-2011, 08:20 PM   #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Diemen View Post
It is possible for children to be born out of wedlock and still have loving, responsible parents who raise them well.

I agree, but our current society has strayed way beyond the ideal of "raising them well."
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Old 03-10-2011, 08:26 PM   #37
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I agree, but our current society has strayed way beyond the ideal of "raising them well."
That's not unique to births out of wedlock.
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Old 03-10-2011, 08:45 PM   #38
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While I agree with the general direction of the article, it does show a fair amount of Betty Friedan-type class blindness--only a little over a third of Americans have college degrees even now; most people, male or female, don't work to pursue "interests and passions"; and while we're spending more one-on-one time with our kids than 1960s parents, we're also physically (up 42%) and sexually (up 82%) abusing them more (USDHHS/NIS data). It says nothing about the increasing proportion of children being raised in poverty by single mothers. It ignores the reality that the socioeconomic benefits associated with what on paper are increased educational and occupational opportunities for women have not been evenly distributed. As the OP article pointed out,
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Today, several studies have shown, economic instability is now more closely associated with marital distress than it used to be.
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Old 03-11-2011, 10:15 AM   #39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by the iron horse View Post
I teach in a public middle school. I know a traditional family is important to the children.
Translation:

Code:
I teach a bunch of black kids with no dads.
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Old 03-11-2011, 10:45 AM   #40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yolland View Post
we're also physically (up 42%) and sexually (up 82%) abusing them more (USDHHS/NIS data).

would this not be because it's reported more and we now have a better understanding of what constitutes abuse? my guess would be that kids are abused in all ways much less now because we're much more aware of the problem.

(though if we want to really reduce these numbers, we should keep kids away from their dads and other heterosexual male relatives)
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Old 03-11-2011, 10:49 AM   #41
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Quote:
Originally Posted by the iron horse View Post
Marriage is about two people coming together and creating a family in love.

It is far from obsolete.

It is the perfect plan.

you realize that i totally agree with you here. and i think what you're missing is not that marriage is obsolete, but that the traditional gender roles within marriage are obsolete and changing into something better.

the structure, you see, is still good -- two people who have committed their lives to one another. it's just that the individuals making that commitment are much different now than they were 50, 100 years ago.
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Old 03-11-2011, 01:28 PM   #42
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Quote:
Originally Posted by the iron horse View Post
" -- across the board, 41 percent of all live births in America are out of wedlock births. And the cost of that is simply staggering."

~Mike Huckabee
Did Huckabee elaborate on what that staggering cost is?


(Because the cost of giving birth is very expensive if you don't have health insurance. Is that what he meant? )
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