Abandon Text!

W. H. Auden once said: "Poems are not finished; they are abandoned." I have been abandoning writing projects for many years, since only the pressure of deadline and high expectations ever got me to finish, or even start, anything of merit. This blog is an attempt to create a more consistent, self-directed writing habit. Hopefully a direction and voice will emerge.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Protecting Marriage

So, a constitutional amendment designed to "protect the institution of marriage" has come before the Sentate . . . again . . . and it still seems to lack the provisions I would have liked to see.

How is it that divorce rates have steadily risen over the last four decades, so that overall divorce rates are around 43%, and nobody on Capitol Hill has felt the need to protect marriage until now? If I had my choice of "things to do to protect the institution of marriage," I think that banning gay marriage would be waaay down the list.

What about:
  • Get rid of the marriage penalty. Why am I paying more taxes just because I'm married?
  • Make it harder to get a divorce. Most people why report being "unhappy" in their marriages will report being "happy" three years later. People who are "unhappy" in their marriages, and then divorce, are much less likely to report being happy than their "unhappy" peers who stay married. (reference here.) Italy has the lowest divorce rate in Europe, presumably because they have a three year waiting period for getting a divorce. We should have a similar waiting period, excepting for instances of abuse or infidelity.
  • For that matter, make it harder to get married. Most of the issues that cause marital strife are well-known and well-understood. The application for a marriage license should include a form with the most basic questions about their expectations for marriage, that both parties should sign to indicate they have actually talked about these things. Like: Are we going to have kids? How many? When? Do you have any debts I don't know about? How much? Are you going to continue with your career after we have kids? The government should provide cheap or free premarital counselling to help couples complete the checklist of questions.
  • Persecute adulterers. Infidelity is one of the most common causes of divorce. We should rachet up the social and legal consequences for unfaithfulness. I find it unspeakably naive that people think that someone's sexual indiscretions are a part of their "private life" and have no affect on how they conduct themselves overall. Someone who cheats, IS a cheat, and it should be considered valid grounds for dismissing someone from their job or their public office.
  • Get serious about discouraging premarital sex. Yes, we have to put the jeenie back in the bottle. Teen sex is not inevitable. We know for a fact that it screws people up. Yes, it's prudish and retrograde and unrealistic. I don't care. It's the truth.
  • Give more custody rights (and responsibilities) to fathers. There is a lower divorce rate in states that default to joint custody of the children. Once people accept that they will have to get along with this person forever, even if they divorce them, then somehow they find a way to make it work.

Marriage is essential to our social fabric. Its fundamental purpose, as an institution, is to create the legal, financial, and psychological stability necessary for the raising of children. (Even marriages that do not produce children contribute to the overall stability of society.) It does need protecting . . . but the prospect of gay marriage is the least of our worries.



Blogger Bob said...

Hey there G,

I've been following and enjoying your blog since my return from Key West. The crouton from your son was priceless, by the way. I'm not sure how you feel about blog comments, so I will refrain from any extended commentary for the time being. This post, in particular, was very thought provoking. Your writing is excellent and I look forward to the daily dose of your perspective.


12:52 PM  

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