Tags: Marriage: | The | Bad | News | Drowns | Out | the

Marriage: The Bad News Drowns Out the Good News

Thursday, 14 November 2002 12:00 AM

Tonight, PBS airs a "Frontline" report called "Let's Get Married" that takes a look at the state of marriage in the United States. Advance publicity about the program has stated that it will say marriage is in trouble and that its decline has brought about dire "public consequences."

Well, let's reserve judgment until we see the program on liberal PBS as to whether it really takes the strong line that needs to be asserted in defense of the traditional marriage. Just in case they don't, I will.

True, most of the current news about marriage is bad. The prevalence of divorce in today's society is troubling. The divorce rate has had its dips at times, but try consoling a child whose parents have split with statistics.

Then there is the rise in the number of so-called cohabiting couples, who simply choose to live together, usually breaking up time and time again. Only one thing can be worse than popularizing the idea that children need only one parent to raise them rather than two people, united by matrimony, performing the traditional roles of mother and father. That is the same-sex "couple" that insists on raising children.

But not all is bad news, and some recent good news deserves attention too.

The rate of married teenagers has been in steady decline since the 1950s. However, the 2000 Census showed a different finding. Their numbers had actually increased during the last decade. In 1990, married teens between the ages of 15 and 19 represented just 3.4 percent of the young population. Now it's 4.5 percent.

David Popenoe of the National Marriage Project at Rutgers University offered this explanation to the Washington Post: "There's been a slight trend toward conservatism among teens, less premarital sex, more fear of disease. ... It could conceivably have something to do with welfare reform but it's a surprise."

There is also more promotion of marriage in some churches, and "Let's Get Married" looks at the State of Oklahoma's own efforts to do so.

What I hope is that today's young married people already know, or learn in the nick of time, that the true key to success as a couple will be the values of loyalty and commitment. I wasn't all that much older than the teens in the Census statistics when I married Mrs. Weyrich, but we have been able to stay together for almost 40 years because we have a mutual commitment. One thing that we have been fortunate to share over the years has been raising our family, and now, watching our children's children grow up.

But in the culture of today, when divorces are the one thing too many married couples have come to agree upon, it's tough to be very optimistic about the state of marriage.

Another good piece of news, definitely not Politically Correct but certainly welcomed by social conservatives, came on Election Night when Nevadans voted in favor of Question 2, which would amend the state constitution to say marriage is legal only for heterosexual couples.

Much of Nevada's economic success has been predicated on gambling, and it is often thought to be libertarian on social issues. But thank heavens the Gambling State's voters were wise enough not to take the crapshoot of voting this amendment down.

The Congress passed the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in 1996 that defined a legal marriage in federal law as a "legal union" between one man and one woman who were husband and wife. No state would be forced to recognize same-sex marriages because other states had done so.

DOMA cut off at the pass an attempt by homosexual rights advocates to use the Full Faith and Credit Clause in the U.S. Constitution to force recognition of same-sex couplings. However, the states themselves have to make the effort to recognize the sanctity of traditional marriage to forestall the homosexual movement from trying to foist its agenda on them one by one.

In fact, the pro-family advocates in Nevada felt a constitutional amendment would be a wise preventive action because homosexual activists have been shopping to find courts that will rule that same-sex couplings are legal.

The more that sanction is given to alternative couplings as "marriage," then the more the traditional and only true institution of marriage will be undermined. I do not mean just at the marriage clerk's office either. I am talking about school textbooks that will teach that homosexual unions are marriage, and even in some churches that have forgotten their true Christian heritage by allowing homosexual couplings to be sanctioned as marriage.

Maintaining the definition and the practice of marriage in its traditional form is every bit as important to the future of our country as ensuring that we have the weapons necessary for our national defense. Marriage is the cornerstone of our society and its values. Two parents are necessary to raise children and to pass their faith and values down to them.

The corrosive values now prevalent in our society have already undermined our country enough. Weakening the definition of marriage in Nevada would have sent the wrong message to too many people, particularly those who do not believe in traditional and true matrimony and those who think gay is OK.

I only wish that I could be more optimistic about the state of marriage. Certainly, the glimmerings of good news should be welcomed. But I fear we end up having to take a lot of the bad with too little of the good.

Even the positive news I just shared is troublesome. In the 1950s, for instance, we never could have imagined that Nevada voters would have to resort to amending their constitution to define marriage as a union between a man and a woman.

It would be good to think that the pendulum is swinging back, moving decisively back toward those values, including a respect for the institution of marriage, that once made the majority of American lives meaningful and complete. Unfortunately, I only wish that there would be even better news to share with you about marriage. That is not the case and I fear what that means for the future of our young people and our country.

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Tonight, PBS airs a "Frontline" report called "Let's Get Married" that takes a look at the state of marriage in the United States. Advance publicity about the program has stated that it will say marriage is in trouble and that its decline has brought about dire "public...
Marriage:,The,Bad,News,Drowns,Out,the,Good,News
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2002-00-14
Thursday, 14 November 2002 12:00 AM
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