Class Warfare Blog

January 20, 2013

Marriage on the Skids

Filed under: Politics,The Law — Steve Ruis @ 1:03 pm

In a recent article, the following was stated as trend in marriage in the U.S.:

And yet, as of December 2011, just 51% of all American adults were married and 28% never had been, down from 72% and up from 15% in 1960. The median age of first-time newlyweds is at an all-time high (which may make the marriage-rate decline appear sharper than it actually is: some are delaying marriage rather than forgoing it entirely). However stark the overall rate decline, it is not spread evenly: marriage rates are higher, and out-of-wedlock birth and divorce rates lower, among wealthier and better-educated Americans. A bare majority of whites (55%) and minorities of Hispanics (48%) and blacks (31%) are married; majorities of all three races were married in 1960.”

I say, so far so good.

There are studies galore about how marriage benefits people. They are all flawed in one way or another. If you drop the word “marriage” and substitute it for “happiness” or “stability” I think you would be more on point. Many of the so-called benefits of marriage are artificial: the marriage tax benefits, the societal benefits, etc. Much of the parental approval comes from “marriage” being a precursor to having children (grandchildren to the parents of those wedding).

And the dark side of marriage is often not told. If you are married, you are individually responsible for each other’s taxes, so if one partner bugs out, the other is stuck with both person’s tax burdens. (I know this from experience.) Your marriage “contract” is a personal contract and is only enforced by one of the principals. Lots of luck with that if you have to try to enforce your marriage contract; law enforcement agencies won’t help.

But I say: so far, so good! Marriage as an institution is pretty much bankrupt. Good riddance.

But there is a missing part of the social fabric, direly needed, and that is a legal obligation tied to having children. Currently there are a few laws in place but nothing in the marriage contract per se. Instead of pre-nuptial agreements, people need to establish a legally enforceable agreement to support their own children. In the absence of such a negotiated agreement, there needs to be a default agreement that comes into effect should a couple get pregnant unwittingly, married or not.

I think France has the right idea. They support children. They support the mothers and fathers of newborns with stipends and services (like child care, counseling, training, and hospice). And they will drop a ten ton weight on your head if you do not support your own children. They do not kid about your responsibilities.

Children are future citizens. We owe them a good start, whether their parents are capable people or not. Dump marriage; support Paternity/Maternity Contracts enforceable by government.


  1. Your thoughtful points are too often ignored by those who would rather fulfill some fantasy notion about life and God and insist that women be forced to have unwanted pregnancies and do so without the help of the state when there is no one else to provide support for them.


    Comment by lbwoodgate — January 21, 2013 @ 8:15 am | Reply

    • If we could just step back whenever the question “But, what does it mean?” gets asked. We generate our own answers, often mythical or imaginary instead of asking the people involved. People who are out of work and hungry does not mean they are an “underclass” and inferior. It means they are hungry and out of work. The world would be a better place if they had food and helpful work just by having more happy people in it.

      Have been enjoying your blog a great deal of late … hope it isn’t a form of codger on codger love!


      Comment by stephenpruis — January 21, 2013 @ 8:31 am | Reply

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