Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Shacking Up, Marriage Down

A new census-based study by Rutgers University's National Marriage Project finds the annual U.S. divorce rate for married women has fallen from a peak of 22 per 1,000 married women in 1980 to just under 18 per 1,000 in 2004. But don't chalk this up to traditional values. The decline is largely because fewer women are getting married and more are shacking up.

In 1976, 77 out of every 1,000 single women got married. By 2004, the study found fewer than 40 per 1,000 single women got married. Meanwhile, the number of unmarried opposite sex couples living together has jumped from less than half a million in 1960 to more than five million today.

The National Marriage Project is alarmed by these findings. The Project bills itself as nonpartisan, but their primary mission is to promote the institution of marriage, which of course is inherently partisan. They question the commitment of cohabitating couples and worry about the progeny of these unions, yet you won't find them advocating to extend the magical elixir of marriage to same-sex couples. That would just get in the way of their agenda, so they make like abstinence-only advocates and pretend same-sex couples simply don't exist. Clever, no?

Not surprisingly, the Project also has a long history of tweaking research to support conclusions designed to discourage any intimate relationship other than marriage. The Alternatives to Marriage Project provides a useful summary of how they do it here.

1 comment:

BB said...

I tried to make a relaxed, "why the hell not?" pro-gay marriage argument to my father not long ago.

He listened intently, then said, "But what happens when they want to change it, bring in a third, shit like that?"

I made a brief stab at explaining that they merely want what we have, and that oddly enough, by denying them we're sort of implicitly supporting the "promiscuous gay" stereotype.

Then I realized that it was a complete waste of breath.