Category: Marriage/Family

Two Years On, Where Has Same-Sex Marriage Taken Australia?

A couple years back during that postal plebiscite, 62 percent of Australians voted to legalise same-sex marriage.

During the debate, many warned that if marriage were redefined, a host of injustices would follow. People of faith could lose their jobs, gender-fluid teaching might take over schools, and the freedom to hold a dissenting view would disappear.

Those in favour of same-sex marriage dismissed this as fear-mongering. They insisted that the plebiscite was only about the freedom of loving couples to marry. It was a false ‘slippery slope’ argument, they said, to suggest that other negative consequences could follow.

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The Deeper Roots of Youth Anxiety

Megan, 19, wants to stand out and be “the person,” but she perceives herself to be falling short. The problem began in high school. She attended an elite academy, where she began “to feel like I was mediocre or below average.” Earlier, at a regular school, she “was the smartest person in the class” and had been on the gifted and talented track since the fifth grade. This heady recognition made her feel special. But then came the academy, where she was surrounded by very bright, high-achieving kids. She began to “feel marginalized” and yearned to “feel special again.” These feelings carried over into college.

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David Brooks is Urging Us to Go Forward, not Backward

In The Atlantic, David Brooks presents his thought-provoking proposal for addressing the ills of the American family—what he describes as forming “forged families”—as if it were a return to the family patterns of the past. It’s more accurately seen, however, as an embrace of newer forms of family life that have been developed by particular groups—African Americans, LGBTQ individuals, remarried people, and so on. They are the innovators in developing kinship-like relationships that go beyond the bond of biology and the legally-recognized ties of marriage and are sometimes referred to as families of choice.

As Brooks acknowledges, these groups have been blazing the trail that he now wants more Americans to follow. For African Americans, the destruction of family ties under slavery and the discrimination faced since then have made reaching out to grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins imperative. For LGBTQ individuals, the rejection they sometimes face from their families of origin and, until recently, their exclusion from the institution of marriage have led them to build their own families, where they combine any biological kin who may accept them with partners and close friends whose long-term relationships take on the character of kinship. For divorced and re-partnered individuals, multi-partner fertility and stepfamily ties necessarily take them beyond the nuclear family.

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The Collapse of International Adoption is a Tragedy

In January, Bethany Christian Services announced that it would not be renewing its accreditation to do international adoption. As one of the largest providers of international adoption services in the U.S., this is quite a blow. But Bethany’s leadership has seen the writing on the wall. In 2018, there were only about 4,000 intercountry adoptions to the U.S. That’s compared with a high in 2004 of almost 23,000.

These drastic changes are partly the result of other countries like Russia shutting down their adoption programs and partly the result of our own State Department making international adoption more difficult, as I wrote last year. The bureaucratic headaches and expenses have multiplied. According to the State Department, adoption service providers charged a median price of $6,000 in 2008, compared with a median of over $30,000 in 2018. A lot of this money is going for lawyers or to grease the palms of bureaucrats in other countries. And it doesn’t even include, say, the cost of hotels where families have to stay for days if not weeks in another country waiting for paperwork to go through. (As Mark Montgomery and Irene Powell point out in their book Saving International Adoption, what’s amazing is that none of this money can ever go to a birth mother—even to pay for the education or healthcare of her other children.) It is not uncommon for families to borrow money from family or friends or to raise money through their church community to help defray these expenses.

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Push To Legalize Polygamy Uses Same Arguments As Push For Same-Sex Marriage

“I just came out openly to friends.” “Love is love” and we deserve “equal protection under the law.” We are “not harming anybody.” “The world would be a better place if everybody was more open.” “I am proud of who I am” but I am “rejected by society.” “It’s unhealthy to force people into a choice that might not fit them,” especially when you have “love at the core of your relationship.”

Perhaps you assume those are quotes from LGBT activists during the push to legalize same-sex marriage? Oh, come on, where’ve you been? Gay marriage is so 2015.

Your mistaken assumption is entirely understandable, however. It is, after all, the same script advocates of gay marriage used, but surprise! These quotes are from proponents bent on normalizing poly relationships. The “love is love” strategy was so successful for the gay marriage lobby, why should polygamists reinvent the wheel?

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After The Nuclear Family

David Brooks has a big piece in The Atlantic today about how the nuclear family has collapsed, and how people are trying new ways of building family-like structures from the rubble. Read it all. Seriously, read it all. It’s superb, despite its flaws. Sociologists Wendy Wang and Brad Wilcox say the data on the “extended family” model that Brooks proposes are not encouraging. From my point of view, the essay’s major flaw is in its ignoring the role of religion. I wrote about this in a short essay posted at the Institute For Family Studies, and reproduced here. I agree that the nuclear family was unstable, for all the reasons Brooks cites. But I have a much more pessimistic view of where things go from here:

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The Silent Marriage Killer That’s More Deadly Than Sex & Money.

In one of the presenter’s talks, he asked the audience what the biggest cause of divorce was. Since I had just been through premarital counseling, I pretty much felt like an expert at marriage. I shot my hand up quickly to answer the question, and blurted out, “Sex, money and communication!” …then looked at my wife next to me and grinned. Too easy.
“Wrong,” the presenter barked back. “Those are symptoms of the real problem.”

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