The People Pro® Blog

Why Gay Marriage REALLY Matters

By Barbara Bartlein

Currently 32 states have legal same sex marriage, however 18 states still ban it with appeals in process in 5 states.  They will lose.  The Supreme Court, by refusing to hear appeals, has essentially said that same sex marriage cannot be banned.  The rhetoric and outrage continue in a number of circles, however, as people pontificate on what “marriage” really means. 

They are missing the boat and not looking at the bigger picture.  While I acknowledge that gay marriage is not for everyone, just like marrying someone of another race or religion may not sit well with some, it is not in society's best interest to ban marriage for any adult.

Marriage is what stabilizes families, communities and society.  It provides a safe environment with legal protection to raise children.  If anything should be banned, it is having children out of wedlock. 

Consider the statistics:  According to the NY Times, the largest predictor of child and family poverty is a single parent household.  In 2007, single-parent families were nearly six times more likely to be poor than married-parent families.  To date, that ratio has not significantly changed.  The Times further notes that blacks and Hispanics have the highest rates of child poverty with illegitimacy rates of 73% and 53%, respectively.  Non-hispanic  whites have about a 29% of children born out of wedlock for an overall rate of about 40%.  What a disaster.

The trend in illegitimacy rate over the past four and half decades has been startling. Out of wedlock births comprised 5.3 % of total births in 1960, including 2.3 % of white births and 23% of black births.  There has been a steady rise for the last 50 years.  Not surprisingly, poverty, welfare, and food stamps have also risen at an alarming rate.

There are dramatic effects on children and parenting when a household is one-parent.  A 1997 study of children's use of time found that children in one-parent families got about nine hours less from their mothers and about thirteen hours less from either parent per week than did children in two-parent families.  Children raised in single-parent households are more likely to be poor, to have health problems, and psychological disorders.  Marriage is good for raising children.

And yes, many gay couples want children either biological or through adoption.  Again, some folks object to that and I don't get it.  There is no shortage of children in the world that need a stable, loving home to grow up in. 

Marriage is, first and foremost, a business relationship with legal protection.  Assets are pooled; there is a division of labor, and often two incomes to pay expenses.   The longer people are married, the greater their wealth accumulations.  At retirement, a typical married couple has accumulated about $410,000, compared to about $167,000 for the never married, about $145,000 for the divorced and just under $96,000 for the separated.  By pooling money, labor, and time, married people create far more opportunities for building wealth.

Spouses also have better access to health and life insurance coverage, pensions, and social security.  Being married provides “insurance,” as spouses almost always leave their worldly goods and benefits to their partner. 

I suggest that some of the money spent on arguing about the gay marriage issues be directed instead to promoting marriage and decreasing out of wedlock births.  The whole society would be better off. 

For more information on the benefits of marriage and how to make relationship work, check out my book:  Why Did I Marry You Anyway?

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