My latest at CNN: to rebuild the middle class, restore marriage.
The long debate on same-sex marriage is coming to an end. A plurality of Americans now support same-sex marriage; the figure is 63% among voters under 30. The rest is just a matter of time.
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The end of the same-sex marriage debate does not, however, settle the problem of marriage in America. Not remotely. Among the 95% to 97% of Americans who are not gay, the institution of marriage continues to weaken -- with ominous consequences for the next generation.
About 40% of all the babies born in the United States are born to unmarried women. Just about everybody agrees that this is a worrying development.
As candidate Barack Obama told a Chicago church in 2008:
"(C)hildren who grow up without a father are five times more likely to live in poverty and commit crime, nine times more likely to drop out of schools, and 20 times more likely to end up in prison. They are more likely to have behavioral problems, or run away from home or become teenage parents themselves. And the foundations of our community are weaker because of it."
Of course there are exceptions to every rule. On average, however, children born to unmarried women do worse in all kinds of important ways compared to children born to married couples. They are less likely to complete their schooling, more likely to get in trouble with the law, more likely to have children out of marriage themselves, less likely to achieve upward mobility. The data behind these claims are overwhelming, and not seriously contested by any social scientist -- although every once in a while, somebody will publish an article "in defense of single motherhood" that brusquely dismisses the evidence with Stephen Colbert style elan: " I am not a huge believer in studies."
Source: The Daily Beast | David Frum