29 May Fighting for “Happily Ever After”
From the Desk of Carol Soelberg:
Graduation exercises all around us signal the coming of June. It is traditionally a bright and cheery month with weddings, vacations, and relaxation. This year however, June has hovering over it a potentially dark cloud. It is the time of the expected United States Supreme Court decision concerning the protection or eradication of traditional marriage in the United States.
Today we offer two outstanding articles that carry a similar message. Tom Christensen’s fourth in a series article entitled “The Case for Traditional Marriage—Do You Know Where Your Children Are?” is a compilation of research from all over the world that shows the imperative correlation of traditional marriage with lower rates of crime, addictions, and physical/emotional abuse.
Also, Annalise Harker, a college student and family advocate, has written an excellent piece called, “Fighting for Happily Ever After.” In her article she quotes Joseph Backholm who gives us insight into the madness associated with trying to redefine marriage:
“We could pass a law banning gravity because it discriminates against wingless creatures, but the moment we launched ourselves off a building to celebrate our independence from it we would simply reinforce the limits of our legislative authority.
Natural marriage flows from the laws of nature. … Marriage between a man and a woman is uniquely valuable because we are a gendered species. It is a biological reality that every child has a mom and dad…
The ideas that parents are interchangeable will not survive because it cannot survive. It cannot survive because it is inconsistent with reality. Fathers cannot mother, and mothers cannot father.”
I invite you to enjoy both articles; you’ll be better armed with the knowledge we all need to help others understand the benefits of traditional marriage in preserving our civilization! Thank you for your continued support. We depend heavily on your financial contribution to allow us to continue to fight to protect your marriage and family!
President, United Families International
Fighting for “Happily Ever After”
Once upon a time, in a land not far away, a young girl worked on washing a sink full of dirty dishes while singing “Someday My Prince Will Come” from the movie Snow White that she had just finished watching. As she scrubbed and sang, this young girl’s father came up behind her and said, “You know, it’s true. Someday your Prince will come. The important thing is that you make sure to become the Princess that he is looking for.”
That young girl was me, and this story marked the beginning of my conscious preparation for marriage. As I have looked forward to and prepared for that time, marriage has become very important to me. I now realize that marriage is not just a nice ending to a fairy tale, but the institution of marriage is critical to the well-being of all society.
The Threat to “Happily Ever After”
As a young girl it made sense to me that princes married princesses and then they lived happily ever after. However, in our society today, there are those who would argue that princesses ought to be meeting princesses once upon a time, and that fairy tales should include princes living happily ever with other princes. This basic and fundamental idea that marriage is between one man and one woman is being challenged in the highest Court in the nation. The U.S. Supreme Court is currently considering arguments that Proposition 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act discriminate against gay and lesbian couples. Prop. 8 resulted in a state constitutional amendment that defined marriage as a union between one man and one woman. The Defense of Marriage Act currently defines the word marriage to mean a legal union between one man and one woman and reserves the power of defining marriage to the states.
Why Marriage Matters
Marriage is not just a nice idea that has been passed along through fairy tales. It is an institution that gives our society strength and stability. Research reports have found a “fundamental incapacity for the faithfulness and commitment that is axiomatic to the institution of marriage” in the same gender relationships. This lack of strength and stability in such a fundamental building block of society can significantly weaken societies. In general, we find that even the act of redefining marriage undermines support for marriage in society. In the six years following Spain’s redefinition of marriage, the overall rate of marriages fell a staggering twenty percent.
Looking further back into history, Arnold Toynbee wrote a twelve volume study on the rise and fall of civilizations, remarked:
“In human records there is no instance of a society retaining its energy after a complete new generation has inherited a tradition which does not insist on prenuptial and postnuptial continence.”
This observation makes the point that the success of society does rest upon its adherence to definitions of marriage.
Marriage defined as between one man and one woman is not just a nice idea that society came up with. There are simply some rules that are not up to us to make… Read Annalise’s entire article here.
Do You Know Where Your Children Are?
The Case for Marriage: Crime, Abuse & Addictions
Tom Christensen & Christine Beck
The case for traditional marriage is buttressed by the correlation of traditional marriage with lower rates of crime, addictions, and physical/emotional abuse. Intact homes with two married parents produce safer neighborhoods and fewer delinquent behaviors. (1) When the family structure falls apart, individuals are more likely to turn to drugs or alcohol, or form primary attachments with amoral friends on the street, prostitutes, gangs, etc.
The Malik study found that children living with both parents are the least likely to be involved in violence while step-families, single parent families, and other structures are subject to significantly higher levels of violence.(2) Likewise, Smith and Jarjoura, using the Police Service Study for three major cities (Rochester, New York, St. Petersburg Florida, and St. Louis Missouri), found that single parent households have a significantly higher rate of violent crime and burglary.(3) Adolescents from intact families are less likely to exhibit delinquent behavior such as damaging property, stealing, fighting, selling drugs, sexual activities, and crime.(4)
Similarly, Sampson and Groves found that in British cities, individuals subject to divorce or out-of-wedlock births are more likely to be involved in muggings, violence against strangers, auto theft, and burglary.(5) Rodgers also found that youth who lived with a divorced parent, single or remarried, were more likely to engage in high-risk behavior such as substance abuse, carrying a weapon, fighting, and sexual relations.(6)
Rates of serious and fatal abuse are lowest in the intact married family. Rates of serious abuse are six times higher in the step family, 14 times higher in the always-single family, 20 times higher in cohabiting-biological parent families, and 33 times higher when the mother was cohabiting with a boyfriend who was not the father. For fatal abuse, the rate is three times higher in the step family, nine times higher in the never married single mother family, 18 times higher in the cohabiting-biological parents household, and 73 times higher in families where the mother cohabited with the boyfriend.(7) Additionally, Yexley found that children with family structures other than the intact family experience higher rates of exposure to domestic violence as victims and witnesses.(8) Children exposed to violence in their family of origin are less likely to form stable marriages and are more likely to be abusive themselves.(9)
Unlike the intact family where children are the least likely to have ever used hard drugs or been drunk,(10) other family structures have a greater risk for members developing addictions. Adolescents with divorced parents are significantly more likely to be involved with drugs.(11)
Intact families are truly society’s best safeguard against crime, abuse, and addictions. No institution is more effective in protecting the young, modeling responsible behavior, and maintaining social order. Thus, wise policymakers concerned about “public health, safety, morals and welfare” will adopt measures to protect and strengthen the traditional family as the fundamental social unit of society.
Tom Christensen, former CEO of United Families, is a successful father, attorney, and politician. He has written extensively on the natural family and has addressed UN delegations in behalf of UFI in Istanbul, New York, Nairobi, the Hague, Lisbon and Geneva.
- Sampson, R.J. & Groves, W.B. 1989, “Theory,” American, vol. 94, pp. 774-802.
2. Malik, S., Sorensen, S.B. & Aneshensel, C.S. 1997, “Community and dating violence among adolescents: Perpetration and victimization,” Journal of Adolescent Health, vol. 21, pp. 291-302.
3. Smith, D. & Jarjoura, G.R. 1988, “Social structure and criminal victimization,” Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency, pp. 27-52.
4. Manning, Wendy D. & Lamb, Kathleen A. 2003, “Adolescent Well-Being in Cohabiting, Married, and Single-Parent Families” Journal of Marriage and Family, Vol. 65, no 4, pp: 876-893; Osgood, D. Wayne & Chambers, Jeff M. “Social Disorganization Outside the Metropolis: An Analysis of Rural Youth Violence” Criminology Vol. 38, no 1, pp: 81-115; Fagan, Patrick, “A Portrait of Family and Religion in America: Key Outcomes for the Common Good,” (Washington, D.C.: The Heritage Foundation 2006)
5. Sampson, R.J. & Groves, supra at note 1.
6. Rodgers, Kathleen B. & Rose, Hillary A, 2002, “Risk and Resiliency Factors Among Adolescents Who Experience Marital Transitions” Journal of Marriage and the Family, Vol. 64, No 4., pp: 1024-1037.
7. Fagan, Patrick F. & Kirk A Johnson, 2002, “Marriage: The Safest Place for Women and Children,” Heritage Foundation Working Paper, Backgrounder No. 1535, p 3.
8. Yexley, M., Borowsky, I. & Ireland, M. 2002, “Correlation between different experiences of intrafamilial physical violence and violent adolescent behavior,” Journal of Interpersonal Violence, vol. 17, pp. 707-720.
9. Heyman, Richard E. & Amy M. Smith, 2002, “Do Child Abuse and Interparental Violence Lead to Adulthood Family Violence?” Journal of Marriage and Family, Vol. 64, no 4. pp: 864-870.
10. Fagan, Patrick, supra at note 4.
11. Richard H. Needle, Susan Su, and William J. Doherty, 1990, “Divorce, Remarriage, and Adolescent Substance Use: A Prospective Longitudinal Study,” Journal of Marriage and the Family, Vol. 52, pp: 157-159