Tuesday, July 7, 2009


Time magazine has a cover story this week on Why Marriage Matters. Without ever mentioning the gay marriage push, author Caitlin Flanagan uses recent high profile adulteries and research findings to illustrate her point on biological parents staying married to raise their children.

Here are some quotes:

The reason for these appeals to lasting unions is simple: on every single significant outcome related to short-term well-being and long-term success, children from intact, two-parent families outperform those from single-parent households. Longevity, drug abuse, school performance and dropout rates, teen pregnancy, criminal behavior and incarceration--if you can measure it, a sociologist has; and in all cases, the kids living with both parents drastically outperform the others.

Few things hamper a child as much as not having a father at home. Sociologist, Maria Kefalas, a feminist, says, 'The mom may not need that man, but her children still do.' Growing up without a father has a deep psychological effect on a child."

"children from divorced middle-class parents do less well in school and at college compared with underprivileged kids from two-parent households."

The article grants, however, that divorce, unwed and single parenting, are harder on the poor than on the rich.

So how will lesbian marriage provide that father? And how do gay couples provide the necessary mother? Not only does the article say fathers are important (and they will find that mothers are just as important,) it says that shacking up to raise children is unstable in its results. As soon as the man feels demands of parenting, he more readily exits, than if he had a legally binding ring and the prospect of divorce. However, nowhere does she imply that two men or two women married to each other will be good --since she says both biological parents IN THE HOME are optimal for children.

She says we are "increasingly less willing to put in the hard work and personal sacrifice" to have a lasting, loving marriage. She quoted Leonard Michaels who wrote, "Adultery is not about sex or romance. Ultimately, it is about how little we mean to one another."

She lambastes Sanford, Edwards, and Gosselin for wanting their personal fun and happiness at the expense of wife and children. I couldn't have said it as well (which is why she's writing for Time and I have a little blog.)

Their actions were so willful and blatantly self-centered that the two of them could have credibly fashioned themselves as rebels, possibly even as heroes, if they could have just stopped crying. They weren't a couple of tools [did she mean "fools?"] stuck in sexless marriages and making up for it with internet porn. These guys had embarked on dangerously erotic rampages with real-life, unencumbered women, women who decidedly weren't ...[their wives.] The long-suffering wives, Fun Busters in Chief.

In favor of marriage, she writes:
a lasting covenant between a man and a woman can be a vehicle for the nurture and protection of each other, the one reliable shelter in an uncaring world--or it can be a matchless tool for the infliction of suffering on the people you supposedly love above all others, most of all on your children."

In favor of bio-parents being married and staying married, she quoted Sara McLanahan, a Princeton sociologist and single mother herself, who found that
"Children who grow up in a household with only one biological parent are worse off, on average, than children who grow up in a household with both of their biological parents, regardless of the parents' race or education background."

It was intriguing that she mentioned Bill Clinton as supporting marriage policies (probably with his Republican Congress) and never mentioned HIM as adulterer or the Democrats' beloved JFK. She praised Obama for remarks made about fathering. He did author (or it was ghost-authored) a recent Father's Day article for Parade.

I do think it's high time that we returned shame to adultery --instead of letting a president stay in office for highly immoral behavior.

She quotes
sociologist Andrew J. Cherlin in a landmark new book called, "The Marriage-Go-Round: The State of Marriage and the Family in America Today. ...what is significant about contemporary american families, compared with those of other nations, is their combination of 'frequent marriage, frequent divorce: and the high number of "short-term co-habiting relationships."' Taken together, these forces 'create a great turbulence in American family life, a family flux, a coming and going of partners on a scale seen nowhere else. There are more partners in the personal lives of Americans than in the lives of people of any other Western country.'

(I do find that hard to believe, compared to Europe. I think there could be less divorce --if, in fact, there is less marriage --and we know their birth rate is lower than ours.)

But I bet we do have the highest rate of births to unwed women.

A final excerpt:
An increasingly fragile construct depending less and less on notions of sacrifice and obligation than on the ephemera of romance and happiness as defined by and for its adult principlals; the intact, two-parent family remains our cultural ideal, but it exists under constant assault. It is buffeted by affairs and ennui, subject to the eternal American hope for greater happiness, for changing the hand you dealt yourself. Getting married for life, having children and raising them with your partner--this is still the way most Americans are conducting adult life, but the numbers who are moving in a different direction continue to rise. Most notably, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, reported in May that births to unmarried women have reached an astonishing 39.7%

Finally, Flanagan asks,
is marriage an institution that still hews to its old intention and function--to raise the next generation, to protect and teach it, to instill in the habits of conduct and character that will ensure the generation's own safe passage into adulthood? Think of it this way: the current generation of children, the one watching commitments between adults snap like dry twigs and observing parents who simply can't be bothered to marry each other and who hence drift in and out of their children's lives--that's the generation who will be taking care of us [ed: or likely not] when we are old.

This article is support for NOT redefining marriage to include any two people who think they love each other--regardless of their sex or orientation--though it doesn't mention the issue per se.

Before you all bring it up, of course, there are exceptions to sociologists' findings. The Jackson family, while monetarily successful, while having two bio-parents raise them, has produced some strange children--who appear to have all had their noses altered I noticed at the funeral today. Just having intact parents isn't EVERYTHING to mental and economic health and personal happiness; some parents are dysfunctional and abusive as MJ said his father was--and some kids turn out mixed up regardless of how good their parents are. But the sociologists are saying that OVERALL, children raised by both bio-parents in the home are better off in every way.

So let's not re-define marriage --and let's not permit gay adoption on a par with heterosexual adoption. Keep the bio-parents as close to all children as we can --except when those parents are proveably dangerous. And let's all get back to cherishing and sacrificing personal whims, tolerating the imperfect in our mates, rejecting temptation on the internet and everywhere else, for that ideal of lifetime marriage to raise children in a home with both Mom and Dad.

That would ALSO be good for American economy, with fewer people needing Uncle Sam to be their Daddy.

"God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance and have eternal life."--the Bible


Mish said...

While I agree with you that there are potential problems raised when (in the context of same-sex parents) little boys don't get to model themselves after men in their lives (in lesbian instances) and little girls don't get to model themselves after women in their lives (in gay instances), I feel compelled to warn you against putting words in peoples mouths. Flanagan's article is about marriage, not gay/straight parenting. Indeed, it is about infidelity's negative affects on parenting...but still not about gay parenting.

Her work is brilliant when taken in the right context; one should be careful not to diminish that by using it to convey an entirely different message.

Barb said...

She was definitely targeting adultery and shacking up and divorce and single parenting --and never mentioned gay marriage AS I SAID.

But the implications are inescapable --if both bio parents are most important in the home with the kids for best results on average --then gay marriage is not in the children's best interest either, is it?

We need to quit walking on eggshells around the gay advocates and tell the truth. Their relationships aren't good for children and thus not good for the future.

Barb said...

BTW I will modify one statement which does imply that she was addressing the issue in the article --which, you are right, she was not addressing that issue.

But everything she reports contradicts gay marriage advocacy.

mud_rake said...

Mish- your point is well taken but lost on this OCD-torn blogger whose obsession with homosexuality knows no boundaries. She is a pitiful woman lost in her obsessions who refuses both mental health counselling and medication for her serious illness.

By the way, I make rare comments on this blog and use latex gloves as I type lest I be infected by stupid fundamentalist christian bloviation.

Barb said...

heh heh --been listening to O'reilly, have you --using the word he popularized, "bloviation?"

Getting boring over in Muck-lake, Mudrake? I'm sorry I've been too busy to visit your blog regularly these days. If I had to guess, I'd say you are fishing for readers and trying to re-capture my attention.

Barb said...

Afterthought --Muckly --your blog was much hotter when you allowed opposing viewpoints --much more point and counterpoint. NOw only your handful of like-minded disciples of atheism, vitriolic liberalness and Darwin are interested.

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christina erickson said...

Your blog is really very nice but i am reading one interesting blog. So i can share with you. We all need relationships so do gay. The only difference is that gay like to have relationships with a man, not a woman. In other words, they like to have love and romance with men only. It is not too hard to tell if a man is a gay by looking at him.

Barb said...

I'm wondering why your name links to a gay dating site for men, Christina.

You can only "guess" that a man might be gay from his appearance --how he walks, talks, dresses, mannerisms --and this would all be from gender identity disorder where he has lacked the affirming influence and role modeling of an attentive and masculine father --and was too close to Mom instead. It is so wrong to conclude, however, that those who may be weak in "masculinity" are interested in sex with men. That's just one reason to oppose verbal gay bashing and ridicule, which i do oppose. It doesn't help the person who is insecure in his sexuality and may contribute to his gender identity problem. Of course, there are also men and women who practice homosexual acts who act and appear as normal heterosexuals --and may, in fact, be bisexual in their practices. But what they innately ARE is male or female.

As for gay men "needing" men (or lesbians needing women) --they NEED them, alright, for friendship, for helping them identify with their own sex. There is nothing against close friendships of men with men and women with women.

But that doesn't mean there is a need for same sex sodomy which is abnormal and perverse and unnecessary. Temptation comes to pedophiles, adulterers, rapists, incestors, necrophiliacs and bestiality practitioners --and it comes to homosexuals. NOne of these abnormal ways to have sex are the only ways to have sexual release. The PROPER outlet for sexual expression is between man and wife. There is NO other moral way.

The only reason NOT to find pleasure in marital hetero-sex would be a result of damaged emotions in childhood --bad events making people dysfunctional or hateful or fearful of the opposite sex. And yes, some people have difficulty attracting the opposite sex because of past damage to their sexual identities. Such people deserve compassion and need help and counsel--they don't need "marriage" and "pride parades" to encourage abnormal relations in future generations.