Casey Mattox discusses Houston subpoenas and the SCOTUS same-sex marriage issue with Matthew Hawkins and Andrew Walker (audio)alliancealert.org
Kelly Shackelford, president/CEO of Liberty Institute. “The debate over same-sex marriage and divorce should play out in our democratic institutions and should not be short-circuited by activist judges.”
The Telegraph: Outdated family laws have fuelled an “alarming” rise in marital breakdown, causing “profound” damage to millions of children, a High Court judge has warned.
AP on Findlaw: It was a storybook marriage in 1986 on a spring weekend on Cape Cod that united a princess of an American political dynasty, Maria Shriver, and the gap-toothed muscle-clad movie star famous enough to be known by one name, Arnold.
Deseret News: Utah taxpayers spend about $276 million on the effects of divorce and out-of-wedlock childbirth. But while there are effective tools to strengthen marriage and families, those who statistically need help most are the least likely to seek it out, experts say . . . The cost of divorce and out-of-wedlock births to taxpayers nationally exceeds $112 billion a year . . .
Russell Flannery at Forbes: The number of couples that formally notified the government of the end of their marriage increased by 17% in the first three months of 2011 from a year earlier to 465,000, according to a report in today’s Beijing Times, a Chinese-language daily.
Glenn T. Stanton at Baptist Press: Well, here’s one: New data emerging consistently for decades show that premarital sexual activity seems to be associated with a significant elevated risk of divorce. This is not a small consideration for teens and young adults. Let’s look at the handful of leading population-based studies exploring this question and what they find . . .
Christopher Wolfe at Public Discourse: People generally take it for granted that marriage will be “available,” but despite the powerful forces inclining people to marry, the availability of marriage as an institution they can choose to enter cannot be taken for granted.
Aaron Goldstein at American Spectator: “With all due respect to Wilcox he paints an incomplete picture. While it is true that the report concluded children were more suspectible to abuse in a household headed by a single parent with a cohabiting partner than with married biological parents it is far from the only factor contributing to child abuse. Indeed the HHS report also states . . . ”
Joseph Lawler at the American Spectator: University of Virginia social scientist W. Bradford Wilcox takes a look at new federal data on child abuse, and comes up with some alarming findings about child abuse in households in which the caretakers aren’t a married couple . . .
W. Bradford Wilcox at Public Discourse: Cohabitation does not serve the “best interest” of children, regardless of what the courts say . . . This new federal study indicates that these cases are simply the tip of the abuse iceberg in American life. According to the report, children living with their mother and her boyfriend are about 11 times more likely to be sexually, physically, or emotionally abused than children living with their married biological parents.
Russell Nieli at Public Discourse: While often hostile to the Calvinist Christianity in which he was reared, David Hume’s essay “Of Polygamy and Divorces” offers a vigorous and well-argued defense of marriage arrangements as they existed in England and many other parts of Europe from the early Middle Ages through most of the 18th century. His arguments have great relevance for us today as we struggle to cope with unprecedented rates of divorce and unprecedented ease of both entering into and exiting marriages and other intimate procreative relationships. His arguments against polygamy are also important as that practice seems to be undergoing something of a resurgence in parts of the southwest, with renewed interest in the popular culture.
David Lapp at FamilyScholars.org: “I just received in the mail today a copy of Oklahoma’s 2001 baseline statewide survey on marriage and divorce. As many of you know, Oklahoma launched in 1999 the Oklahoma Marriage Initiative. One of the first things it did was to adminster this survey of Oklahoman’s marriage attitudes and behaviors. It has some interesting data. Here is some of the stuff that jumped out at me . . . | Hat tip: IMAPP
Texas Pastor’s Council: “A broad consensus of studies finds that divorce has serious negative lifelong psychological consequences for children, and costs taxpayers billions of dollars annually. A significant number of these divorces are avoidable. The goal of this Act is to reduce divorces where minor children are involved.”
Daily Mail: Shocking figures reveal that births outside marriage are at their highest level in two centuries and nearly half of children can expect their parents to separate by the time they turn 16. Nine out of ten couples now live together before – or instead of – tying the knot.
Daily Mail: Baby boomers have become a generation of loners, with millions living without partners or children.The numbers of those in their late 40s to early 60s who live by themselves has risen by almost a third in a decade, official figures showed yesterday.
Huffington Post: Although the military divorce rate has begun to level off, according Pentagon statistics, 7.9 percent of women in the armed forces got a divorce last year — versus 3 percent of their male counterparts. Those numbers are part of an ongoing trend, according to Dr. Benjamin Karney, a psychology professor at UCLA and head researcher of a 2007 RAND study that looked at marriage and divorce rates in the military over 10 years between 1996 and 2005data.
AP: In a crowded courtroom on the city’s outskirts, the once unthinkable is reality: dozens of couples – rich and poor, educated and barely literate – seek divorce for reasons as varied as domestic violence to a simple inability to live together.
Carl Bialok at WSJ (3/11): My print column this week examines a widely reported claim that one in five divorces is linked to Facebook . . . Mark Keenan, managing director of Divorce-Online, which first released the stat, acknowledged in an interview that this may not be representative of all divorces . . . For one thing, the site’s users tend to be young, owing to its online presence and that it is likely to appeal to people seeking relatively simple divorces, without thorny issues such as child custody. | Hat tip: IMAPP
Adelle M. Banks at USA Today (3/14) Wilcox’s analysis of the National Survey of Families and Households has found that Americans who attend religious services several times a month were about 35% less likely to divorce than those with no religious affiliation. | Hat tip: IMAPP
Janice Shaw Crouse writes at Townhall: “The federal government deems it too expensive to track marriage and divorce data; instead, turns its attention to tracking data about sexual activity, behavior, attraction, and identity of teens and adults.”
TIME: Worrying is good for your health. Optimism is overrated. Women thrive post-divorce (men don’t). These are just a few of the unexpected findings that psychologist Howard Friedman explores in The Longevity Project, a new book based on a groundbreaking eight-decade study on the secrets to long life.
The Canadian Press on Google: The commission’s proposal does not seek to make divorce and property laws the same in all European Union countries, but only to create rules to determine which country has jurisdiction over the division of property. The aim is to prevent one half of the couple, often the wealthier member, from rushing to court in the country he or she thinks would be most advantageous.
MSNBC: I had never been a guy to turn to religion but then as my marriage was coming to an end, I needed help to explain it to my children and make sense of it all…Because once you are a divorced guy, being a father is a whole different thing.”
Legal Periodical: The Constitutional Obligation to Adjudicate Petitions for Same-Sex Divorce and the Dissolution of Civil Unions and Analogous Same-Sex Reliationships: Prolegomenon to a Brief
L. Lynn Hogue, The Constitutional Obligation to Adjudicate Petitions for Same-Sex Divorce and the Dissolution of Civil Unions and Analogous Same-Sex Reliationships: Prolegomenon to a Brief, 41 Cal. W. Int’l L.J. 229 (2010)
At the Wall Street Journal, Laura Landro has this report: How to Keep Going and Going. It begins: What can 1,500 Americans born a century ago, most of them long dead, tell us about the secret to a long life? Plenty, according to Howard S. Friedman and Leslie R. Martin, two psychologists who, in “The Longevity Project,” mine an eight-decade research effort for answers to the kinds of questions that sent Ponce de León searching for the Fountain of Youth.
TriValleyCentral.com (AP): The court on Wednesday denied a request from 13 lawmakers, including House Speaker Ed Buchanan, R-Torrington, to file a “friend of the court” brief. The lawmakers were represented by the Alliance Defense Fund, an Arizona-based Christian civil rights group that has litigated against same-sex marriage in California.
KSWT.com (AP): “The lawmakers were represented by the Alliance Defense Fund, an Arizona-based Christian civil rights group that has litigated against same-sex marriage in California.”
AdelaideNow.com.au: “OLDER couples with much to lose are increasingly turning to prenups to protect themselves, experts say.”
John Allen Jr. writes at the Wall Street Journal: “Fewer Americans get annulments. Is it because fewer are getting married in the church at all?”
AP: “The Alliance Defense Fund represents the lawmakers, including House Speaker Ed Buchanan. The fund is an Arizona-based Christian civil rights group that has fought same-sex marriage in California.”
San Francisco Chronicle: The 13 lawmakers want permission to file a “friend of the court” brief with the Wyoming Supreme Court. They’re represented by the Alliance Defense Fund, an Arizona-based Christian civil rights group that has litigated against same-sex marriage in California.
Billings Gazette: The local attorney for the Alliance Defense Fund, Douglas Mason of Pinedale, said Monday that there is nothing to prevent the Lusk couple from returning to Canada to get a divorce or to get one from some other jurisdiction that recognizes same-sex marriage. “As far as Wyoming is concerned, they’re not married anyway, so they don’t need a divorce,” Mason said. (more information about ADF and ADF involvement in the report)
Heritage Foundation: “What may not be so well known is the fact that the ripple effects of family dissolution go beyond the impact on the immediate children of broken marriages. Current trends toward dissolving (or never forming) marriages have consequences for a third (and even fourth) generation, given that children’s life course of relationships tend to track that of their parents.”
TheBostonChannel.com (includes video): “If you live in the state of Massachusetts, there’s one thing that never ends: alimony. It’s a life-long financial obligation that can turn lives and finances upside down. Now a new legislative proposal could radically change that mandate.”
Paula Szuchman writes at the Wall Street Journal: “. . . from Ohio State University. The research, published in the January issue of Developmental Psychology, found that couples where the father participates equally in traditional caregiving tasks, like preparing meals or giving baths (!!), tend to clash more than couples where the mother does a bigger share. Specifically, couples that strive for more equal co-parenting end up displaying “less supportive and more undermining co-parenting behavior toward each other,” the researchers found. But when the father spent more time playing with the kid, while the mom did more of the nuts-and-bolts caregiving, the couples had a “stronger, more supportive co-parenting relationship.”
WDAY.com: “It’s a bill starting to get a lot of attention in the North Dakota legislature: The debate over divorce. A group of North Dakota Republicans wants to require couples wanting to get a divorce wait one year and go through mandatory marriage counseling.”
Andrea Mrozek And Peter Jon Mitchell writing in the National Post: “In recent decades, Canadian public policy has made it more difficult for parents to be responsible for their families. It begins with the micro-management of the legal status of our households . . . No-fault divorce [resulted in] a fivefold spike in the divorce rate . . . Today’s smaller families mean we seldom learn from parents or grandparents who successfully raised large broods, so it’s easy to assume the experts have a better handle on our kids.”
Times of India: “Australian couples seeking divorce are now increasingly doing it through the Internet, with more than 250 people using an online service in almost 18 months.”
WLS Chicago: “A woman who is now married to a Hasidic Jew accuses her ex-husband of not following their custody agreement to support her religion.” | For background on this case, see this ADF Alliance Alert compound tag: http://www.alliancealert.org/tag/state-illinois+topic-child-custody/
Fox News / Live Shots: “Like many parents who home-school, Voydatch believes in the importance of teaching the basics of reading and writing. But she also believes in the importance of a religious education . . . ‘The judge,’ explained Simmons, ‘said that Amanda reflected her mother’s rigidity in matters of Faith, and that because of that rigidity she needed to be ordered into government run schools.’”
Nebraska City News-Press: “District Judge Randall Rehmeier Tuesday denied a divorce to a same-sex Nebraska City couple that was married in 2003 in Vermont. The judge said the Nebraska Constitution provides that ‘only marriage between a man and a woman shall be valid or recognized in Nebraska.’”
New York Times: “A new study reports that men whose parents divorced before they were 18 are two to three times as likely to seriously consider taking their own lives than men whose parents were not divorced by that age. Women whose parents divorced by age 18 were not affected as significantly. They, too, thought about suicide more often than other women, but the thoughts were explained by other traumatic experiences they’d had, like childhood abuse.”
Dallas Voice (“the premier media source for LGBT Texas”): “Attorney James ‘Jody’ Scheske confirmed Wednesday that his client, J.B., plans to appeal the August decision by the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, which ruled that gay couples can’t divorce in Texas because the state doesn’t recognize same-sex marriage.”
Canadian Press: “For more than a year, a Palestinian couple belonging to an Islamic sect rejected by many mainstream Muslims endured insults from some of their neighbours and even death threats while struggling to maintain a quiet existence in this West Bank town. As word spread about them, things got worse. A local Islamic court branded them apostates and dissolved their marriage. The couple, Mohammed and Samah Alawneh, now live in legal limbo.”
ChristianNewsWire: “California Healthy Marriages Coalition (CHMC) has released an unprecedented in-depth study, The State of California’s Unions — In the Pews and the Public Square. This is the first-ever report that looks at Californians’ views on marriage and divorce matters and compares them based on their self-described levels of religious activity . . . 32% of ‘Regular’ church-goers agree that ‘marriage is too risky’ due to the high chances of divorce.”
BBC: “A bill has been put forward in the Philippine Congress aimed at making it easier for poor people to get their marriages annulled.”
Reuters: “The Harris Interactive online poll of 2,019 adults released on Thursday showed 31 percent of American couples who have combined finances were not truthful about issues such as hiding cash or a bank account or about debt or earnings.”
MSNBC: “Major demographic changes, including a rise in divorce and more babies born to single moms, have contributed to the rise of the stepfamily over the past decades, the survey found. Overall, 42 percent of American adults have a step relative. Thirty percent of Americans have a step or half-sibling, 18 percent have a living stepparent, and 13 percent have a stepchild.”
Iona Institute: “Divorced people had the highest rate of hospitalisation in psychiatric units last year, according to new figures from the Health Research Board (HRB). The figures show that the rate of hospitalisation for divorced people was 115.9 per 100,000, nearly twice the national average of 66.3 per 100,000.”
Joyce Wadler writes at the NY Times: “Conventions change. A woman no longer earns a scarlet letter for having a child out of wedlock; divorce is not synonymous with scandal; and it is no surprise to find, when a marriage comes apart, that a third person was involved. But even in a sexually liberal culture, the home is still usually off-limits, as if protected by an invisible force field. And the marriage bed — a phrase that in itself seems quaintly out of date — remains a sacred object.”
OneNewsNow: “Voydatch’s attorney, John Anthony Simmons, an allied attorney with the Alliance Defense Fund, says the court modified the child’s school placement at the request of the father. ‘And the rationale that it used was that the child [and the mother] had religious beliefs . . . that were abhorrent to the father and that essentially were too narrow,’ says Simmons, ‘and that those opinions needed to be corrected . . .’”
Religion Clause: “The New Hampshire Supreme Court last week heard oral arguments (video of full arguments) in a divorce case that has gained national attention through the publicity given to it by groups that see it as an important religious freedom test.”
Andrew Cohen writing at Politics Daily: “Unfolding Thursday in Concord, N.H., was yet another chapter in the sad story of a family involved in a high-conflict divorce. It is the frustrating example of two parents fighting one another for control of their child’s education. And it is a compelling lesson about home schooling and public education, religion and the role of the courts, in determining a child’s course of learning . . . The judge had applied the wrong legal standard, the ADF attorneys argued, and the guardian was biased against Brenda and Amanda because of their deeply held religious beliefs.”
“An appellate court ruled today that Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott may not intervene in a Travis County same-sex divorce case, a finding that lets stand for now the divorce of two women who were married out of state but does not affect Texas’ ban on gay marriage.”
David and Amber Lapp writing at First Things: “A renewed society-wide resolve to strengthen marriage is not a matter of patricians ‘imposing’ their love of marriage on others who are resistant to marriage—it’s about helping those Americans who arguably value family the most realize their dreams of raising a flourishing, intact family. As Wilcox reports, 1993 data shows little variation by class in Americans agreeing that marriage is ‘very important’ or ‘one of the most important things to them’: 76 percent of Middle Americans agree, and 79 percent of upscale Americans agree.”
Kevin Staley-Joyce writing at First Things: “The inevitability of marriage’s decline . . . is as culturally invidious as it is philosophically fallacious. But hope and moral courage toward marriage are not the sort of virtues the culture encourages when its public discussion of marriage is colored by this politically expedient despair, and the blind and self-serving belief that being happy is the only thing that matters.”
New York Times: “Mr. Friedman, an Orthodox Jew, finds himself scrutinized in the Jewish press, condemned by important rabbis, and attacked in a YouTube video . . . [over] Mr. Friedman’s refusal to give his wife, Tamar Epstein, 27, a Jewish decree of divorce, known as a get . . . Although the majority of men in Jewish divorces grant their wives a get with little fuss, the husbands who refuse — it is estimated there are several hundred agunot in the United States today — can provoke a clash between religious folkways and secular divorce law.”
Religion Clause discusses the underlying tensions behind the New Year’s Eve bombing of the Coptic Church of the Saints in Alexandria, Egypt.
Danna Harman writing in The Huffington Post: “In Malta, divorce is illegal . . . For the vast majority of those separating Maltese couples, for whom neither an annulment or a foreign divorce is an option, the solution is to avoid the extra headache, heartache and expense and simply separate unofficially. Meaning, people move on with their lives: Leaving the family home, co-habitating with new partners, having new families, and yet all the while still married to their original partner.”
Emily V. Gordon writing at The Huffington Post: “When I started talking to friends about leaving my marriage, they would ask about how entangled our lives were, and I realized that they weren’t entangled… at all. Instead of feeling proud, I was horrified. It dawned on me that I might have been doing this wrong. As my (still-married) parents said to me at some point during my sad, bloodless divorce process, what’s the point of marriage if you’re not rolling up your sleeves and getting your hands dirty?”
Elizabeth Marquardt writing at The Huffington Post: “Young people from divorced families felt just as spiritual as those from intact families, but their spiritual journeys were more often characterized by loss and suffering. For children, there is a kind of elemental wholeness in being with both of your parents, an experience that evokes the place where God is present. That experience becomes foreign for children of divorce.”
Jerusalem Post: “Discrepancies between colloquial and literary Arabic may have far-reaching legal ramifications in Egypt. Egypt may have the highest divorce rate in the Arab world, but that might be moot if a new ruling by the country’s senior jurists goes into effect. Sheikh ‘Ali Goma’a, Grand Mufti of Egypt, found in a recent study that the Egyptian mispronunciation of the Arabic word for ‘divorced’ may nullify the action, meaning the couple was still legally married.”
Wall Street Journal Law Blog: “On Wednesday, a state lawyer argued before an appeals court on Wednesday that a District Judge Scott Jenkins violated state law when he granted a divorce earlier this year to a same-sex couple. Click here for the story, from the Austin American-Statesman. James Blacklock, a lawyer in the attorney general’s appellate division, said that Texas law forbids any action that recognizes or validates a same-sex marriage granted in another state, even if the point of the action is to dissolve such a marriage.”
Theodore Dalrymple writing in The Salisbury Review: “There are few human types less attractive, surely, than failed materialists, which is what the British, or at least so many of them, now are. They consume without discrimination what they have not earned . . . Benedict’s ‘crime,’ apart from being German, goes much further than his failure (or worse his refusal) to screen out the unpleasant consequences of consumerist materialism from his vision . . . In other words, Benedict XVI presents not a challenge to this or that piece of social policy, but to a whole Weltanschauung. And hell hath no fury like a questionable Weltanschauung questioned.”
Dr. Jeff Mirus writing at CatholicCulture.org: “We must always remember that there is a great difference between a person afflicted with same-sex attraction who is sincerely seeking the best way to deal with it, and a movement which insists that same-sex attraction be recognized as good, and the resulting life-style wholeheartedly endorsed. Within such a movement, credibility depends first and foremost on agreement.”
Zenit: “A report just published found that the middle class is experiencing increased levels of divorce and unmarried mothers, and that marriage problems are not limited to people with lower levels of education and income. The 2010 edition of The State of Our Unions, ‘When Marriage Disappears: The Retreat from Marriage in Middle America,’ was released on Monday. It is a joint effort by the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia and the Center for Marriage and Families at the Institute for American Values.”
Middle class Americans more likely to divorce, but does that make the affluent champions of marriage?
W. Bradford Wilcox writing at Conservative Home: “[I]n high-rent urban neighborhoods and the prosperous suburbs of the nation’s major cities, divorce is down, marital satisfaction remains high, and nonmarital childbearing is still an exotic activity. It is not upscale America but Middle America that is experiencing marital troubles. From small towns in the heartland to working class suburbs outside of the nation’s major cities, divorce, marital dissatisfaction, and nonmarital childbearing are on the rise. In a word, marriage is in much better shape among Whole Foods regulars than it is among Walmart shoppers.”
At the Front Porch Republic, Patrick Deneen objects [to a Ross Douthat NYT column that makes an argument similar to Wilcox's]: “[W]e should be suspicious particularly of the gap between how the highly educated are living . . . First, I think there is good reason to think that the ‘highly educated’ have come to support marriage because of growing evidence that marriage is a net benefit for one’s economic bottom line . . . What might be a growing commitment to marriage among a segment of the college-educated class is generally not accompanied by a commitment to the idea of sexual self-control and the felt-need for a broader culture that would support such a commitment; rather, it could be argued that marriage is the conclusion of a long period of serial partnerships and sexual experimentation that colors more broadly the view of the highly-educated. If marriage is good for one’s bottom line, better to put it off until one has tasted the hedonistic pleasures of Babylon before settling down in Greenwich. Yet, both decisions are born of a hedonistic calculus – first the benefits of guilt-free sexual experimentation, and then the pleasures of guilt-free Wall Street bonus checks.”
New York Times: “[A] lawyer referred her to Balance Point Divorce Funding, a new Beverly Hills lender that offers to cover the cost of breaking up — paying a lawyer, searching for hidden assets, maintaining a lifestyle — in exchange for a share of the winnings . . . So far, the number of companies investing in divorce is small — Balance Point is one of the few that do it exclusively. But other businesses are gearing up.”
Ken McIntyre writing at The Heritage Foundation / The Foundry: “In a pleasant surprise, a startling new report on the ‘disappearance of marriage’ is getting serious attention from liberal media outlets. It’s a good day for the American family when NPR, CNN and The New York Times all take note of a study warning that divorce, childbearing outside marriage and single parenthood have become the norm—imperiling not only the wellbeing of children but the American Dream itself.”
DW-World.de: “EU justice ministers have paved the way for European divorce regulations aimed at simplifying the legal process of divorce for binational couples. If adopted, the new rules would take effect in 2012.”
News.com.au: “THE global financial crisis cost people their homes, livelihoods, savings and even their marriages with tough times blamed for a sharp increase in divorces.”
Elizabeth Marquardt writing at The Huffington Post: “Those who are sanguine about widespread divorce like to say that divorce is just a temporary crisis, that family members bounce back after a couple of years ready to start a fresh journey. But governments around the world, lonely aging persons, and grown children of divorce struggling with whether to care for and how to grieve their divorced parents are telling us that the results of family breakdown are far more dramatic and lasting.”
Wintery Knight: “This is timely, at a time where I am considering whether I would do more good supporting Christian/conservative groups on campus as an assistant professor or as a free speech lawyer defending campus groups from student governments. No one is better at these kinds of issues than the ADF. Here’s the article.”