Interesting how gays and lesbians are now the mainstream, and marriage proponents are now "radicals"
Marriage is NOT only a religious issue. Here in Europe the norm is to have two separate marriages - a civil wedding at city hall (which is required) followed by a religious wedding at a church or wherever (the religious wedding is optional). The religious wedding means nothing at all to the state. The rights provided by marriage, such as inheritance, tax rates, etc. are based upon the civil marriage.
It is a well-proven fact that children raised in a home with both married parents present have a better chance than those brought up by single or divorced parents. Ideally, this would include one parent staying home to look after the kid, making sure homework is done, that he stays out of trouble, etc.. I know that sounds a bit like Leave it to Beaver
, but those are the facts.
Given that poor upbringing is the root cause of much of the crime in the U.S., it makes sense that government should promote in every way it can the concept of marriage and, just as importantly, the undesirability of divorce.
I would support granting a drastically different tax regime which would segregate the married and divorced/Unmarried state, where, for example, If a single person at a certain level of income (never been married) pays 30%, a married person would pay 20%, and a divorced person would pay 40%. I might even suggest that people who get divorced twice or more should be penalized even more. This would provide a real incentive to stick to your spouse, even if sometimes the going gets tough. Divorces granted for real causes, such as physical beatings, could be exempted.
Let's face it, most of the time, divorces are granted for the most childish and selfish reasons. Today's culture has become one of gratification, preferably of the immediate sort, and as soon as "the magic has gone", or your spouse simply isn't as much fun any more, or you find a girl that gives better head, and off you go to a divorce lawyer. Where is the concept of commitment? Where has the concept of remaining faithful to your word gone? When you get married, you promised "till death do us part, for better or worse, for richer or poorer" etc. etc.. You made that promise to another person, and, if you are religious, you made that promise before God himself. If you are unable or unwilling to keep your solemn oaths, I say you are worthless. A man with no value in his word is not a man.
I'm a married man, and I cannot say that all has been roses. Our marriage has suffered in the loss of a child, through a couple of job losses, arguments, crazy in-laws, and some violent tempers. I wished to have another child, but my wife, unfortunately, is medically unable to have anymore. I have, I admit, thought at times that I might be happier divorcing my wife and starting my life afresh with someone else. But it always comes down to the fact that I made a promise, and I will stick to it whatever happens. I may not have the happiest, freshest and most exciting marriage in the world, but at least I have my self-respect, and will continue to have it. My word is my bond, and I will never give it lightly.
In the end, it is worth it. Our surviving daughter, who previously we thought would end up in a very bad way, is turning out well, and I am extremely pleased by that. That in itself has made a lot of the old arguments and fights (often over how to raise our daughter) moot, which in turn has lifted a lot of the strain that used to exist. Knowing that she (probably our lives' most important task) is OK
allows my wife and I to enjoy our relationship more, quiet evenings, the feeling of never being left alone, and the knowledge that neither one of us will abandon the other, especially after all we've been through.
Such a feeling is unknown to those who marry and divorce on a whim. Hollywood types are famous for it. I think it's because they are rich and are so used to having everything the way they want the way they want it. You bored with the mansion? Buy another one. You bored with the Ferrari? Buy an Aston-Martin. Bored with the wife? Get another one (with bigger tits!). And we, the great unwashed public, read all about in the tabloids, or see it on TV
, and over time it has sunk into our heads that it is OK
to divorce when you longer have all the excitement of a newlywed.
As George Carlin once said, when he heard someone say "My needs aren't being met", he said, "Drop some of your needs". Marriage is a commitment, with great influence over the happiness of your children (for which YOU are responsible until adulthood - not the daycare center, not the school, etc.) If your kid spends all his spare time getting into trouble, keying cars, tagging walls, and eventually more serious mischief, it is YOUR fault. You need to handle that responsibility by making sure he has a proper home, with all the encouragement, support, discipline, education and love that he needs.
So I say, give people a good incentive to marry, and an even stronger incentive to stay married. The tax system would be a good starting point. Again, marriage and divorce are strongly tied with the health of the future generations, so I believe that government should do all it can to promote solid families.
[Edited 2004-01-19 19:55:16]
The only thing you should feel when shooting a terrorist: Recoil.