The facts are very basic.
Separate from the topic of marriage laws, are the marriage trends observed. In the article, The World Historical Transformation of Marriage, by Stephanie Coontz, she provides a list of various different ways in which marriage is different today than it was during our parents' or grandparents' eras. While her list focuses solely on the institution of marriage, I argue that these new marriage trends she lists are creating negative effects for children. I argue, this is due to the lack of focus by the government on restricting who has the right to reproduce or parent.
The issue here, which the government and researchers love to focus on, is not the sexuality or even gender of the parents, but it is the legal gains related to children that are being abused more and more by the newly benefitting unmarried couples. Do not get me wrong, though. For excellent parents who, for whatever reason, are not currently married, these legal gains provided for them are a very positive and necessary resource. Yet, sadly, it occurring more and more that unmarried couples, single parents, or non parents are reversing the system and are illegally collecting government gains intended for people who have children and legitimately have a right to and need the aid.Examples of potential legal gains and rights offered by the government can include food stamps, Cash Aids, medicaid, tax rebates, healthcare benefits, Welfare, and foster care benefits.
An example of this corruption in the system is the news story, Welfare Fraud Crackdown, where a man faced multiple felony charges in New York for illegally receiving food stamps and Medicaid benefits.
Pictures to the right: Movies such as "The proposal" and "License to Wed" show examples of two couples experiencing background checks in order to be able to legally married. If background checks are done on couples before marriage to check their legitimacy, then why are they not done before unmarried couples have a child?
Another solution is to screen benefits more carefully so that government benefits are only going to the families with parents in true need of benefits and that they will use the money, for example, to benefit the child.
The problem with this reason is that if mothers and fathers have the intention of getting married anyways when they reach their mid twenties, wouldn't it benefit the child/children greatly if they grew up in a family with a mother and father now? Now, I am not saying that single parents are bad parents, but rather I am claiming that many single parents struggle to provide fully financially, emotionally, etc to their child. Also, research tells us that majority of single parents end up at or below the poverty level, hence not providing as well as they would be able to if they chose to move the marriage up a few years (Edin).
While I am all for strong women and doing what you need to do for yourself without a man, I am also very passionate about equal visitation rights, especially for fathers. The problem with the above reason is that the focus, again, is not on the children, but rather only is on the mother. It is very possible that unemployed men that make bad husbands, can actually make excellent fathers. There would not be so many legal struggles for fathers fighting for their visitation rights if they didn't legitimately love their children and if it wasn't proven that a father's presence in a child's life is vital.
Bilotta, Larry. "Statistics about Children and Divorce." BBB. Web. 07 Nov. 2011.
Coontz, Stephanie. "The World Historical Transformation of Marriage." Journal of Marriage and Family 66.4 (2004): 974-79. Print.
Dornbusch, Sanford M. "Single Parents, Extended Households, and the Control of Adolescents." Child Development. 2nd ed. Vol. 6. Jstor. Web. 05 Nov. 2011.
Edin, Kathryn. "What Do Low-Income Single Mothers Say about Marriage?" Social Problems 47.1 (2000): 112-33. Print.
"Families and Living Arrangements, Formerly Households and Families." Census Bureau Home Page. U.S. Census Bureau, Housing and Household Economic Statistics Division. Web. 07 Nov. 2011.
"Marriage Rights and Benefits." Lawyers, Legal Forms, Law Books & Software, Free Information - Nolo. Nolo.com. Web. 07 Nov. 2011.
"State by State Government Assistance Programs For Pregnant Women, Mothers and Children." Adoption Services. Web. 5 Nov. 2011.
"Your Path to Government Benefits." Benefits.gov - Your Path to Government Benefits. USA.gov. Web. 07 Nov. 2011.