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"Speak Now or Forever Hold Your Peace": On the Communal Nature of Marriage
 

 

by Allan Carlson, Ph.D.

A Family Policy Lecture for the Family Research Council, Washington, DC, 18 February 2004

As current events in San Francisco remind us, confusion over the meaning of marriage has given new energy to the idea of "freedom to marry."  The concept takes several forms.  As one Massachusetts advocate of a pluralistic bent has phrased it, "the right to love and to celebrate our relationships, in whatever form they take, is a fundamental human right that should be protected."[1]  As a Coloradan of a more libertarian persuasion puts it, "to be licensed by a bunch of bureaucrats for the most private and sacred act of marriage--that's demeaning.  It's simply none of the government's business whom I marry."[2]  Related takes on this concept include "The Marriage Resolution" put forward by the group appropriately called "Freedom to Marry" and now being put into effect in San Francisco:

Because marriage is a basic human right and an individual choice,
RESOLVED, the State should not interfere with same-gender couples who choose to marry and share fully and equally in the rights, responsibilities, and commitment of civil marriage.[3]

At most, in this view, the government's role is simply to register those couples freely entering civil marriage, so they might qualify for the benefits and public blessing involved.

My argument today is that the appeal to freedom here is false and misleading: Rather than an expression of true liberty, the phrase, “Freedom to Marry” is "libertine" in effect, an invitation to social disorder.  The "freedom to marry" idea presupposes that marriage is a private event, an arrangement by and for the couple.  It presumes that marriage exists to recognize their love and promise of devotion to each other, to bless their companionship, but no more.  The one promised public benefit, in this otherwise privatized and minimalist view of marriage, is reduced promiscuity by the sexual pair.

And yet, the very nature of the average wedding event belies such a narrow view of marriage.  The boisterous celebration mounted, the gathering of kith and kin, of friends and neighbors, of former teachers and co-workers, and the feast spread out traditionally by the bride's parents: these testify to more than an end to promiscuity or public recognition of a love affair.  The wedding is a communal event, where various levels of community find their own renewal and hope.  Focusing only on the needs of the couple ignores the communitarian nature of true marriage and the claims of these others on each marriage.

In the traditional Christian wedding service, there was the time when the minister would pause and ask the congregation: "Does anyone here know a reason why this man and this woman should not be joined together?  If so, speak now or forever hold your peace."  This has been the moment which acknowledged the "community's" interest in the wedding, where persons could assert themselves to prevent a marriage that threatened broader relationships.  It reminded the marrying couple, as well, that their vows were not only between themselves, but were also made with concentric rings of others holding as well a vested interest in the making and preservation of this marriage.

What are these concentric rings of others…of community?  And why do they also have a claim on each true marriage?  I want to explore five today: (1) the community of potential parents with their unborn children; (2) kin or extended family; (3) the neighborhood; (4) the community of faith; and (5) the nation as community.

So first:  THE COMMUNITY OF PARENTS AND THEIR UNBORN CHILDREN

Grievous challenges to the institution of marriage are nothing new.  The Soviet Bolsheviks waged war on marriage and home for the first two decades of the Russian Revolution, 1917-36.  A century and a quarter earlier, the Jacobins of The French Revolution also sought to tear down marriage laws resting on traditional principles.  The proposed French Civil Code of 1801, for example, promised "freedom to marry" and easy divorce.  Ignoring both Christian thought and the evidence of all history, the radical authors of this measure argued that "what marriage itself is was previously unknown, and it is only in recent times that men have acquired precise ideas on marriage."   Building on the thought of Jean-Jacques Rousseau, the architects of the 1801 Code urged that marriage be made "natural," by which they meant animalistic, subject to the ebb and flow of the passions.  Marriage, as such, should be easy to enter and easy to leave.

Louis de Bonald, a statesman and a founder of modern social science, rose in defense of traditional marriage.  His extraordinary 1801 book, titled in English translation On Divorce, remains a most valuable resource in helping sort out issues regarding marriage.  It defends traditional marriage through an appeal to reason and the natural order. 

Bonald's first task was to clarify "that marriage, in itself and at bottom, has always been a civil, religious, and physical act at once."  He then set out to rescue the label, "natural," from the disciples of Rousseau.  Marriage was, in fact, both divine and human, he said:

…[I]t derives from the constitution of our being, of our nature, and is a natural act: for the true nature of man and the real constitution of his being consist in natural relationships with his being's author [i.e., God], and in natural relationships, both moral and physical, with his fellows.[4]

Marriage attracted the attention of civil legislators, in Bonald's view, because it was "the founding act of domestic society, whose interests should be guaranteed by civil authority."  But this domestic society did not really rest on the needs or desires of the spouses: "the end of marriage is…not the happiness of the spouses, if by happiness one understands an idyllic pleasure of the heart and senses."  Rather:

[T]he end of marriage is the reproduction and, above all, the conservation of man, since this conservation cannot, in general, take place outside of marriage, or without marriage.

By "conservation," Bonald meant the care, rearing, education, and protection of children, which he believed could occur successfully only in the married-couple home.

If pleasure or happiness was the goal of marriage, then the civil authority had no business being involved.  Instead:

[P]olitical power only intervenes in the spouse's contract of union because it represents the unborn child, which is the sole object of marriage, and because it accepts the commitment made by the spouses in its presence and under its guarantee to bring that child into being.

In effect, a marriage "is truly a contract between three persons, two of whom are present, one of whom (the [potential] child) is absent, but is represented by public power, guarantor of the commitment made by the two spouses to form a society."

This also explained why civil marriage was restricted to heterosexual pairs: "Political power cannot guarantee the stability of the domestic persons without knowing them; hence, the necessity of the civil act, which makes known the commitment of the man and woman, and of the birth certificate, which makes known the father, mother, and child."  Bonald understood that public policy on marriage must be built on this ideal family structure, and not on some lowest common denominator “of the heart and the senses.”

Bonald also explained why the marriage of a man and a woman who proved infertile, or unable to create a child, remained valid.  Many of the French Revolution's philosophers worried about the size of the French population, and called for easy divorce in cases of fertility so that new pairings of men and women might be tried to produce the needed children for war.  Bonald replied:

…whatever importance may be attached to population by these great depopulators of the universe; they would doubtless not dare to maintain that in human marriages one should, as on stud farms, proceed by trial.

In short, government should not be in the business of fertility tests.  Rather, it should understand the potential fertility of all male-female bonds (perhaps even modern ones via the petri dish) and the powerful positive effects on children of the complementarity of man and woman.  The state then holds together the potential or actual parents for the sake of good "conservation" of the potential or actual child.[5]

The Second Community Circle:  EXTENDED FAMILY, OR KIN

Each marriage is also a covenant between the couple and their kin.  In marriage, two families merge in a manner that perpetuates and invigorates both.  It is true that issues of property are not as prevalent in a wedding today as they were, say, 500 years ago.  But the great chain of being, binding the living to ancestors and to posterity, remains as important as ever.  Every wedding of young people forges a new link in that chain, for the family's future still rests in their potential fertility.  Even today, family members will travel great distances to attend the wedding of a cousin, nephew, or niece, still acknowledging the importance of both the promise and the event itself to their own identity and continuity.  As President Theodore Roosevelt once wrote, a people existed only as its “sons and daughters thought of life not as something concerned only with the selfish evanescence of the individual, but as a link in the great chain of creation and causation [forged by] the vital duties and the high happiness of family life.”[6]  Indeed: “the great chain of creation and causation” over the generations appeared, link by link, through new marriage.

Marriage also serves as the natural solution to human society’s dependency problem.  Just as marriage brings forth and cares for new life, it also creates bonds and obligations that provide care for the very old, the weak, and the infirm.  In a society with a culture of true marriage, these tasks fall on kin networks, where the aged or disabled can receive care, purpose, and respect; and where kin insure that no family member falls through the extended family’s safety net.  It is again the chain of fertility—child, parent, grandparent, blood kin—that brings to fruition these natural sentiments of intergenerational care.  Where a culture of marriage fails, these tasks pass to the public purse, to government, at huge expense. 

Indeed, a common goal of the contemporary women’s movement and modern socialism has been to replace the bonds of marriage and kin with a universal dependence on the welfare state.  The feminist analyst Carol Pateman argues that women’s growing dependence on the state is a logical corollary to feminist goals, and a stimulus to state entitlements as a substitute for family-centered care.  Frances Piven stresses the “large and important relationship” of women to the welfare state as direct employees of its program, noting that nearly three-quarters of government welfare jobs are held by women.  Put another way: less true marriage means more government.[7]

The Third Circle:  THE COMMUNITY OF THE NEIGHBORHOOD

Neighbors and friends also have a deep interest in nurturing and preserving true marriage.  For some reason, this attribute of marriage seems best captured by fiction and poetry.  I still recall a powerful telling of this truth by the National Public Radio humorist Garrison Keillor.  About twenty years ago, during the first—and in my opinion the best—iteration of his show, “Prairie Home Companion,” he told the story of receiving a letter from an old friend, now a professor of sociology at a Midwestern college.  This friend was married and had several small children; but on the Spring day recorded, he was sitting on the front porch of his home, going for the weekend to a sociologists’ convention in a nearby city.  Picking him up in her convertible would be the newest member of the department, a beautiful young woman with a new Ph.D.  They had flirted with each other over the prior few months and “the sweet prospects of adultery” that weekend were on his mind.  But as he sat, waiting for her to arrive, he heard his wife’s voice, as she cared for the baby, and saw his young son playing with the children next door.  And he saw his neighbors at work in their yards or playing catch with their own children.  The web of relationships in his neighborhood broke into his mind with a burning clarity.  His quest for pleasure, he recognized, would rip not only through his own marriage and home, but through this neighborhood, shattering friendships, creating doubts and fears in children, tearing apart the bonds of responsibility and care that surrounded a people living in one place.  His faithlessness would affect not only his wife and children, but in a way all wives and all children.  Stung by this revelation, he stood up, lifted his suitcase, walked inside, kissed his startled wife, and unpacked his bag.

The Kentucky poet Wendell Berry, in his collection A Timbered Choir: The Sabbath Poems, underscores how each couple on their wedding day renew their place on earth, their community:

Again, hope dreams itself
Awake.  The year’s first lambs
Cry in the morning dark.
And, after all, we have
A garden in our minds.

We living know the worth
Of all the dead have done
Or hoped to do.  We know
That hearts, against their doom
Must plight an ancient troth.

Now come the bride and groom,
Now come the man and woman
Who must begin again
The work divine and human
By which we live on earth.[8]

Berry explains that the bride and groom “say their vows to the community as much as to one another, and the community gathers around them to hear and to wish them well, on their behalf and on its own.”[9]  In his wonderful short story, “A Jonquil for Mary Penn,” Berry uses a rural Kentucky setting to explain how a young marriage merges into a neighborhood:

“[O]n rises of ground or tucked into folds were the grey, paintless buildings of the farmsteads, connected to one another by lanes and paths.  Now [Mary Penn] thought of herself as belonging there, not just because of her marriage to Elton but also because of the economy that the two of them had made around themselves and their neighbors.  She had learned to think of herself as living and working at the center of a wonderful provisioning:…the little commerce of giving and taking that spoked along paths connecting her household to the others.”[10]

And in a poem addressed to his wife, Tanya, on their 31st anniversary, the poet illuminates how their marriage encompasses “many others”—neighbors, friends, kin, and posterity:

Another year has returned us
to the day of our marriage
thirty one years ago.  Many times
we have known, and again forgot
in our cruel separateness,
that making touch that feelingly
persuades us what we are:
one another’s and many others….

How strange to think of children
yet to come, into whose making we
will be made, who will not know us
even so little as we know
ourselves, who have already gone
so far beyond our own recall.[11]

Marriage and its fruit, children, bind us to neighborhood, space, and time, giving substance to our loyalties toward “a place on earth.”  Berry writes: 

“Come into the dance of the community, joined
in a circle, hand in hand, the dance of the eternal love of women and men for one another
and of neighbors and friends for one another.”[12]

The Fourth Circle:  THE COMMUNITY OF FAITH

In Western Europe before the Reformation, governments were not usually engaged in the registration and regulation of marriage.  This was left to the One, Holy, and Catholic Christian Church, centered in Rome.  Church marriage courts handled disputes and considered cases for potential annulment.  With marriage deemed a sacrament, grounded in Divine mystery, divorce was an impossibility.  In nations, and then a civilization, with only one recognized church, this structure worked reasonably well.

The Protestant movement of the 16th Century shook the system to its core.  On the one hand, the Reformers argued that there was no Biblical warrant for considering marriage a Christian sacrament and—where they held sway—abolished church marriage courts.  They also reasoned that the Gospel text allowed for divorce in cases of adultery, with remarriage possible for the offended spouse.  On the other hand, they said that marriage was a spiritual bond superior to all other natural arrangements, including the celibacy practiced by the Catholic priesthood and in holy orders.  In Martin Luther’s words, marriage was the highest of estates, “the real religious order on earth,” divinely ordained, “pleasing to God and precious in his sight,” designed to fulfill God’s ordinance, “Be fruitful and multiply.”  The Reformers called on rulers to govern marriage through Biblical principles and to punish those who offended Christian morality.[13]  And for three or four centuries, one could conclude that their system also worked reasonably well. 

Still, as one Catholic writer, R.V. Young, has summarized, Protestantism enhanced marriage in social status and “as a means of personal companionship and individual, earthly happiness, but in desacramentalizing it, lowered its resistance to the pressures of the secular world.”[14] 

Indeed, strains and disorders were evident by the middle decades of the 19th Century.  In Britain and America, for example, divorce had remained rare until then.  A special act of Parliament, or by a state legislature in America, had been required for divorce, underscoring the grave and rare natures of the act.  Yet a great loosening of divorce laws began around 1850, as the process was transferred to civil courts. 

In the 20th Century, this disorder fed into the “no-fault” divorce revolution of the 1960’s and ‘70’s.  Despite changes during the prior century, until then the notion of “fault-based” divorce had still underscored the public nature of marriage.  Adultery, desertion, or cruelty had to be proved.  This institution was still something larger that the will and emotions of the spouses; the public interest dictated that “fault” be determined, before society would relinquish its claims on the couple’s vow.  Indeed, divorce still had something of the quality of a crime against the social order.  But as the American states embraced “no fault,” they unwittingly destroyed the last remnants of the Protestant scheme: that is, the expectation that rulers and judges would govern marriage by Christian principles, broadly defined. 

All the same, the issue has not yet died.  The “covenant marriage” movement of the last half-decade has sought, with some success, to restore to law elements of both the public interest in marital stability and Christian covenantal thinking.  More directly, some individuals have begun to challenge the “no fault” divorce regime as a violation of religious liberty; or, put another way, as a violation of the implicit agreement reached between church and state back in the 16th Century.  Specifically, in September, 2000, I testified as an expert witness in Harris County, Texas, Family Court in the case of Waite v. Waite.  Here, the wife, Margaret Waite, had filed unilaterally for divorce, claiming under the 1970 Texas “no fault” statute that she had “irreconcilable differences” with her husband which destroyed “the legitimate ends of the marital relationship.”  However, husband Daniel Waite objected to the divorce, arguing that the 1970 law had abrogated the Christian principle of covenant marriage and had so violated his religious liberty.  Eighty-seven percent of persons marry in churches, he argued.  In assuming authority to govern marriages, the state of Texas also took on the duty to protect the covenantal religious nature of the bond.  “No fault” divorce violated that obligation.[15] 

Despite my own best efforts on the witness stand, the family court judge denied Mr. Waite’s claims.  He took the case to an Appeals Court, where he again lost.  This time, though, the vote on the three judge panel was 2 to 1.  That is, one Appeals Justice—Kem Thompson Frost—agreed with Mr. Waite’s contention that the state had an obligation to protect the religious covenant in marriage, and that “no fault” divorce violated the religious liberty provision of the Texas Constitution.  This was, in a way, a legal breakthrough.  More will be heard from this argument in the future, I predict.

Some now argue, as well, that marriage should be completely privatized: that government should get out of the matrimony business, and return the process to religion.  Well, this could work if the United States had one church—as in Medieval Europe—and granted that church the police powers needed to enforce its rulings in the inevitable disputes.  Or “privatization” could work if the government agreed to enforce the disparate marital rules of each religious faith on its members: ‘Indissoluble marriage’ among Roman Catholics; up to ‘Four Wives’ among Muslims; temple marriages for all eternity among the Mormons; divorce only for the victims of adultery among the Lutherans (after which, Martin Luther actually recommended executing the former spouse who had committed the adultery); and creative divorce among the Unitarians.  Or “privatization” could work if marriage was stripped of all legal, economic, and social status, existing merely as a symbolic act of friendship.  But the first two possibilities are, quite frankly, impossible in the current American context.  And the third possibility would undo the very essence of marriage, making the whole exercise moot.  This “privatization” idea, I believe, can be safely cast aside.

The Fifth Circle:  THE NATION AS COMMUNITY

The nation also has a claim on the marital pair.  Simply put, the future of every people comes through the cradles found in married-couple homes.  The case of the European peoples is instructive here, where a dramatic decline in fertility since 1970 has been accompanied by—even led by—a fall in the marriage rate.  Consider, for example, these representative nations:

 

Marriage & Fertility

 Total First Marriage Rate* Total Fertility Rate**
Prior Year     2003 % 1970-75 2000-2005 % Change
Ireland 1.04 (1974) .59 -43% 3.8 1.9 -50%
Italy   .97 (1974) .61 -31% 2.3 1.2 -48%
Spain 1.01 (1974) .59 -42% 2.9 1.2 -59%
Norway  .80 (1975) .54 -33% 2.2 1.8 -18%
Australia .78 (1976) .60 -23% 2.5 1.7 -32%
Canada .81 (1975) .64 -21% 2.0 1.5 -25%
*The total first marriage rate, on the left, estimates the proportion of women who would have ever married by age 50 if age-specific first marriage rates in a given year applied throughout life. A figure of 1.0 suggests that all members of a generation would marry. Since this rate is sensitive to changes in the timing of marriage, it may exceed 1.0 in certain years.

**The Total Fertility Rate calculates the average number of children born per woman over the course of a generation if age specific fertility rates in a given year applied over their whole reproductive lives. A figure of 2.1 just insures the replacement of a population.

 

These numbers show that, as traditional marriage fades, there will be a paucity of children and a diminished nation.  The retreat from true marriage and the retreat from children go together.  Also, if the children that are born appear outside of traditional marriage, their prospects for productive lives sharply diminish, just as the odds that they will become public charges—as welfare recipients or as prisoners—grow.  These facts of household life are now indisputable, and give support to a preferential option for traditional marriage by the nation-state, be it evidenced through marriage-sensitive tax provisions, welfare policy, or simple marriage law.

This was, of course, once understood in this land.  As the U.S. Supreme Court put the matter back in 1888, in its famed Maynard decision, marriage is

…something more than a mere contract.  It is an institution, in the maintenance of which in its purity the public is deeply interested, for it is the foundation of society.[16]

Eighty-four years later, though, the Court grew strangely blind to this deep national interest, arguing instead in Eisenstadt v. Baird that:

…the marital couple is not an independent entity with a heart and mind of its own, but an association of two individuals each with a separate intellectual and emotional make up.[17]

This view proved consistent, too, with the logic of no-fault divorce, which also denied the public’s interest in wedlock.

Indeed, it is through an analysis of divorce that we can better understand the public nature of marriage.  After all, divorce is merely the backside of marriage.  Legally, the marital covenant is only as strong as the provisions which govern an exit from its terms. 

It seems useful to note here that “no fault” divorce is actually no new idea, nor some inevitable result of social evolution or modernity.  Rather, it seems to be a standing temptation for any society or era.  For men, at least, “no fault” was the rule in Old Testament times.  Much later, a forceful advocate for “no fault” was none other than the great 17th Century English, Christian poet, John Milton.  Predictably, his views were shaped by his own troubled marriage.  In 1642, when he was 34 years of age, Milton traveled to Oxfordshire to confer on a debt owed to his father by one Richard Powell.  A month later, Milton returned to his London home with a bride, 17 year-old Mary Powell, daughter of the debtor.  The marriage quickly developed problems: a husband twice the age of his wife; a young bride who missed her boisterous childhood home; and political differences.  Civil War was about to descend on England: the Powells were staunchly Royalist, while the Miltons stood for Parliament.  After Mary went back for a visit with her parents, she refused to return to her husband.

Milton grew enraged.  He authored four pamphlets on divorce, arguing for quick dissolution of a marriage on the grounds of incompatibility and for a right to remarry.  Sounding like a modern advocate for “Freedom to Marry,” Milton took a minimalist view of marriage’s purpose:  “in God’s intention a meet and happy conversation is the chiefest and noblest end of marriage.”  Wedlock existed to make people happy by dispelling loneliness through companionship.  If unhappiness resulted, the union should be dissolved: “Love in marriage cannot live or subsist, unless it be mutual; and where love cannot be, there can be left of wedlock nothing, but the empty husk of an outside matrimony.”  Indeed, he said, there was a moral duty to terminate an empty marriage.  And the state must not interfere, for “to interpose a jurisdictive power upon the inward and irremediable disposition of man, to command love and sympathy, to forbid dislike against the guiltless instinct of nature, is not within the province of any law to reach.”[18] 

As a postscript, I note that Mary did finally return to her husband in 1645 and they found a certain happiness.  Moreover, John Milton would rescue his in-laws from impoverishment after the Royalist cause in Oxfordshire was crushed by the armies of Parliament.  So true marriage works, to bind up the wounds and heal the divisions even of nations torn by civil war. 

It is also possible to calculate, using hard numbers, the nation’s profound interest in marriage if we use the negative calculus of divorce. 

To begin with, we know that one measurable cost of “no fault” divorce has been more divorce.  Advocates of this change during the 1960’s and 1970’s always claimed that their goal was simply to remove acrimony from the divorce process, for the good of all concerned.  Divorce rates were already climbing and, in the words of one prominent sociologist, “the adoption of no-fault divorce was a late and largely redundant step in the lowering of moral, social, and legal barriers to divorce.”  However, more careful research analyzing divorce trends in 34 states for the 10 years before and after the introduction of “no fault,” found that this legal innovation “contributed directly to more divorce or sooner divorces than would have happened otherwise.”  The researchers even calculate that “57,000 extra divorces” occur each year in the U.S. due directly to the no-fault revolution.[19]

Second, we can also count the effects of divorce on children, Bonald’s “third party” in the marriage that the states no longer really protect.  Specifically:

  • The children of divorce have significantly more health problems than children in intact homes.[20]

  • The children of divorce have much higher incidences of depression, fear of abandonment, and delinquency.[21]

  • The children of divorce are more likely to drop out of high school and less likely to graduate from college than are children in intact homes, even when compared to families losing a father through death.[22]

  • And the children of divorce are more likely to engage in pre-marital sex at a young age, to become parents before marriage, and to need psychological help.[23]

Of course, the costs imposed by divorce on young lives can never adequately be added up.  Who can put a value on the diminished hopes of even one child’s life? 

But it turns out that we can put a dollar figure on the costs of divorce that accrue to the public at large.  David Schramm, a family economist at Utah State University, shows in a 2003 study that divorce imposes a heavy financial burden on all taxpayers.  Direct costs to the state include increased Medicaid expenses, child support enforcement, funds for Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF), food stamps, and public housing assistance.  Indirect costs include increased incarceration in prisons, more elderly persons without spousal support, and greater illegal drug use.  Using careful (and probably low) assumptions, Schramm calculates that “the ‘average’ divorce costs state and federal governments $30,000.”  In a given year, the total is $33.3 billion for the nation as a whole, or $312 for each American household.  In crude, materialistic terms, this public cost of divorce underscores the profound social interest in marriage.[24]

In sum, marriage is a social and communal, rather than a private, event.  Alongside the marital couple, it engages at least five levels of community: the unborn or potential children; extended family or kin; the neighborhood; the religious communion; and the nation.  This civil institution exists for the propagation of children and for their “conservation” through nurture, education, and protection.  Only the union of man and woman can properly fulfill both of these tasks.  Public policy toward marriage must assume and build on this ideal structure, rather than on some lowest common denominator of the passions.  All five levels of community have a deep and compelling interest in the formation and preservation of true marriages.  And the wise government lifts up obstacles and checks on divorce, for its real costs will fall on vulnerable children and the community at large.

So-called “same sex” marriages trivialize the true institution, for these unions are unable to meet the two ends of marriage: the propagation and conservation of children.  Concerning propagation, these pairings are sterile by definition.  When they do claim children, it is usually through either the trauma of divorce or the unnatural and sometimes dangerous manipulation of the laboratory.  Moreover, these pairings cannot effect proper conservation of children, for again by definition they exclude either man or woman, so denying the complementarity of the sexes on which the good nurturing home rests.

And so, on that day when, perhaps, an Episcopalian priest in, perhaps, a Massachusetts’ church intones “If anyone present knows a reason why this man and man [or woman and woman] should not be joined together, speak now or forever hold your peace”….The proper response is:  “I do.”


Endnotes:

[1]   "Libertarian Activist [David Rostcheck] Files 'Freedom of Marriage' and 'Freedom of the Bedroom' Legislation," Dec. 18, 1998; at http://www.lpma.org/releases/981218.htm [2/04/04].

[2]   Ari Armstrong, "Get Government Out of Marriage," Colorado Freedom Report, at http://www.freecolorado.com/2004/01/nogovmarriage.html [2/04/04].

[3]   "The Marriage Resolution," at http://www.freedomtomarry.org/marriage_resolution.asp [2/04/04].

[4]   Louis de Bonald, On Divorce [1801], trans. and ed. by Nicholas Davidson (New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction, 1992): 36-37.

[5]   De Bonald, On Divorce, pp. 63-64, 175.

[6]   Theodore Roosevelt, The Works of Theodore Roosevelt: Memorial Edition, Vol. XXI (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1924): 263.

[7]   Carol Pateman, “The Patriarchal Welfare State,” in Amy Gutman, ed., Democracy in the Welfare State (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1988): 231-60; and Frances Fox Piven, “Ideology and the State: Women, Power, and the Welfare State,” in Linda Gordon, ed., Women, the State and Welfare (Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin Press, 1990): 251-64.

[8]   Wendell Berry, A Timbered Choir: The Sabbath Poems, 1979-1997 (Washington, DC: Counterpoint, 1998): 153.

[9]   Wendell Berry, Sex, Economy, Freedom & Community (New York and San Francisco: Pantheon Books, 1992, 1993): 120-21, 133.

[10]   Wendell Berry, “A Jonquil for Mary Penn,” in Fidelity: Five Stories (New York and San Francisco: Pantheon Books, 1992): 74-75.

[11]   Berry, A Timbered Choir, p. 99.

[12]   Wendell Berry, Entries: Poems (Washington, DC: Counterpoint, 1997): 40.

[13]   Luther’s Works, Vol. 45 (Philadelphia: Muhlenburg Press, 1962): 18, 39-42, 154-55; and Stephen Ozment, When Fathers Ruled: Family Life in Reformation Europe (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1980): 1-2, 100-19.

[14]   In Glenn W. Olsen, ed., Christian Marriage: A Historical Study (New York: Herder & Herder, 2001): 274.

[15]   Waite v. Waite, District Court, Harris, Texas, Trial Court Cause #99-48049 (September 18, 2000): 13-15.

[16]   Maynard v. King, 125 U.S. 190, 210-11 (1888).

[17]   Eisenstadt v.  Baird, 495 U.S. 438, 453 (1972).

[18]   John Milton, Complete Prose Works of John Milton, Vol. 2 (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1959): 244-46, 254-58, 277-78, 346.

[19]   Joseph Lee Rodgers, Paul A. Nakonezny, and Robert D. Shull, “The Effect of No-Fault Legislation on Divorce: A Response to a Reconsideration,” Journal of Marriage and the Family 59 (1997): 1026-30.

[20]   Jane Mauldon, “The Effect of Marital Disruption on Children’s Health,” Demography 27 (August 1990): 431-46.

[21]   Judith Wallerstein and Joan B. Kelly, Surviving the Breakup: How Children and Parents Cope With Divorce (New York: Basic Books, 1996): 46-50, 211; and Ronald L. Simons, et.al., “Explaining the Higher Incidence of Adjustment Problems Among Children of Divorce Compared with Those in Two-Parent Families,” Journal of Marriage and Family 61 (Nov. 1999): 1020-33.

[22]   Timothy J. Biblarz and Greg Gottainer, “Family Structure and Children’s Success: A Comparison of Widowed and Divorced Single-Mother Families,” Journal of Marriage and the Family 62 (May 2000): 533-48.

[23]   K.E. Kiesnan and J. Habcraft, “Parental Divorce During Childhood: Age at First Intercourse, Partnership and Parenthood,” Population Studies 51 (1997): 41-55; and Teresa M. Cooney and Jane Kurz, “Mental Health Outcomes Following Recent Parental Divorce: The Case of Young Adult Offspring,” Journal of Family Issues 17 (July 1996): 495-513.

[24]   David Schramm, “What Could Divorce Be Costing Your State?  The Costly Consequences of Divorce in Utah: The Impact on Couples, Communities, and Government,” A Preliminary Report, 25 June 2003, Publication in Process, Department of Family, Consumer, and Human Development, Utah State University, Logan, Utah.

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