Having read Scott Keyes’ hearty description of the wonders of divorce last Sunday (“The Battle Against Divorce: Conservatives Are Not Only Trying to Stop Same-Sex Marriage, They’re Trying to Stop Divorce, Too,” May 18 Forum), one has to question why anyone gets married — gay or straight. According to Mr. Keyes, easy divorce reduces suicide rates, murder and domestic violence. Wow— why just make divorce easier? Let’s ban marriage.
That conclusion highlights the fallacy of his argument. Marriage is critical for raising our future generation. All studies tell us that children raised by two parents are much more likely to do well in school and go on to happy lives. Conversely, children raised in single-parent homes are more likely to drop out and get in trouble with the law.
Some really bad marriages need to end. But decades of easy divorce have given us plenty of opportunity to see its effects: on children, on poverty, and now a generation of “men on strike” who are at marrying age and the women who want marriage but cannot find men with a similar interest.
“Men on strike” from marriage is a result of easy divorce. Easy divorce makes marriage a contract that either party can revoke on a whim. And men find themselves with the economic liabilities of being married — but without the companionship or influence on their children. So men avoid marriage, and single women have children who suffer. And we as a society all pay.
The solution is not to go back to Mr. Keyes’ bogeyman period of women as chattel. But some reform is needed.