The Spectacle Blog

The Message about Marriage and Law

By on 11.2.06 | 12:36PM

When I was with Georgia Family Council in the first years of the millennium, we spent a lot of time trying to show people the value of marriage and the intact family as social institutions. In other words, marriage is better than divorce. Marriage is better than living together. Having children with both parents present is superior to the alternatives. There is a strong statistical case to be made for all of the above.

I'm happy to report that more influential persons seem to be picking up the case in Georgia. Check out this excerpt from a Washington Post column by Georgia Chief Justice Leah Ward Sears:

Why are state judges such as myself so concerned about strengthening marriage? Start with the basics: Fragmenting families are flooding our court dockets. Since I became a trial judge in 1989, the percentage of domestic relations cases has risen sharply; they now account for 65 percent of all cases in Georgia at the Superior Court level. Last year more than 14,000 children were in the care of the Georgia Division of Family and Children Services, and nearly 24,000 were admitted to a youth detention center. One out of every four Georgia children under 18 has a case with the Office of Child Support Enforcement.

These figures are typical of what is happening in every state. For judges, they represent a difficult workload. For families, they represent an astonishing level of necessary but intrusive government oversight. For government, they represent a mountain of resources that could be used for other purposes. For children, they are a tragedy.

As a judge I am often frustrated that I must work within a system designed only to pick up the pieces after families have already fallen apart or failed to come together. We must work to prevent family fragmentation, because the consequences for children and society are severe.

If we look for solutions, we will find them. What we do not yet know how to accomplish, we can learn. Americans believe that problems, no matter how difficult, should be addressed and not merely endured. Whether it is racism, crime or poverty, Americans believe that we can find ways to make a difference. Accepting the decline of marriage as inevitable means giving up on far too many of our children. They deserve better than that.

Send to Kindle

Like this Article

Print this Article

Print Article