What went wrong with marriage? People are still getting married in the US. Some are even of the opposite sex.
I read both articles, and it seems that "marriage" is referring to some kind of primitive prehistoric relationship, one former virgin female in the cave, pregnant all the time, with one virile male out clubbing bears and dragging home the meat. When did this become the model of how human families in the 21st century should be formed? What is marriage for, anyway?
The conservative writer seems to think that his "walk down the aisle and then have monogamous sex with one person forever" version of marriage was always practiced, everywhere, right up until the 1970's when Norman Lear produced All in the Family
People watched the teevee, see, and then, inspired by what they saw on Love, American Style
, started having random sex, getting divorced and aborting fetuses right and left. Poverty rose, prisons filled and social chaos resulted. So, to reduce social chaos, we should make people have babies they don't want, and force them to marry people against their will. And sit them down to watch reruns of The Waltons
If you look at how marriage really worked in different times in history, it always reflected economic reality, prevailing technology and social conditions. Until the 1800's most poor people never got formally married in most countries. They had informal/formal community sanctioned long-term hookups, because they had no property and nobody official cared who they had sex with.
Babies came and kids were cared for more or less communally-- as they still are in most parts of the world. Death was common; kids died a lot; many women died having kids; most men died before their younger wives. So lots of people ended their lives with a different person than they started out with. The phrase "till death do us part" meant when, not if.
So, people are not getting married nowadays in the same way as in previous eras. Well, what has changed? Lots of things, all of them pretty positive.
1) We live in cities, not on subsistence farms, therefore we don't need to breed our own labor force to survive. The kids we do have can go to school instead of starting work at age 12 or 14. Fewer kids per family is better for women, and for the planet.
2) We finally stopped punishing unmarried people [cough women cough] for having sex. Contraception makes pregnancy more of a conscious choice for a woman than an accidental few minutes that then determines the rest of her life.
3) Child death rates have fallen; now social conditions are stable enough to have fewer kids-- most of them won't die.
4) Life expectancy is way up, so the idea of marrying at 18 and staying with that person until death (maybe 70 years or more) makes a lot less sense.
5) Women can earn a decent living and support themselves-- without having to cook and clean and have sex with a man who has a good job.
Clearly, the stats on single parent families being worse off are true. But that is mainly because two adults generally earn more and have more resources than one. If the conservatives really wanted to help kids (hah) it should not matter whose kids they were or how they got made.
They should get out of people's bedrooms and support all families regardless of marriage status or sexual orientation. They should be all about family allowances, daycare and after school programs, higher minimum wages, national health care and all that liberal sh!t that they consistently vote against. Then maybe I might give a damn about their faux concern for women and children.
Rant over. For now.