Provocative editorial in the American Spectator by Peter Hitchens . Like Ivan Kenneally (see below for his fine piece) although without the modernity-analysis, Hitchens locates the source of the rising anarchy not mainly with the late 80s-to-present advocacy for SSM, but with the way the Sexual Revolution began reworking marriage from the 60s on. He does so particularly with respect to changes in family law, changes he says real conservatives ought to be demanding at least partial reversal of:
Since 1969, when it became easier to dissolve a British marriage than to escape a car-leasing agreement, the annual number of heterosexual weddings has been on a mainly downward path, diminishing from more than 400,000 every year to fewer than 250,000. This has happened despite a rapidly rising population . . .
It is more than 30 years since Baroness Hale . . . noted that family law no longer makes any attempt to buttress the stability of marriage or any other union. It has adopted principles for the protection of children and dependent spouses which could be made equally applicable to the unmarried.
Hitchens has an argument about the changes making men less willing to commit, which I suspect is overdrawn. Im sure some readers will find other things strained, or even objectionable, about Hitchens piece. But we all must admit that the facts reported in it are eye-opening.
On the relevance of SSM, if it is merely numerically weighed:
In 2004 they did so in all but name by creating a legal status known as Civil Partnership, available only to same-sex couples but otherwise identical to civil marriage. The main result has been to show that this issue is important only to a very small number of people, and to proveif it needed demonstratingthat Professor Kinseys wild claims about the extent of homosexuality were just that: wild. Currently, about 6,000 homosexual civil partnerships are formed each year in a country of more than 6o million people. . . . Such households remain very rare, distant from most peoples lives and affecting one-fifth of 1 percent of the population.
One-fifth of one-percent. Well. How about some more numbers?
. . . the number of cohabiting unmarried heterosexual couples has increased from 1.5 million in 1996 to 2.9 million in 2012. The sad tally of dependent children living in these marriage-free households has also doubledfrom 0.9 million to 1.8 millionduring the same period.
Or how about some words?
The words husband and wife have more or less been written out of official documents, usually replaced by partner, . . .
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