One of the classic and recurring arguments for limiting marriage to only a man and a woman is that marriage is expressly for the raising of children. And thus because one male and one female parent (the original parents, we should specify) are the ideal, marriage must be limited to such a pair in order to give children the best chance possible.
I’m fine with that.
(Indeed, I would say that the best of all parenting option is the child’s original father and mother, assuming they love the child and work for the child’s best interests and all those other things that are part of the “ideal” but may not happen in all cases. But in those myriad cases where it doesn’t happen in the “ideal” way, alternatives such as parenting by a single parent, or by one original and one step-parent, or by a same-sex couple where one is an original parent, or even by some random couple from an overseas country who genuinely wants the child may be quite an excellent parenting situation. But I digress…)
As I said, I’m fine with focusing marriage on the child-rearing matter. So long as it is applied fully and fairly across the board. So here’s a (modest) proposal:
- The institution of marriage shall be limited to one man and one woman, expressly for the purpose of raising children.
- Any marriage which is childless for two years shall automatically be dissolved, with the separation of joint assets defined per each state’s legislature.
- “Childless” shall mean the absence of a child in the household between conception and the age of majority. The child’s permanent residence must be that of the couple more than half of each year.
- Marriage with the intention or expectation of remaining childless shall constitute fraud.
Among other things, this means infertile couples may not be married (or at least may not stay married once they know this status, and infertile individuals may not become married in the future), couples may not marry with the intention of remaining childless, and after the kids turn 21, the marriage duties are concluded and the marriage must be dissolved. Nobody gets a “pass” because they are physically incapable of having kids (including due to injury, illness, or age), and no one gets a free ride because they raised kids in the past; if you aren’t doing it now, you don’t get the benefits.
I’m sure that proposal would go over real well.
Updated on December 14, 2010