Protect Dis!

For awhile now, clever liberal heteros have been pointing out that using the term “protection of marriage” to advance an anti-gay agenda is, well, kinda bullshit, as many of us feel our marriages need no such protection.

Apparently, the Christian Right has now clacked on to this:
"Protection of marriage" is now the watchword for many activists fighting to prevent gays and lesbians from marrying. Some conservatives, however, say marriage in America began unraveling long before the latest gay-rights push and are pleading for a fresh, soul-searching look at the institution.

"When you talk about protecting marriage, you need to talk about divorce," said Bryce Christensen, a Southern Utah University professor who writes frequently about family issues.

While Christensen doesn't oppose the campaign to enact state and federal bans on gay marriage, he worries it's distracting from immediate threats to marriage's place in society.

"If those initiatives are part of a broader effort to reaffirm lifetime fidelity in marriage, they're worthwhile," he said. "If they're isolated — if we don't address cohabitation and casual divorce and deliberate childlessness — then I think they're futile and will be brushed aside."
Deliberate childlessness. I suppose it doesn’t occur to Mr. Christensen that some couples may be deliberately childless because they can’t afford to have children. Not threatening as much as responsible, really. And, anecdotally, the couples I know who are deliberately childless tend to have great marriages. I do, however, know a few ex-couples whose attempts to save their marriages by having a child didn’t work out so well.

"That was the best argument same-sex marriage advocates had: 'Where were you when no-fault divorce went through?'" said Allan Carlson, a conservative scholar who runs a family-studies center in Rockford, Ill. "Any thoughtful defender of marriage has to say, 'You're right. We were asleep at the switch in the '60s and '70s.'"
Looking at the marriage success rates of some prominent conservatives (say, Newt Gingrich or Rush Limbaugh, for example), I’d guess that napping wasn’t as much the problem as being preoccupied by divorce attorneys.

Carlson decries no-fault divorce, where neither spouse is held responsible for the breakup, but acknowledges that its demise is not imminent. He proposes more modest steps: tax revisions benefiting married couples…

Tax revisions benefiting married couples is an awesome idea! The best way to strengthen hetero marriages is to widen the divide between the privileges granted straights and gays.

…a more positive portrayal of marriage in textbooks…

I don’t remember negative portrayals of marriage in any textbooks while I was in school. I do, however, remember it being widely known that several of the married teachers were having affairs; that I once saw the married assistant superintendent of schools making out with the married vice principal at the mall; and that the principal left his wife and married one of the guidance counselors.

…policies aiding young college graduates so they could afford to marry sooner.

Excellent idea. Because everyone knows, the younger you get married, the better your chances of success are.

Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and his wife have invited 1,000 couples to join them in a Valentine's Day (news - web sites) covenant marriage ceremony in which they would voluntarily reduce their options for a quick divorce.
Aww, how sweet. I heart Gov. Huckabee.

"For decades, Christians have been guilty for having a weak defense of marriage," [Jordan Lorence, a Phoenix-based lawyer with the conservative Alliance Defense Fund] told the Christian Post earlier this year. "Marriage has become a junior high school dating scene where if I am unhappy I could divorce my husband or wife and move on to someone else."

Which is bad, because the Christian way is to make sure you wallow as long as possible in an unhappy situation. And if Mr. Christensen has his way, your brood of children can wallow in it with you.

One group, the Alliance for Marriage, has focused almost entirely in the past two years on advocating a federal amendment that would ban gay marriage. The alliance's president, Matt Daniels, said the proposed ban is an essential starting point for other initiatives to strengthen heterosexual marriage — such as promoting family-friendly workplace policies.
Like banning women from the workplace. That way, there will plenty of jobs for the men, and the women can all stay home and raise babies. Sorry, barren women. Don’t know what you’ll do, since you can’t get married, either. Maybe you should try Canada.

"Heterosexuals changed marriage, not gays and lesbians," [Stephanie Coontz, a professor at Evergreen State College in Olympia, Wash., and author of a new history of marriage] said. "None of these measures is going to change the fact that marriage no longer plays the same central economic and political role that it used to. ... People see it as more optional."
That’s right. Marriage has changed because women wanted equal rights. They demanded equal opportunity and equal pay for equal work, and once they got it (or close to it), they realized they didn’t have to get married to survive anymore, thereby making marriage a choice, as well it should be. And all things being equal, it should be a choice for everybody.

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