When George W. Bush calls marriage between a man and woman “the most fundamental institution of civilization“, he might be correct. It may also be the most fundamentally dysfunctional institution in this country.
The president ought to know. As an ex-alcoholic with daughters and nieces in and out of trouble, the Bush clan isn‘t that much different that the Gores and most other families.
Never having taken the trip down the aisle, myself, it is obvious that I am far from an expert on the topic of wedded bliss. Yet, it does not take a Rhodes scholar to realize that much is amiss in Leave It To Beaver land. I hate to be judgmental, but for you married types: don‘t try to con me - most of you haven‘t a clue about achieving a successful marriage.
Even if you can‘t admit it, the numbers don‘t lie. First of all, the divorce rate in this country is a scandal. On the average, one out of two marriages break up. Adultery, spousal battering and child abuse rates are rising. Marriage is the lifestyle that we single people are supposed to be striving to attain some day? These are the family values that married people espouse so patronizingly? Give me solo values any day.
Statistics aside, it has been my personal experience that getting married should something to take very, very, very seriously before... running. More often that not, my dreamingly, romantic friends who have taken the big plunge end up reporting a long list of matrimonial disasters that no one could ever make up. It is jarring when some of the enduring marriages, that I have admired, end in bitter divorces. Maybe a constitutional amendment to outlaw marriage is a good idea -ALL MARRIAGE, that is.
Actually, it is largely a secret to married Americans, but singles in this country are the objects of unprecedented discrimination at this time. Corporate benefit plans often benefit married employees over singles. Insurers give lower rates to married couples. Health clubs and auto clubs give discounted rates to married members.
There has been much in the news about the marriage penalty in the tax code, recently. Overwhelming, the tax code is set up favoring married taxpayers. There are far more taxpayers that take advantage of the marriage “bonus“ by filing as joint taxpayers than the marriage “penalty“ that affects relatively few. Also, unmarried taxpayers can have over 50% of their estates gobbled up by the federal government upon death, but the same estates can be left tax-free to a surviving spouse.
A 1997 study by the U.S. General Accounting Office counted 1049 federal laws where marriage was a consideration. And on and on and on.
As the largest minority group ever assembled in this country, we singles won‘t continue to be second class citizens long. There are 86 million unmarried adults in the U.S. We make up almost half of the adult population and are growing into the majority in the near future. By contrast, in 1950 only 20% of American adults were unmarried.
You married couples can revel in restricting who is allowed to get married for the time being. Soon, singles will be running the show. When that occurs, don‘t be surprised if you find yourself subject to laws that restrict who is allowed to become single.