Federal judge throws out ban on polygamy

A federal judge in Utah has ruled that the state’s law banning polygamy is unconstitutional.  If the ruling is upheld on appeal–and how could it not be?–that would have a big impact not only on radical Mormons but on American Muslims.  And, of course, anyone else who might like to try that lifestyle.  (Think there would be many takers?) [Read more...]

When your mother is a man and your father is a woman

Feminists make a distinction between “sex,” which has to do with biology, and “gender,” which has to do with culture; thus, gender roles are changeable and interchangeable with those of men, having nothing to do with an individual’s sex.  But now sex is held to be changeable too, determined not by reproductive organs or the DNA of every cell in a person’s body but by the individual’s choice, which can be reinforced by surgical and hormone treatments.  And transgendered (technically, transexed) individuals can marry each other.  And, if they do so before the surgeries are complete, have children.  So now there are children whose mother is now a man and whose father is now a woman.  The account of two cases after the jump. [Read more...]

Half of marriages aren’t valid?

Roman Catholics don’t believe in divorce.  But they do allow for annulments.   These involve ecclesiastical tribunals that rule that a valid marriage never existed in the first place.  If it was determined that a couple was too young and didn’t know what they were doing or that they didn’t understand the Catholic theology of marriage, their marriage could be declared invalid.  Despite receiving the sacrament of marriage in their wedding, despite living together for decades, despite having children and raising them to adulthood, they weren’t really married, thus ratifying their civil divorce and allowing them to marry someone else.

Catholics who do get a divorce and remarry without an annulment (which is a very expensive and time-consuming process) incur automatic excommunication, meaning that they are not allowed to receive Holy Communion.  This affects lots of people, as you can imagine, and cuts seriously into church attendance.  So the church is reconsidering its practice, trying to find a way to allow remarried people to take Communion.

A leader of that effort is the retired German archbishop Cardinal Walter Kasper, who, in the course of an interview in Commonweal Magazine, dropped this bombshell that, strangely, has drawn little attention: “I’ve spoken to the pope himself about this, and he said he believes that 50 percent of marriages are not valid.” [Read more...]

Divorce statistics are greatly exaggerated

It’s often said that 50% of marriages end in divorce.  A new book says that the real number is between 20% and 25%.  For churchgoers, the rate is somewhere in the single digits or teens.

The author of The Good News about Marriage, Shaunti Feldhahn, says that hopelessness–which is nurtured by the discouraging but wrong statistics about marriage–is itself a major reason for divorce.  Actually, the institution of marriage is not in as bad a shape as people assume it is. [Read more...]

Making it harder to get a divorce

A number of states have been or are considering protecting marriage–as well as promoting the social and economic benefits that it brings–by making it more difficult to get a divorce.  Judging from an article on the subject in the Washington Post, the left will be packaging these efforts as part of the “Republican war on women.”  Do you think making divorces harder to get is good policy for social conservatives to pursue?  Would that really address the problems of marriages today?  If not, what would?  [Read more...]

Common law marriage?

A “shotgun wedding” refers to a couple getting married because the woman had gotten pregnant.  (The term conjures up the image of her father pointing his shotgun at the groom.)  That doesn’t happen so much anymore.  Instead, according to a recent study, we are having “shotgun cohabitation,” in which getting pregnant becomes the impetus for the couple living together.

Now this is bad, but it also is a testimony to something good.  The mother and the father need to be together to raise a child.  That is, in fact, one of the natural foundations of marriage.  But even when marriage is dismissed and even when this ideal is often not realized, the impulse remains for parents to take care of their child.  And at least half of the cohabiting parents are still together after five years.

The study also shows that cohabitation has become the “poor person’s marriage.” [Read more...]


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