Last year, I was talking about gay marriage with a Christian leader whose name you would know. After pushing back on my arguments for a while, he finally shrugged his shoulders and said, “It doesn’t really matter, since no-fault divorce laws have already pretty much gutted marriage in our country.”
I was honestly shocked. Having survived a no-fault divorce (that was nevertheless contentious and exorbitantly expensive), I had never heard someone make this argument before, much less state it as though it were common knowledge. No one that I know of in the Family Court system thinks that no-fault divorce is bad. (And to read how bad a divorce can be, even with no-fault divorce, read this harrowing account of the Worst Divorce EVER.)
Mark Silk has run into a similar argument from a Catholic who is similarly debating same-sex marriage. And Silk handily debunks the argument:
My friend the prolific NCR blogger Michael Sean Winters argues that they should throw in the towel, not because he supports SSM (he doesn’t), but because the marriage war was lost decades ago, when the bishops failed to stand in the way of no-fault divorce.
I can see why such an argument might be something of a balm for ecclesiastical potentates like Archbishop Vigneron of Detroit and Bishop Tobin of Providence, who can barely contain their apoplexy at this threat to civilization as they know it. After all, they weren’t bishops when the no-fault divorce laws went into effect.
Nevertheless, it’s a bad argument and one that teaches the wrong lesson.
It’s a bad argument because no-fault divorce laws had nothing to do with the rise in divorce rates, which began their ascent in the late 1950s. Between 1970 and 1977, nine states adopted no-fault divorce. By 1983, all but two states had. Whereupon divorce rates began to decline.
Read the rest and see the graph: What hath SSM to do with no-fault divorce? | Spiritual Politics.