Stop Virtue-Signaling and Prioritize Real Marriage

Virtue-signaling, wrong-way Republicans are at it again. Twelvecount ’em, 12—GOP senators, some claiming to be conservative, voted twice last week to help Democrats “codify” same-sex marriage.

Puh-leese

Clearly, preserving federal imposition of fake marriage is the priority of those far-left majorities in Missouri (Trump 2020 vote +15.4 percentage points, yet represented by “yes” voter Roy Blunt), Indiana (Trump +16 points; Todd Young), Utah (Trump +20.5 points; Mitt Romney), West Virginia (Trump +38.9 points; Shelley Capito) and Wyoming (Trump +43.3 percent; Cynthia Lummis).

As if. Polling firm Quinnipiac observes: “What issue concerns Americans most? It’s not even close. Inflation . . . “

Put aside, for the sake of argument, redefined matrimony’s relative merits. In this economic crisis, what institution should be a Republican priority?

Re-normalizing real, man-woman marriage, practically gutted by counterfeits: cohabitation, single motherhood and, yes, same-sex unions.

The millennium’s most perspicacious political pronouncement remains this 2010 utterance from then-Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels: “If I could wave a magic wand and change just one thing, it would be to guarantee that every American child could grow up in a two-parent home until the age of 18. That would solve maybe three-quarters of our problems.”

Perhaps Daniels was looking back to a stable and prosperous 1960 when 72 percent of adults were married, versus 45 percent today. But he understated his case with “three-quarters of our problems,” considering:

Real marriage is an economic imperative. To restore economic resiliency, America must transition away from redistribution to wealth generation. St. Louis Federal Reserve economists say young married couples boast nine times the net worth of singles, who are falling further behind as prices explode and recession looms.

Meanwhile, 2022’s American Family Survey found unmarrieds more vulnerable to economic crises involving food, debt, homelessness, and healthcare.

Real marriage is a fiscal imperative. In 2018, 34 percent of single-mother families were impoverished. Married-couple families? Just six percent.

Single mothers head 62 percent of food-stamp households (a $182.5 billion program) and 90 percent of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families ($31 billion). Medicaid ($728 billion) covers 31.2 percent of families led by single mothers.

Social Security is racing to insolvency (alongside Medicare), per its chief actuary, “because birth rates dropped from three to two children per woman” (and have slipped further).

Why? Observes the Institute for Family Studies: “Essentially all of the decline in fertility since 2001” is attributable to fewer marriages.

Real marriage is a social imperative. No need to belabor social scientists’ well-rehearsed consensus that “children are more likely to flourish in an intact, two-parent family, compared to children in single-parent or stepfamilies.” Social pathologies linked to single parenthood include crime/incarceration, dropouts, suicides, promiscuity, obesity, drug abuse, teenage pregnancies, and divorce.

Want to cool the fires rekindled by Dobbs v. Jackson’s invalidation of Roe v. Wade? To paraphrase Silent Cal Coolidge, drive out abortion with more marriage. Just 4 percent of married women’s pregnancies were aborted in 2019 versus 28 percent of single women’s pregnancies.

Add an immediate fallout of same-sex marriage’s gender-bending: trans-athletes and drag-queen story hours storming America’s collective consciousness. Here too, society can displace the macabre obsession with mutilating impressionable teens by restoring young people’s expectations to grow up to be “husband and wife.” 

Real marriage is a political imperative. Pro-same-sex marriage Republicans are again earning the sobriquet of “Stupid Party.” Fact is, married men and women vote GOP; LBGTQs and single women overwhelmingly vote Democrat.

Real marriage is a constitutional imperative. Even without a new federal law, jurisprudential knickers are in a twist around marriage. In U.S. v. Windsor, the Supreme Court overturned the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), opining: “By history and tradition, the definition and regulation of marriage has [sic] been treated as being within the authority and realm of the separate States.”

Yet just two years later, Obergefell v. Hodges federalized that definition and imposed same-sex marriage nationwide. The current legislation flips DOMA by forcing states to recognize such unions, responding to Justice Clarence Thomas’s insistence that Dobbs compels Obergefell’s re-examination.

Naturally, Thomas is right. Dobbs concludes: “The Constitution does not prohibit the citizens of each State from regulating or prohibiting abortion. Roe and Casey arrogated that authority. The Court overrules those decisions and returns that authority to the people and their elected representatives.”

Substitute “marriage” for abortion and “Windsor and Obergefell” for Roe and Casey, then explain “conservative” support for federalizing marriage.

But the clincher: marriage is decidedly not an imperative for LGBTQ individuals, more of whom (11.4 percent) are married to opposite-sex than same-sex partners (9.6 percent).

LGBTQ insistence on shoring up same-sex matrimony—a minuscule 1 percent of total marriages—is mere posturing. And the GOP establishment’s acquiescence, again, is transparent virtue-signaling.

So now what? Overturning Obergefell should happen, but can wait. The greater priority: reversing perverse incentives. 

Stop paying women, in particular, to be single and poor. Instead, Hungarian-style, give couples incentives to be married, prosperous, and productive with sizable loans upon getting hitched, forgiving portions for each child parented. 

With elites controlling Washington, payments promoting family (and wealth) formation might be a promising and self-financing area of innovation for states, which led the way in forcing Roe’s reversalespecially free states like Florida and Georgia, whose governors gained powerful new bases of support in the midterms, yet where more than 46 percent of births are to single moms. 

Ron DeSantis and Brian Kemp, call your offices. Or better yet, call Mitch Daniels.

About Bob Maistros

Bob Maistros has spent the last three decades putting words in the mouth of luminaries at the highest levels of the worlds of business and politics around the globe. The chief writer for the Reagan-Bush ’84 campaign, a former Senate subcommittee counsel and a longtime public relations advisor for companies ranging from AOL to MTV to XM Satellite Radio – not to mention a father of six who took time out mid-career to venture abroad as a church worker – Bob now offers biting satire based on insights gathered at the front lines of headline-making corporate crises, political contests and the culture wars.

Photo: iStock/Getty Images

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