The state offers marriage legal and financial support. This article questions whether the state is justified in supporting and promoting marriage by looking at recent studies that found that marriage produces differences in investment and well-being for children in marital households compared to other children. These studies isolated the value of marriage and identified the connection, if any, between supporting marriage and supporting children. The Manning and Lamb study evaluated outcomes for children in non-marital households, whereas, the Hoefferth and Anderson study examined different investments in marital and non-marital children by biological fathers. The two studies found a marriage advantage, which the author uses to conclude that marriage is transformative and makes adults better parents. Thus, the state should support marriage because by supporting marriage the state is indirectly supporting investment in children. However, the author cautions that state efforts to promote marriage should support enduring marital relationships rather than inducing marginally-committed couples to marry.
Robin F. Wilson,
Evaluating Marriage: Does Marriage Matter to the Nurturing of Children?,
San Diego L. Rev.
Available at: https://digital.sandiego.edu/sdlr/vol42/iss3/6