San Diego Law Review

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Social norms, not marriage, are transformative. This article considers whether marital norms like stability, commitment, and sexual fidelity are responsible for positive parenting effects and child well-being, or whether the institution of marriage is responsible. Marriage does not transform people into good spouses and good parents. Instead, people must be transformed before entering the institution of marriage. While Wilson believes that state supported marriage can spread social norms and values that benefit children, this author concludes that state supported marriage should not benefit the most advantaged, but should reinforce social norms and values and provide state benefits to all parents, not just married ones.

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