Eagle Forum Legislative Alerts

Monday, October 31, 2011

Decline of weddings

Henry G. Brinton writes an op-ed in USA Today:
As a pastor, the trends that interest me most involve the sharp decline of marriage in the USA and the rise in non-clergy-officiated weddings.

These are the changes that matter, rather than the modern substitution of cupcakes for a wedding cake. The dropping number of marriages and changing face of officiants will shape the lives of American couples — and their children — for decades to come. These shifts merit some thought as we wrap up this year's wedding season, which runs May through October and typically covers 70% of all ceremonies.

Fifty years ago, about three-quarters of American adults 18 and older were married. Today, about half are. Nearly 40% of respondents to a Pew Research Center survey last year said marriage is becoming obsolete. If you think this is just demographic background noise with no real consequence, think again. This shift ultimately will harm kids because children in married family households are far less likely to live in poverty than those in single-parent households. ...

Who ties your knot A recent survey by TheKnot.com and WeddingChannel.com revealed that almost one in three of their website users who married last year chose a family member or friend to officiate at their ceremony. Since many Americans are not currently part of a religious congregation, it's not surprising that acquaintances are filling in the gaps. This certainly fits my experience over 25 years in the ministry.
You might think that it does not matter who officiates the wedding, but the civil concept of marriage is rapidly diverging from the religious concept. The civil marriage is becoming just a license to file joint tax returns, with no obligations or benefits beyond that. The major religions are sticking to the traditional meaning of marriage.

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