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    http://www.weeklystandard.com/Conten...3/660zypwj.asp

    The End of Marriage in Scandinavia
    The "conservative case" for same-sex marriage collapses.
    by Stanley Kurtz
    02/02/2004, Volume 009, Issue 20


    MARRIAGE IS SLOWLY DYING IN SCANDINAVIA. A majority of children in Sweden and Norway are born out of wedlock. Sixty percent of first-born children in Denmark have unmarried parents. Not coincidentally, these countries have had something close to full gay marriage for a decade or more. Same-sex marriage has locked in and reinforced an existing Scandinavian trend toward the separation of marriage and parenthood. The Nordic family pattern--including gay marriage--is spreading across Europe. And by looking closely at it we can answer the key empirical question underlying the gay marriage debate. Will same-sex marriage undermine the institution of marriage? It already has.

    More precisely, it has further undermined the institution. The separation of marriage from parenthood was increasing; gay marriage has widened the separation. Out-of-wedlock birthrates were rising; gay marriage has added to the factors pushing those rates higher. Instead of encouraging a society-wide return to marriage, Scandinavian gay marriage has driven home the message that marriage itself is outdated, and that virtually any family form, including out-of-wedlock parenthood, is acceptable.

    This is not how the situation has been portrayed by prominent gay marriage advocates journalist Andrew Sullivan and Yale law professor William Eskridge Jr. Sullivan and Eskridge have made much of an unpublished study of Danish same-sex registered partnerships by Darren Spedale, an independent researcher with an undergraduate degree who visited Denmark in 1996 on a Fulbright scholarship. In 1989, Denmark had legalized de facto gay marriage (Norway followed in 1993 and Sweden in 1994). Drawing on Spedale, Sullivan and Eskridge cite
    evidence that since then, marriage has strengthened. Spedale reported that in the six years following the establishment of registered partnerships in Denmark (1990-1996), heterosexual marriage rates climbed by 10 percent, while heterosexual divorce rates declined by 12 percent. Writing in the McGeorge Law Review, Eskridge claimed that Spedale's study had exposed the "hysteria and irresponsibility" of those who predicted gay marriage would undermine marriage. Andrew Sullivan's Spedale-inspired piece was subtitled, "The case against same-sex marriage crumbles."

    Yet the half-page statistical analysis of heterosexual marriage in Darren Spedale's unpublished paper doesn't begin to get at the truth about the decline of marriage in Scandinavia during the nineties. Scandinavian marriage is now so weak that statistics on marriage and divorce no longer mean what they used to.

    Take divorce. It's true that in Denmark, as elsewhere in Scandinavia, divorce numbers looked better in the nineties. But that's because the pool of married people has been shrinking for some time. You can't divorce without first getting married. Moreover, a closer look at Danish divorce in the post-gay marriage decade reveals disturbing trends. Many Danes have stopped holding off divorce until their kids are grown. And Denmark in the nineties saw a 25 percent increase in cohabiting couples with children. With fewer parents marrying, what used to show up in statistical tables as early divorce is now the unrecorded breakup of a cohabiting couple with children.

    What about Spedale's report that the Danish marriage rate increased 10 percent from 1990 to 1996? Again, the news only appears to be good. First, there is no trend. Eurostat's just-released marriage rates for 2001 show declines in Sweden and Denmark (Norway hasn't reported). Second, marriage statistics in societies with very low rates (Sweden registered the lowest marriage rate in recorded history in 1997) must be carefully parsed. In his study of the Norwegian family in the nineties, for example, Christer Hyggen shows that a small increase in Norway's marriage rate over the past decade has more to do with the institution's decline than with any renaissance. Much of the increase in Norway's marriage rate is driven by older couples "catching up." These couples belong to the first generation that accepts rearing the first born child out of wedlock. As they bear second children, some finally get married. (And even this tendency to marry at the birth of a second child is weakening.) As for the rest of the increase in the Norwegian marriage rate, it is largely attributable to remarriage among the large number of divorced.
    Spedale's report of lower divorce rates and higher marriage rates in post-gay marriage Denmark is thus misleading. Marriage is now so weak in Scandinavia that shifts in these rates no longer mean what they would in America. In Scandinavian demography, what counts is the out-of-wedlock birthrate, and the family dissolution rate.

    The family dissolution rate is different from the divorce rate. Because so many Scandinavians now rear children outside of marriage, divorce rates are unreliable measures of family weakness. Instead, we need to know the rate at which parents (married or not) split up. Precise statistics on family dissolution are unfortunately rare. Yet the studies that have been done show that throughout Scandinavia (and the West) cohabiting couples with children break up at two to three times the rate of married parents. So rising rates of cohabitation and out-of-wedlock birth stand as proxy for rising rates of family dissolution.

    By that measure, Scandinavian family dissolution has only been worsening. Between 1990 and 2000, Norway's out-of-wedlock birthrate rose from 39 to 50 percent, while Sweden's rose from 47 to 55 percent. In Denmark out-of-wedlock births stayed level during the nineties (beginning at 46 percent and ending at 45 percent). But the leveling off seems to be a function of a slight increase in fertility among older couples, who marry only after multiple births (if they don't break up first). That shift masks the 25 percent increase during the nineties in cohabitation and unmarried parenthood among Danish couples (many of them young). About 60 percent of
    first born children in Denmark now have unmarried parents. The rise of fragile families based on cohabitation and out-of-wedlock childbearing means that during the nineties, the total rate of family dissolution in Scandinavia significantly increased.

    Scandinavia's out-of-wedlock birthrates may have risen more rapidly in the seventies, when marriage began its slide. But the push of that rate past the 50 percent mark during the nineties was in many ways more disturbing. Growth in the out-of-wedlock birthrate is limited by the tendency of parents to marry after a couple of births, and also by the persistence of relatively conservative and religious districts. So as out-of-wedlock childbearing pushes beyond 50 percent, it is reaching the toughest areas of cultural resistance. The most important trend of the post-gay marriage decade may be the erosion of the tendency to marry at the birth of a second child. Once even that marker disappears, the path to the complete disappearance of marriage is open.

    And now that married parenthood has become a minority phenomenon, it has lost the critical mass required to have socially normative force. As Danish sociologists Wehner, Kambskard, and Abrahamson describe it, in the wake of the changes of the nineties, "Marriage is no longer a precondition for settling a family--neither legally nor normatively. . . . What defines and makes the foundation of the Danish family can be said to have moved from marriage to parenthood."

    So the highly touted half-page of analysis from an unpublished paper that supposedly helps validate the "conservative case" for gay marriage--i.e., that it will encourage stable marriage for heterosexuals and homosexuals alike--does no such thing. Marriage in Scandinavia is in deep decline, with children shouldering the burden of rising rates of family dissolution. And the mainspring of the decline--an increasingly sharp separation between marriage and parenthood--can be linked to gay marriage. To see this, we need to understand why marriage is in trouble in Scandinavia to begin with.


    SCANDINAVIA has long been a bellwether of family change. Scholars take the Swedish experience as a prototype for family developments that will, or could, spread throughout the world. So let's have a look at the decline of Swedish marriage.

    In Sweden, as elsewhere, the sixties brought contraception, abortion, and growing individualism. Sex was separated from procreation, reducing the need for "shotgun weddings." These changes, along with the movement of women into the workforce, enabled and encouraged people to marry at later ages. With married couples putting off parenthood, early divorce had fewer consequences for children. That weakened the taboo against divorce. Since young couples were putting off children, the next step was to dispense with marriage and cohabit until children were desired. Americans have lived through this transformation. The Swedes have simply drawn the final conclusion: If we've come so far without marriage, why marry at all? Our love is what matters, not a piece of paper. Why should children change that?

    **continue reading at

    http://www.weeklystandard.com/Conten...3/660zypwj.asp
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    (Original post by Ronnie Raygun)
    Not coincidentally, these countries have had something close to full gay marriage for a decade or more. Same-sex marriage has locked in and reinforced an existing Scandinavian trend toward the separation of marriage and parenthood.
    If someone's marriage is so shaky that it can't withstand someone else down the road getting married in a way that doesn't affect them one iota, then frankly it ain't worth a whole lot to start with.
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    Do we need marriage in the first place anymore? I have friends whos parents never got married and their family is fine. Divorce is bad on everyone, but at least it keeps the therapists in pocket. People need a new mindset in which marriage is given less empasis than love.
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    "If someone's marriage is so shaky that it can't withstand someone else down the road getting married in a way that doesn't affect them one iota, then frankly it ain't worth a whole lot to start with." - llama

    That's not what the article was saying. Read it again, maybe this time you'll get it.
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    (Original post by Ronnie Raygun)
    "If someone's marriage is so shaky that it can't withstand someone else down the road getting married in a way that doesn't affect them one iota, then frankly it ain't worth a whole lot to start with." - llama

    That's not what the article was saying. Read it again, maybe this time you'll get it.
    I've 'got it'. The only problem is that it is utter tripe.
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    (Original post by Ronnie Raygun)
    That's not what the article was saying. Read it again, maybe this time you'll get it.
    Really, no offence, but there's no way i'm reading all that.

    Perhaps if you'd actually written it instead of just copying and pasting it...
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    (Original post by llama boy)
    Really, no offence, but there's no way i'm reading all that.

    Perhaps if you'd actually written it instead of just copying and pasting it...
    LOL- I felt the same, got through about 1.5 lines!
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    Some of you have the attention span of a fruit fly.

    Maybe you will get something out of this......?

    http://www.blackpeopleloveus.com/
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    (Original post by Ronnie Raygun)
    Maybe you will get something out of this......?

    http://www.blackpeopleloveus.com/
    only a mild sense of deja vu.
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    (Original post by Ronnie Raygun)
    Some of you have the attention span of a fruit fly.

    Maybe you will get something out of this......?

    http://www.blackpeopleloveus.com/
    Aye, it's already been posted, incredibly funny xthup. And as llama boy already stated, you can post as long a justification as you want, the fact remains that banning gay marriage is simple discrimination. Adam and Steve having a legal document stating that their realtionship is defined as 'marriage' doesn't have any effect whatsoever on any other realtionship. If marriage is as important and as solid a bond as you make out, what marriage would collapse because of two other random, irrelevant people having the same certificate as you do.
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    (Original post by llama boy)
    only a mild sense of deja vu.
    Go to bed.
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    (Original post by kildare)
    Go to bed.
    haha, you too. essays are no excuse.
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    (Original post by llama boy)
    haha, you too. essays are no excuse.
    Yea, 10 past 2 in the morning is too late for even me, I'm off.
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    "...., the fact remains that banning gay marriage is simple discrimination. Adam and Steve having a legal document stating that their realtionship is defined as 'marriage' doesn't have any effect whatsoever on any other realtionship. If marriage is as important and as solid a bond as you make out, what marriage would collapse because of two other random, irrelevant people having the same certificate as you do." - kildare

    Gay marriage is already illegal in 49 states. The majority of Americans want to keep it that way. Bush just wants yo uphold the laws we already have not to mention that "marriage" by definition is between a man and a women.
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    (Original post by Ronnie Raygun)
    Gay marriage is already illegal in 49 states.
    But that is trumped by the support for equality in the constitution. Bush knows that, of course, which is why he is trying to change it.

    But, yes, anyway, bed...
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    "Getting married just because you have a child or are expecting one is just plain daft."

    The institution of marriage have greatly contributed to the civility and progress of society.....that's something you just don't screw with.
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    "Marriage is a legacy of old-time religious beliefs. Frankly, we just don't need it anymore as an institution. Its just a meaningless ritual. Society has evolved and outgrown it."

    The vast majority of Americans disagree.
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    Christians are narrow minded?

    Christ was narrow minded?

    I'm not going to respond to that......

    Every major poll has suggested that the vast majority of Americans do NOT wish to change the definition of the word "marriage". I don't see how it's any of your concern....
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    I'm not going to debate it....and I haven't been. I just posted an article and wanted to hear other people's opinion.

    Thankyou for yours.

    I don't wish anyone any ill will. I just don't think law breakers should be rewarded and I don't think we should go around changing definitions of words to suit our agenda.

    I have no problems with civil unions for gay couples.
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    Oh come on.

    I believe X and I'm right about X because lots of other people believe X is the weakest form of self-justification.

    If the majority of American believed that inter-racial marriages should be illegal, would you support that?

    Stop hiding behind other people's beliefs and at least give some arguments for your case.

    (edited for spelling)
 
 
 
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