Black couples/call to action/fatherhood legisla & advice -3/00
Tue Mar 14 14:14:02 EST 2000
from: Smart Marriages
The local Smart Marriages conference meeting is Tonight, March 14, at
Denver at 4500 E 9th Ave #660. Call Mindy Glover at 719-531-9211 for
Several of you have had trouble reaching Andy Christensen's web site.
It's at http://www.acceptancesurvey.com
The New American Divorce is featured each morning this week on Good
What Wade Horn says about the fatherhood initiatives
makes sense to me. So what do we do now?
Anne Welker, California
The best thing to do is to support the Fatherhood legislation CURRENTLY
before the U.S. Senate. The title is the Responsible Fatherhood Act of
- this is the legislation which will be featured in the opening keynote
(This as distinct from both the House-passed "Fathers Count" bill and the
President's Fatherhood initiative.)
Here is the brief description or the legislation:
A bill to amend title IV of the Social Security Act to increase public
awareness regarding the benefits of lasting and stable marriages and
involvement in the promotion of marriage and fatherhood issues, to
provide greater flexibility in the Welfare-to-Work grant program for
long-term welfare recipients and low income custodial and noncustodial
parents, and for other purposes.
For more info on the bill which is now before the Senate Finance
The best two persons to contact concerning the Senate version are
the sponsors, Senators Bayh and Domenici. Bayh is the chief
sponsor of the bill, but he is a Democrat -- meaning he needs Republican
support to even get a hearing on the legislation. That's where Domenici
comes in. Domenici is the chief Republican co-sponsor of the bill.
Contacting Domenici's office is a great idea. Thank him for his
co-sponsorship of the bill and let him know that there is support for the
bill out there in the
Sen Pete Domenici (R/NM) - Email: domenici at senate.gov
328 Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
Sen Evan Bayh (D/IN) - Email: senator at bayh.senate.gov
717 Hart Building
Washington, DC 20510
You might also contact your own senator and strongly urge support of the
There are 13 senators signed on as cosponsors, whom you might also want
send an email or letter of support.
Sen Abraham, Spencer
Sen Bingaman, Jeff
Sen Breaux, John B.
Sen Edwards, John
Sen Graham, Bob
Sen Kerrey, J. Robert
Sen Landrieu, Mary L.
Sen Lieberman, Joseph I.
Sen Lincoln, Blanche
Sen Lugar, Richard G.
Sen Robb, Charles S.
Sen Voinovich, George V.
Share your emails with the rest of us to give us ideas. We need
especially to commend
them for supporting legislation that will educate the public about the
benefits of marriage, the myths of cohabitation and divorce, and about
how to make a marriage work.
And by the way, Senator Bayh, who is opening the Smart Marriages
conference in Denver, was named as being at the top of the list for Al
Gore's running mate in USA Today this week.
Wouldn't that be interesting!
The Bishop of Rochester's views (report, March 8) on the
married couples who decide not to have children leaves me somewhat
The good bishop thinks the actions of such married couples would be
"ruinous" to society. With the world population exploding towards seven
billion I would suggest there is far more risk of ruining society
overpopulation and consequent global warming than by a minority of
married couples deciding not to breed.
Overpopulation increases tensions between people and leads to
MARTIN DESVAUX, >>
I recently received a mailing from the Population Research Institute
regarding "the myth of overpopulation." I quote: "According to United
Nations' statistics, the world's population will never double again. The
entire population of the world today could fit into the state of Texas,
leaving the rest of the world completely empty. The annual growth of
population is only 1.29 per cent, and the population of many countries
This article goes on to talk about famines that occur naturally and those
that are caused by political dictators who use food as a weapon. The
government's policy of forced abortion to limit population growth has
taken its toll - not only in slowing the growth of population, but also
brutal abuse of women who are arrested, forcibly aborted, and then
as punishment for the crime of being pregnant.
If you want to follow up on this, the Population Research Institute has a
page at www.pop.org.
Michael J. Albrecht
The article on Black Couples was interesting. However, I don't see much
the attitudes/effects of this mentality between blacks and other groups,
especially whites. I find that fewer and fewer people are willing to
to marriage and the ones who are already married want to get out! I have
concept of the pressures of being black. I do, however, have a concept
the lack of willingness to commit to family and marriage. It's rampant in
all groups in our society.
Also, it certainly isn't only Black men who do not or will not
communicate their feelings. White guys don't either. There is not
"magic" communication when one is white. I've
discovered that my husband and I have probably NEVER truly communicated
(we've been married 32 yrs. and he left me 1 1/2 years ago, with no
communication). I do not know his innermost feeling and fears. So, it
ONLY black couples who don't communicate well, it's most couples.
Fatherly Advice Column
Dr. Wade F. Horn
President, The National Fatherhood Initiative
The Truth About Cohabitation
March 14, 2000
Q: Our 19-year-old son has been dating a 21-year-old woman for six
Three months ago, they signed a lease and moved into an apartment
She is now pregnant. She doesn't want to get married for a year or two.
What risks does our son face concerning parental rights?
A: It never ceases to amaze me how naive people are today about
cohabitation. In fact, cohabitation is one of the fastest growing family
forms in the United States. Currently, over 4 million couples are
cohabiting, compared to fewer than half a million in 1960.
Because few cohabiting couples are practicing celibacy, it is little
wonder that a lot of cohabiting women become pregnant. Indeed, 36
all cohabiting households, nearly 1.5 million in all, include children
younger than 18 years of age. For unmarried couples in the 25-34 age
half have children present. Your son and his girlfriend are about to add
So, Dr. Horn, what's so bad about that? Get into the 21st century,
you? A couple doesn't have to be married to love one another. After
marriage is just a piece of paper, isn't it?
Well, not exactly. Research consistently shows that cohabitation is
very weak family form. Cohabiting couples break up at much higher rates
do married couples. Although about 40 percent of couples who have a
eventually marry, they are at least 50 percent more likely to divorce
couples who get married before having children. Overall, three-quarters
children born to cohabiting parents will see their parents split up
they reach age 16, compared to only about one-third of children born to
Once a father is no longer living in the household, his involvement
his children declines rapidly. Indeed, 40 percent of children who do not
live with their fathers have not seen their father in over a year. Of
remaining 60 percent, only one in five sleeps even one night per month in
father's home. Overall, only one in six children living absent their
sees their father an average of once per week.
The fact is, children born to cohabiting couples are likely, before
long, to see their dads transform into occasional visitors. Given what
know about the importance of early parental attachment, it may be worse
children to bond with their father at an early age, only to see him
later in life, than never to have established a relationship in the first
place. The lesson here is clear: If children could choose their parents,
would choose cohabiting ones.
Cohabitation is not just bad for children, it's also not so good for
adults. Married adults are, on average, happier, healthier and wealthier
than their cohabiting counterparts. Moreover, contrary to the popular
perception perpetuated by the media, married couples also report more
satisfying sex lives. Married couples also fight less and are less
abuse alcohol or illegal drugs.
Given the mountain of evidence suggesting the superiority of
simply don't get why we have become so permissive about cohabitation.
Marriage isn't just a piece of paper. It confers real benefits to
and to adults. Yet saying so has become a sign of membership in the
Neanderthal Club of America. Instead, we focus on things like protecting
"parental rights." Great.
The good news, I guess, is that your son can protect his future
rights" by having a blood test soon after his child is born to establish
he is the child's biological father. That will ensure that he has a
right to a relationship with his child even if the relationship with the
mother ends. Unless, of course, the mother later accuses him, rightly or
wrongly, of being abusive -- in which case, he won't be allowed to see
child except under the watchful eye of the state.
Establishing biological paternity also means your son (rightly) will
incur a legal obligation to pay child support -- an obligation that will
end even if his girlfriend subsequently marries a millionaire and he
working at a fast food restaurant for minimum wage.
Your son and his girlfriend, no doubt, would counter that they love
other and would never do anything to hurt the other.
I hope they're right, but given that nearly 8 of every 10 couples who
have children while cohabiting eventually break up, I wouldn't bet the
on it. If the relationship does end, it isn't likely to end as lovingly
You don't have to take my word for it. Here's an e-mail I received
recently describing the not-so-wonderful but all-too-common downside to
cohabiting relationships when they fail. Call this a crystal ball
into a possible future, if not for your son and his girlfriend, certainly
many cohabiting couples.
"Hello. I am a 23-year-old male. I lived with my high school
for 5 years. At the end of the relationship she tells me that she is
because I would not get her pregnant. Not wanting to give up on our
relationship, I got her pregnant.
"She stayed with my parents till two days before the baby was born,
not tell me when she went to the hospital, and I haven't seen her since.
Now, three years later, we hate each other, and she says she will never,
never, never let me see my little girl. But she still wants my money.
"The law says I have a right to see my daughter, but I can't afford a
lawyer and my former girlfriend doesn't want me around. I have nothing
record that would keep me from seeing her as far as abuse and stuff like
that, so the only reason she doesn't want me around is what's in her
am on a fine line between jail and freedom."
Enough said -- at least I hope so.
Dr. Wade F. Horn is President of the National Fatherhood Initiative, a
clinical child psychologist, and co-author of several books on parenting
including the Better Homes and Gardens New Father Book (Meredith, 1998)
the Better Homes and Gardens New Teen Book (Meredith, 1999). Send your
question about dads, children or fatherhood to: The National Fatherhood
Initiative, 101 Lake Forest Blvd, Suite 360, Gaithersburg, MD 20877, or
e-mail him at NFI1995 at aol.com.
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