What the Election Means for Marriage - 11/07/02
cmfce at smartmarriages.com
Thu Nov 7 10:06:48 EST 2002
subject: What the Election Means for Marriage - 11/07/02
from: Smart Marriages®
Michael McManus - Ethics & Religion Column #1,106
Advance for Nov. 9, 2002
What the Election Means for Marriage
by Michael J. McManus
President Bush had a dazzling victory, the first Republican President ever
to gain seats in Congress in an off-year election. The Republican Senate
offers great hope for marriage.
Among the President's proposals which ran into a Senate logjam was his
reform of welfare to make marriage a priority with $300 million to test
strategies to increase two-parent families. Why? ''Strong marriages and
stable families are incredibly good for families,'' Bush said.
Traditional welfare almost enticed poor women to have children outside of
marriage. The out-of-wedlock birthrate soared from 7.7 percent in 1965 to 33
percent, 1.35 million children a year. They are five times more likely to
live in poverty and depend on welfare, 2-3 times more apt to have behavioral
problems, to drop out of school, and give birth as a teen or be arrested.
However, nearly half of unwed mothers are living with the fathers at the
time of the child's birth and 80 percent are romantically involved. To
promote marriage to the couple at that ''magic'' moment could bring
important benefits to their children.
''We believe the government should be involved in promoting healthy
marriages,'' says Health and Human Services Assistant Secretary Wade Horn.
''Healthy marriages are good for children and unhappy marriages are bad for
children. If you care about the welfare of children it is reasonable to
help couples, who choose marriage for themselves, to acquire the skills and
knowledge to form and sustain healthy marriages.''
Like what? ''Premarital education, marriage enrichment programs, public
education campaigns and we would like to innovate with community-wide
demonstration programs where a community puts together an initiative to try
to promote marriage on a community-wide basis, with a focus on couples who
are on Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (welfare) or who are in danger
of falling into TANF,'' Horn said the day after the election.
Rep. Wally Herger, who successfully guided the President's proposal through
the House, adds, ''I can't think of too many things more important than
doing what we can to help insure that every child has the benefit of having
two parents, a married mother and father. It is difficult enough to raise
children with two parents,'' said this father of eight children. He notes
the marriage initiative is only 2 percent of the $16.5 billion in TANF and
$4.8 billion in day care.
When the President's welfare reform bill was considered by a Senate
committee, its core ingredients, which lifted 3 million children from
poverty and cut welfare dependence in half were tossed aside and $10
billion was added in new spending. The marriage provision was cut by a
third to $200 million and it could be spent on programs that have nothing to
do with marriage - child care.
Bush's bill is much more likely to pass in the Republican Senate.
What could be funded are initiatives like one that can be seen in a blighted
area of Reading, Penn. Five different classes of 6-12 couples are being
taught PREP, a course to help couples improve their skills of communication
and conflict resolution.
''This is exactly what I need,'' said one young man married only two months.
''It will help me to learn how to make this relationship work.'' Another
couple, an Hispanic man and a black woman, told Rev. Calvin Kurtz of the
Reading-Berks Conference of Churches, ''You told us that our marriage might
not work. You were right. We are separated, but we are going to PREP
together. If we had this when we started out, we would not have gone through
so many problems.''
The Conference of Churches has received a $700,000 grant for four years to
offer the course for free to every couple in an area where 22,000 poor live.
Its goal is to increase the marriage rate and reduce out-of-wedlock births.
Ten churches offer it.
Why? ''The church has not done its job. If it had, we would not need it.''
Kurtz responded candidly. ''The church has not walked in unity, and has not
had full impact on society. We have not lived marriage in our church
community. But we have a responsibility to work at the covenant of
Few realize this sort of program can be funded right now through TANF, the
current welfare program. In Oklahoma, $1 million of TANF funds has been
spent to train hundreds of welfare case workers and public health nurses to
However, few places like Reading or Oklahoma have taken this initiative.
That's why the President's $300 million marriage demonstration program is so
innovative and needed.
END TXT. Copyright 2002 Michael J. McManus
Michael J. McManus
Ethics & Religion column
Founder & President
To SUBSCRIBE or UNSUBSCRIBE, or change your address,
visit http://www.smartmarriages.com Click Newsletter. Enter your
address in the appropriate box and proceed.
This is a moderated list. Replies are read by Diane Sollee, editor. Please
indicate if your response is NOT to be shared with the list.
This newslist shares information on marriage, divorce and educational
approaches. Opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by members of the
Newsletter archive - to read ALL past posts to the newsletter:
7th annual Smart Marriages conference/RENO, Nevada
June 26-29, 2003 http://www.smartmarriages.com/conferencedetails.html
List your program in the Directory of Classes at www.smartmarriages.com
Coalition for Marriage, Family and Couples Education, LLC (CMFCE)
Diane Sollee, Director
5310 Belt Rd NW, Washington, DC 20015-1961
cmfce at smartmarriages.com
FAIR USE NOTICE: This e-newsletter contains copyrighted material the use of
which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We
make such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of
marriage, family, couples, divorce, legislation, family breakdown, etc. We
understand this constitutes a 'fair use' of such material as provided
for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17
U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit
to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included
information for research and educational purposes. For more information go
to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use
copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond
'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.
More information about the SmartMarriages