According to the Census Bureau, as reported in The New York Times:
- Married couples have dropped below half of all American households for the first time. Married couples represented just 48 percent of American households in 2010.
- Just a fifth of households were traditional families – married couples with children – down from about a quarter a decade ago, and from 43 percent in 1950
- 37 states, plus the District of Columbia, in which married couples make up fewer than 50 percent of all households, up from just 6 states in 2000
- Rising income inequality has divided American society, making college-educated people less likely to marry those without college degrees. Members of that educated group have struck a new path: they marry later and stay married. In contrast, women with only a high school diploma are increasingly opting not to marry the fathers of their children, whose fortunes have declined along with the country’s economic opportunities.
- 41 states showed declines in traditional households of married couples with children. In 2000, married couples with children were fewer than 20 percent of all households in just one state, plus the District of Columbia. Now they are fewer than a fifth in 31 states.
The statistics are quite telling and perverse. In the name of saving marriage socially conservative groups helped elevate anti-gay Republicans, which enacted policies that led to great income disparity — which depresses marriage rates. Nice going, fundies!
This is similar to the way social conservatives try to cut funding to Planned Parenthood, which leads to unplanned parenthood and higher abortion rates. Or, how they promote abstinence-only programs in schools, which also backfire. It seems that right wing social engineering consistently boomerangs.
I think these new statistics are a good opportunity for “pro-family” groups to look in the mirror and realize that their politics have failed. Focus on the Family, the National Organization for Marriage and the Family Research Council have obsessed about gay families at the expense of traditional marriage. If they had bothered to pull their noses out of our bedrooms and averted their eyes from our keyholes, they might have noticed the problem.
James Dobson, Tony Perkins, Brian Brown, and Maggie Gallagher have no one to blame but themselves for the disintegration of marriage in America. They wasted (and continue to throw away) gobs of time and money harming LGBT people — and ignored the challenges faced by the majority of working families.
Given the statistics and their professed aim to support families — one can only conclude that the leadership of these groups has been misguided, blinded by anti-gay bigotry, addicted to the money from anti-gay direct mail campaigns, or simply incompetent.
It is time for Focus on the Family and other such groups to refocus. Working to destroy our families has done little to promote family life for the majority of Americans. If they are looking for something to do, consider this:
The nation’s overall education spending grew at a slower pace in 2009 than at any other time in more than a decade, amid deepening state fiscal woes and flatter tax revenues, according to new census figures released Wednesday.
Less education = Less marriages. Now, “pro-family” groups — stop gay bashing and get to work solving real problems.