Byline: Suzanne Fields, THE WASHINGTON TIMES
"Can a child have three legal parents? Should parenthood be routinely determined by something other than biology? Should we extend the right to marriage to same-sex couples? To groups of people? Or should we abolish marriage as a legal institution?" - The Future of Family Law
Not so long ago such questions would have been raised only in a science fiction tale. Not any more. They're questions seriously discussed in college classrooms, advocacy seminars and in forums to challenge lawyers, judges and policy-makers. The idea is to change family law as we know it. Marriage is targeted for deconstruction.
From the time that America was a colony, the marriage model was governed by law, culture and traditions flowing from the Judeo-Christian religious ideal. Marriage was specifically a social institution designed for the protection of children. The law wasn't perfect, suffering the flaws of humanity, but the law was clear and well intentioned. The law defined rights, responsibilities and punishment, and shaped a shared sense of obligation in private and social conduct on behalf of children. We made changes in the law from time to time, but we never dropped our concern for the offspring of marriage.
That was then. "Family law today appears to be embracing a new idea," writes Daniel Cere, a professor of ethics at McGill University in Canada and the principal investigator for an inquiry into the future of family law, the conclusions of which are published by the Institute for American Values, a non-partisan organization in New York City dedicated to strengthening families and civil society. "The idea is that marriage is only a close personal relationship between adults," he says, "and no longer a pro-child social institution." (The report is available at www.americanvalues.org)
Influential advocates from politically correct academic and legal organizations sneer at traditional marriage as another bad example of "ethnocentric" thinking that promotes "old-fashioned ideological stereotypes." These advocates accuse the law of dismissing "diversity." By diversity they mean the experience of racial minorities, women, single parents, divorced and remarried persons, gays, and lesbians. A large body of social science and psychological data demonstrate that not all forms of parenthood are equally child-friendly, but these advocates say that's merely a …