Beguiling Marriage Proposal

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), October 8, 2005 | Go to article overview
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Beguiling Marriage Proposal


Perhaps one of the most memorable moments of a couple's courtship is the wedding proposal. Television shows have chronicled unique proposals and Web sites offer suggestions for the perfect marriage proposal location, theme and process. Sen. Sam Brownback, Kansas Republican and chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on the District of Columbia has introduced a different type of marriage proposal to low-income D.C. residents and if enacted it could lead to wedded bliss for these couples.

Under Mr. Brownback's proposal low-income engaged couples in the District would get an opportunity to establish savings accounts eligible for matching funds for buying a home, sending a child to college or starting a business. The program, which would cost about $3 million, would also provide support to organizations providing services to low-income engaged couples considering marriage.

While critics have decried this proposal as another extension of conservative idealism, it nevertheless is attracting wide ranging bipartisan support, which includes Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, District of Columbia Democrat.

Support for the legislation is based primarily on the fact various studies have shown married couples and the children born to married couples fare much better in many areas than unmarried couples and their children. A collection of studies compiled by the Family Research Council illustrates that married couples and their children enjoy tremendous advantages in terms of health and well-being, economic stability and other factors.

Many couples have the desire to marry and enjoy these and other benefits but cannot because of financial constraints and other considerations. Mr. Brownback's proposal would eliminate some of these constraints and thereby make marriage a more viable option for low-income D.C. couples.

If most married couples with children were to list three major priorities for their lives together, they would most likely be to buy a home, save money to send their children to college, and build toward a stable retirement. The proposal would provide federal support to couples working toward these priorities.

The true beneficiaries would be the children of poor families.

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