Kentucky Marriage Survey Contradictory; Divorce a Cop-Out, but Better Than Bad Union

Article excerpt

Byline: Cheryl Wetzstein, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

A survey about cohabitation and marriage taken in May correctly predicted the support for a state constitutional amendment defining traditional marriage in Kentucky, but it also revealed conflicted feelings about how to handle marital discord.

More than 60 percent of Kentuckians said divorce shouldn't be so easy to get, but 75 percent agreed that getting a divorce wasn't as bad as staying in a "lousy" marriage.

It's important to capture such "baseline" attitudes about marriage, said Claudia J. Heath, a family studies professor and director of the Research Center for Families and Children at the University of Kentucky.

If Kentucky decides to start a statewide pro-marriage program, researchers are well-positioned to track any attitudinal changes that might result from it, she said.

The research center surveyed 830 Kentucky adults about their attitudes on marriage, divorce, cohabitation and government-funded pro-marriage programs. The questions were similar to surveys conducted in Oklahoma, Florida and Utah.

The Kentucky survey, however, included questions on same-sex "marriage" and a proposed constitutional amendment that said marriage was only the union of one man and one woman and "legal status identical to or similar to marriage for unmarried individuals" would not be recognized.

In the May survey, 72 percent of Kentuckians supported the amendment and 72 percent rejected the idea of civil unions for same-sex couples. On Election Day earlier this month, 75 percent of voters approved the marriage amendment.

While most Kentuckians are against homosexual "marriage," they are less clear about their feelings concerning warring husbands and wives. …