Media Release 9 July 2006
Following on from its release last week of its ‘Principles of Family’ – 11 principles highlighting the meaning and significance of the term ‘family’ – Family First has released its 10 ‘Principles of Marriage and the Public Good’.
They are the result of scholarly discussions that began in December, 2004 at a meeting in Princeton, New Jersey USA, sponsored by the Witherspoon Institute. This conference brought together scholars from History, Economics, Psychiatry, Law, Sociology and Philosophy to share with each other the findings of their research on why marriage is in the public interest.
These Principles are:
1. Marriage is a personal union, intended for the whole of life, of husband and wife.
2. Marriage is a profound human good, elevating and perfecting our social and sexual nature.
3. Ordinarily, both men and women who marry are better off as a result.
4. Marriage protects and promotes the wellbeing of children.
5. Marriage sustains civil society and promotes the common good.
6. Marriage is a wealth-creating institution, increasing human and social capital.
7. When marriage weakens, the equality gap widens, as children suffer from the disadvantages of growing up in homes without committed mothers and fathers.
8. A functioning marriage culture serves to protect political liberty and foster limited government.
9. The laws that govern marriage matter significantly.
10.”Civil marriage” and “religious marriage” cannot be rigidly or completely divorced from one another.
“These principles on marriage, combined with our ‘Principles on Family’ will be the basis of our advocacy,” says Bob McCoskrie. “We can no longer allow government policy, liberal mindset, or lobby groups redefine family and marriage for their own purposes or to satisfy their ideology.”
According to Why Marriage Matters – a report co-authored by 13 leading social-science scholars, including Professor William Galston, who was a domestic policy adviser to the Clinton administration – children in intact, two-parent families earn more, learn more and get into trouble less. They also tend to lead longer, healthier, happier lives, avoid alcohol and drug abuse and endure significantly less physical, mental and psychological abuse. Because of this, they generally require less government welfare such as remedial learning, youth justice, drug and alcohol rehabilitation, depression counselling, and financial welfare assistance.
David Popenoe, of the Marriage Project at Rutgers University (USA), has probably done more research on marriage and family than anyone else in the world. He concludes:
“Social science research is almost never conclusive… Yet in three decades of work as a social scientist, I know of few other bodies of data in which the weight of evidence is so decisively on one side of the issue; on the whole, for children, two-parent families are preferable…”
“Marriage is not just an optional lifestyle choice for adults. It has far greater implications than that,” says Bob McCoskrie
“Despite the attempts over the last decade to redefine and minimise the importance of marriage and its benefits, these principles and the associated research validating them will remind us of what we, as a community, need to encourage for the benefit of our children and future generations.”
Both documents on Family and Marriage can be viewed online: