Sunday, April 28, 2013

Marriage is seen not as a common good but as a personal "capstone"

Here’s an instructive little soliloquy on marriage, by Andrew J. Cherlin (polic policy and sociology. Johns Hopkins), “In the Season of Marriage, a Question: Why Bother?”, link here

He discusses a now well-vetted Pew Research study of marriage and income from 2010. Latest work is on gender roles in marriage, report (Modern Parenthood" as if "modern family" is here)

It seems like college educated men and women delay both marriage and having children until they have “made it” on their own, and tend to view marriage and family as a “capstone”. Even so, given the prevalence of pre-nups, they seem to have doubts as to whether they can make it for a lifetime.

Less educated or lower income people are more likely to have children because they see lineage as essential.  But they see marriage itself as optional, something that happens later, often not  with the first child.  The so called “marriage penalty” may affect them, as typically everyone has to work anyway.

For years, gays and lesbians (particularly men) were simply outside the box.  But in middle class professional cycles, the greater discretionary income and, sometimes, more time available for overtime (compensated or not) could create tensions.  Did this add to the notion that marriage, maybe even procreation, was “optional” for everyone?  The religious right sometimes says that, although in most work environments people are already set in their lifestyles. 
With same-sex marriage there may develop a flip side:  if the need for adoption is so great, maybe same-sex couples will be expected to pick up the slack children born without (straight) marriage.   

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