'The President's Marriage Agenda': How to reduce suffering for children and strengthen families

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  • JSB Sugar City, ID
    Dec. 28, 2012 5:48 p.m.

    No one seems to be considering the long-term consequences of legalizing gay marriage. Once gay marriage is legalized what will prevent other types of relationships from becoming legal. Polyamorous families (where there are two or more adults of each sex) are waiting anxiously for gay marriage legalization because they will then demand the same rights. What's to prevent siblings from "marrying" or a son and mother, or a father and daughter? Or a father and son, etc. etc. Defining marriage as between a man and a woman is the only way to prevent these other relationships from receiving legal recognition. And, if they get legal recognition the social chaos in our society will be beyond anything we have ever imagined. And the ones to suffer most will be children who will grow up to be unstable adults. Stick with one man and one woman. It's not perfect but it is far superior to any other arrangement.

  • The Balloonatic Taylorsville, UT
    Dec. 28, 2012 1:38 p.m.

    Is the "President's Agenda," belonging to President Obama, or the president of Center for Marriage and Family? These are all good ideas, but if it's President Obama's agenda, I don't think the government should be involved. I'm confused if it is President Obama's agenda on improving families, because it contradicts what he's been supporting.

  • spring street SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    Dec. 27, 2012 9:52 p.m.

    so the writer does not know the president but you believe you know what is in his heart and mind? interesting.

  • marlli Herriman, UT
    Dec. 27, 2012 9:49 p.m.

    Great article, one that every American should ponder. I'd love for you to visit my high school classroom when my students are given this article as a reading assignment and discussion topic. The room becomes very tense as I point out statistics and ask for suggestions from the students as to Why trends move one way or another. Young people from broken families refuse to acknowledge that ANY of these statistics could possibly apply to their own family. How much hope do we have of changing behavior patterns in society unless we persist in making plain the message of the trends you write about in your article. Just food for thought. This is what makes teaching high school such a challenge and a calling!

  • Mr.Glass Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 27, 2012 6:55 a.m.

    Who is the authority on what constitutes the family? Religious Conservatives are unable comprehend that a lesbian, married couple who are raising two children are enjoying the same lifestyle as straight, married couple. They read books to them each night, tell them how much they love them, providing them with music lessons and enjoying their careers as loving and concerned parents. The lesbian couple I know are fine examples for all parents, not just for other lesbian parents. Why? Because they are human beings are us. They too raise children in ways that are obvious healthy and would be healthy for all if we all followed their example. Love is universal. Their children love their two parents. They formed familial bonds immediately after birth. If any of you opened your hearts and regarded them as fine human beings, you would all stop seeing them as a threat to families. Indeed, they are the finest examples of what it takes to enjoy wholesome family life. It wouldn't hurt your family if you mingled with families of same sex parents. You would strengthen civilization by extending your support to those who are different than you and really learn something.

  • BoMerit Alpine, UT
    Dec. 27, 2012 12:51 a.m.

    While not disagreeing with all points made, the flavor of the article does seem to be economics. I don't want to paint the recommendations as worship of the almighty dollar, but there is something missing here that I can comment on from experience.
    My family went through a devestating past 3+ years where we lost everything and I could not find work no matter how hard I tried. Rather than worrying about just economics, my wife stayed at home with the kids while I scratched to bring in just enough to support a very meager existance. Our focus became gratitude to God for what we DID have, not what we were lacking, and we've never been so happy even though we're not out of the woods still economically. Obedience to God's commandments, service to others, and seeking to adopt higher principals than simply affording to buy more and eat better led to the happiest time in our family's history of 16 years.

    Hutterite, please back up with facts. I've lived around this country & families seem weakest in states that allow gays to marry and which offer residents the widest safety nets. So why take it national?

  • micki Sebastopol, CA
    Dec. 26, 2012 3:59 p.m.

    It is not enough to just encourage marriage, or even to implement those policies which would possibly force women in poverty to remain with abusive partners, endangering them and their children. Forcing women to stay with abusive partners because of dire economic consequences will not "strengthen marriage" it could even raise the statistics on domestic violence and spousal homicide. We must focus on the well being of children and their mothers first, and also educating young men in how to treat women with respect. When 2/3 of young minority men have slim prospects for gainful employment, as well as a very good chance they will end up incarcerated, this does not "strengthen marriage". Marriage for marriage's sake is not the answer. Fostering Loving Non Violent Non Dysfunctional relationships would be a better use of resources, time, and funds.

  • Wayne Rout El Paso, TX
    Dec. 24, 2012 5:16 p.m.

    The wrirer does not know Obama. The president is for the destruction of the family and religion.

  • Mike in Cedar City Cedar City, Utah
    Dec. 24, 2012 9:37 a.m.

    Very Concerned. If the Mormon Church is concerned about families perhaps might consider breaking its noticeable silence on gun control. Seems to me that the murder of children in this gun toting society is destructive of the familly unit. Why the silence on this issue?

  • Cinci Man FT MITCHELL, KY
    Dec. 24, 2012 7:46 a.m.

    How does gay marriage strengthen the eternal family?

  • m.g. scott LAYTON, UT
    Dec. 23, 2012 6:30 p.m.

    Last word. Democrats benefit from single people politically. They will talk importance of families while legislating against them. Period. End of story.

  • RanchHand Huntsville, UT
    Dec. 23, 2012 9:46 a.m.

    Apache says:

    "I would like to know how Obama's 'Gay Marriage' agenda strengthens families?"


    We gays and lesbians have families too. Marriage, as the article clearly states, strengthens families - marriage will also strengthen ours. Could it be any clearer.

  • RanchHand Huntsville, UT
    Dec. 23, 2012 9:40 a.m.

    You can't tell millions of Americans that they can't marry because they're not good enough for marriage and expect that the message isn't going to reach those you would prefer would marry.

    Those of you who think that gays and lesbians can't procreate haven't met science. Science, meet conservatives. Conservatives meet science. Now that you've been introduced, conservatives, perhaps you'll get a clue?

  • pragmatistferlife salt lake city, utah
    Dec. 23, 2012 7:52 a.m.

    Patriot..that is truly one of the most off target remarks ever..by the way what is the time of day..cut taxes, and give everyone a gun..huh?

  • Apache Draper, UT
    Dec. 22, 2012 8:52 p.m.

    I would like to know how Obama's 'Gay Marriage' agenda strengthens families?

  • Rynn Las Vegas, NV
    Dec. 22, 2012 8:27 a.m.

    You cannot paint all divorces with the same brush. Every divorce has a different story. Sometimes they are breakups for frivolous reasons that could have been avoided. But other times they are breakups because of abuse or because one or both spouses refused to compromise in the marriage. Staying together "for the kids" is not always the best option. If the parents cannot get along, that is the example they are giving their children. If Dad yells at Mom or Mom hits Dad, they are making the kids think that is how you behave as a spouse. Plus that is not a very peaceful home environment for a child.
    So I think that each story needs to be looked at individually. If a child has a mother/father with a healthy marriage, that is good. But sometimes families are different. Sometimes Mom & StepDad or Dad & StepMom are the healthier family. Or Grandma & Grandpa. I think what's most important for a child is having a safe, caring home to be raised in.

  • ChairmanMauzer Taylorsville, UT
    Dec. 21, 2012 3:42 p.m.

    @Big J and Opinionated

    I take it neither of you have ever heard of in vitro fertilization or surrogacy pregnancies or adoption? Not only are same sex couple capable of producing children they should be allowed to adopt, as there are plenty of kids in this country in need of adoptive parents.

    As to the discussion of redefining marriage, marriage has been redefined many times throughout history. Historically many marriages consisted of exchanging one's daughter for cattle or land. Some marriages invoked one many and a harem of women. In many cases women didn't get a say in who they married (and sometimes neither did men.) Humans are an adaptable species. To say that marriage has always been one man and one woman is disingenuous at best.

  • Apache Draper, UT
    Dec. 21, 2012 9:42 a.m.

    Ban homosexual marriage, teach moral and virtuous values in schools, strengthen the traditional family, improve marriage counseling, put religion back into the family, and last, but not least, hold people accountable for their actions. I can think of many more suggestions, but I would be here all day.

  • Baccus0902 Leesburg, VA
    Dec. 20, 2012 7:10 p.m.

    @Born That Way:
    You wrote: "Children deserve better, stronger homes, with parents that are committed to one another through marriage. Without a proper focus on the actual problems in marriage we'll never get around to solving them. We need to redefine marriage in other terms."

    I agree 100% with you.

    I assume that when you talk about children , you include all of them. Some children are adopted or gestated by gay parents. Therefore, I have to conclude you are a SSM supporter.

    Also, I am pleasantly surprised that you asked to "redefine " marriage. Which is usually the line that those who are against SSM use.

    I think the premise of this article is that marriage should not be abolish but fortified by allowing all of those able to implement a parental role, to commit in the civil or religious contract called marriage.

    My dear "Born That Way" Thank you for your support.

  • Logit ,
    Dec. 19, 2012 6:13 p.m.

    "Lerman.... noted males lag behind females in both college and high school graduation and said he supports trying to expand occupational training, especially apprenticeship, to help young men and young women — but especially men — to gain certain mastery of an occupation they can take pride in."

    And just where are we going to find all the young women with bachelor and masters degrees who will take enduring interest in marrying their lower earning, less educated male counterparts?

  • Logit ,
    Dec. 19, 2012 6:08 p.m.

    "'I think that what we're seeing today is a lot of weakening capabilities of young men,'" said Lerman. He noted males lag behind females in both college and high school graduation and said he supports trying to expand occupational training, especially apprenticeship, to help young men and young women — but especially men — to gain certain mastery of an occupation they can take pride in."

    So let me get this straight... we have removed male scholarships through title IX, we favor female college applicants over male applicants through affirmative action, most colleges have removed due process for males and assume the guilt of any man named in a harassment complaint, we've vilified the establishment of "male studies" programs as misogynist while awarding PhDs in "women's studies"... and then we wonder how we're weakening the capabilities of young men? Is this quote some kind of joke? Is the author of the quote so steeped in or confined to his own ivory tower that he can't even see straight?

    Amazing. Truly amazing.

  • zoar63 Mesa, AZ
    Dec. 19, 2012 2:27 p.m.

    @Turtles Run

    Just because someone reads a professional journal does not make everything that is read actual fact. Don’t forget there are professionals in the same field that would disagree with their findings using their research to substantiate their own claims.

  • Turtles Run Missouri City, TX
    Dec. 19, 2012 11:44 a.m.


    Please provide your unbiased source(s). My evidence is from an actual medical association, the American Psychological Association. Children benefit most by being raised in loving stable households. Your comments are reminiscence of those that claimed children from mixed race parents were at a disadvantage.

  • Born that Way Layton, UT
    Dec. 19, 2012 6:55 a.m.

    The fact that every time we talk about strengthening marriage, someone discusses gay marriage is evidence that gay marriage is weakening marriage. Honestly I don't care about it in this context, but unfortunately, it has dilluted the discussion, in typical its narcissistic fashion. "Look at me. It's all about me. Look at me I'm gay."

    The intent of strenghtening marriage is to give children more means, a better home environment, but gay marriage reduces the marriage relationship down to the question "with do you prefer having sexual relations?" Sex can be a component to marriage, but it is just one piece to what makes a committed marriage. And if we were to examine it in the context of what's keeping people from embracing marriage, one might suppose that the only effect focusing on sexual relations has on marriage is that (because promiscuity is so rampant), marriage seem pointless--since people getting sex without marriage.

    Children deserve better, stronger homes, with parents that are committed to one another through marriage. Without a proper focus on the actual problems in marriage we'll never get around to solving them. We need to redefine marriage in other terms.

  • Mick Murray, Utah
    Dec. 19, 2012 6:55 a.m.


    And it is best when they have a MOM and a DAD in the home.

  • DanO Mission Viejo, CA
    Dec. 18, 2012 10:59 p.m.


    1. Done.. they never were
    2. Doesn't make sense. You seem to think there's a shortage of adopted children. There aren't.
    3. Talk to your Republican friends who are holding your tax cuts hostage. In fact Obama has not raised your taxes. Taxes are set by Congress.
    4. See #3
    5. Voters are working on legalizing marijuana. The President hasn't.
    6. Obama has not put forward any proposal to ban guns.
    7. China doesn't hold as much debt as you think it does.
    8. Sure, let's start with the military which has said they don't need as much money that Congress insists they have.

    And yes Mick. Multiple adults in a child's life is better. No parent ever raises a child by themselves unless they live in a vacuum. Grandparents, uncles, aunts, teachers and even clergy help raise children.

  • HappyHeathen Puyallu, Wa.
    Dec. 18, 2012 10:39 p.m.

    Here in Washington State we just approved gay marriage by 56.4% of the votes because we think every family is important and a positive message about marriage. Peace!

  • Mick Murray, Utah
    Dec. 18, 2012 7:24 p.m.

    turtles run-

    I can find just as many studies supporting heterosexual couples as the best parents as you can supporting homosexual couples.

    My question to you is this: "If gender doesn't matter when raising a child and any two adults will do, wouldn't 3, 4 or 5 adults be better at raising a child?"

  • patriot Cedar Hills, UT
    Dec. 18, 2012 5:14 p.m.

    Some suggestions for Barack on how to strengthen families...

    1. Stop all federally funded abortions from Obamacare. Families are strengthened when children actually live and get to join a family - the biological or adopted family.
    2. Stop gay marriage and allow a safe and healthy place for adopted children to be taught and nurtured.
    3. Stop raising taxes on families making it all but impossible to make ends meet. Try cutting taxes for once.
    4. Stop raising taxes on small business so people can find jobs to support their families.
    5. Stop legalizing drugs such as Marijuana so that families don't die on the highway from a pot smoker who has lost touch with reality.
    6. Stop trying to ban guns so that families can protect themselves from evil killers.
    7. Stop borrowing trillions from China so that future Americans will actually have a future.
    8. Start cutting government programs before all of America goes bankrupt. Families can't function under bankruptcy.

    There are more.... but these will get you started Barack!!!

  • kargirl Sacramento, CA
    Dec. 18, 2012 4:34 p.m.

    More should have been said about older people marrying. Some would gladly do so but don't, if they can't get medical care, or if the income won't be sufficient, in their view, to live on, especially depending on the place they live. But they are often overlooked since having children is not an issue and no one thinks it means that much to them any more...but I'm here to tell you, it does. And it does matter to people that they be able to marry the person they love. It does matter whether the couple raising a child loves one another, whether they are the biological parents or not, same gender, grandparents, extended family, or not. What children need is the example before them, a family. And sometimes, just mom or just dad, is all there is, and we have to not make that parent feel inadequate for doing the best he or she can with all they've got.. So let's do the best we can with what we have, and help one another in the spirit of brotherly love. Can we do that?

  • Big J Bountiful, UT
    Dec. 18, 2012 4:23 p.m.

    Turtles Run

    Last time I checked, it takes a male and a female to procreate and it is through procreation a family can be formed. Adam and Steve cannot make it happen just as Abby and Eve cannot do it either. Accept it.

    The best family environment for children begins with a loving, supportive heterosexual marriage. Please let us stop kidding ourselves about this. With that said, yes it is possible to have a functional family environment with other configurations but they will never be ideal and we should do all we can to strengthen traditional marriage and families.

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 18, 2012 4:12 p.m.

    "Every liberal should be required to take a basic economics course. "

    Republicans should take that course too. Then they would learn that tax cuts don't increase revenue (if they did then we could lower taxes to 0, balance the budget, pay off the deficit, and surely we'd have enough money left over to buy everyone a pony).

  • Ender Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 18, 2012 3:25 p.m.

    Demonizing religion and promoting an even bigger, more unsustainable government is simply not the right answer.

    Regarding your religious "mould" comment, I can only assume you mean the predominant religious: LDS... Have you seen the "I'm a Mormon" campaign? Even I was shocked (and pleased) by the diverse representatives of the faith in the campaign.

    Bigger government (e.g. single payer healthcare, increased welfare programs, cheaper education, etc.) is what got us in this debt mess to begin with! Every liberal should be required to take a basic economics course. Scarcity of resources is a principle tenet. And without some major rethinking, each of the objectives you mention costs money.

  • Turtles Run Missouri City, TX
    Dec. 18, 2012 3:12 p.m.


    How is same-sex marriage "redefining marriage"? Marriage has evolved throughout time and will continue to evolve. If two consenting adults wish to marry then let them It does not affect your marriage or mine. It does however provide a level of legitimacy that will strengthen families overall.

  • Opinionated Sandy, UT
    Dec. 18, 2012 3:09 p.m.

    RE: Turtles Run. You're wrong. Truly gay and lesbian couple are not capable of having children.

  • Turtles Run Missouri City, TX
    Dec. 18, 2012 2:54 p.m.

    Sponge Bob wrote: Funny how we never had to "do" anything 50 years ago to avoid these calamities that have arisen in recent years. Is it because we have forgotten God?

    Fifty years ago we forced people to live as second class citizens in many parts of the nation, homosexuals were forced to live in denial of their true nature, inter-racial marriage was illegal in many states, women were forced to remain in abusive marriage due to the difficulty and social stigma associated with divorce, and religious intolerance were the rule of the day.

    No, our society have greatly improved were more people are free to participate openly in society and women have greater freedom to determine the course of their lives and bodies.

    Marriage should be strengthened but not by forcing bad marriages to continue and denying the rights of homosexuals.

  • Turtles Run Missouri City, TX
    Dec. 18, 2012 2:40 p.m.

    One thing the author of this article could do to strengthen families in this country is to stop lying about families. The believe that a man and woman are the best parental pairing.

    "That is, lesbian and gay parents are as likely as heterosexual parents to provide supportive and healthy environments for their children. This body of research has shown that the adjustment, development, and psychological well-being of children are unrelated to parental sexual orientation and that the children of lesbian and gay parents are as likely as those of heterosexual parents to flourish."

    A person cannot argue for strengthening families but refuse recognize all families. When all families are valued then families will become more valued.

  • Jeff Temple City, CA
    Dec. 18, 2012 1:15 p.m.

    Both Hutterite and UtahDemocrat advocate same-gender marriage as a possible help for the reported decline in marriage.

    This is an old argument used by bureaucrats for generations: When the statistics show that "something" is failing, redefine the "something." It's done in the schools all the time: when schools fail to meet their projected standards, they simply redefine the standards.

    I don't buy that redefinition scheme. Redefining marriage to include same-gender marriage will not give society what it needs. In fact, it will cause more problems than it could possibly solve. True, many of those problems will not show up immediately, but when they do show up the disaster will be awful to behold.

  • Opinionated Sandy, UT
    Dec. 18, 2012 1:00 p.m.

    Decreasing the wage gap will NOT help fsmilies...it will further driver parents out of the home in search of the "almighty buck". Want to fix families and raise well-balanced children? Then, Mom, stay home and teach them. Yes, I realize people will respond to my comment about keeping the women bare foot and pregnant. That is not my stance at all. It actually takes a very smart mother to raise well-balanced children. But don't abandon your children by entering the workforce.

  • UtahDemocrat Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 18, 2012 12:32 p.m.

    I applaud the Center for Marriage and Families for focusing on real threats to marriage. I've participated in countless forums, debates, and speeches where the issue of marriage for gay and lesbian couples is framed as "Gay Marriage v. Defending Marriage." There are real threats to marriage in society, but it's not the two men who live together down the street. Let's focus on systemic disincentives to entering marriage and staying married. Gay and lesbian couples are scapegoats and keeping 5% of the population from getting a marriage license won't protect your families. Let's talk about what will.

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 18, 2012 12:12 p.m.

    There are tax incentives for married couples. That's why Obama had long been saying that he wanted to get rid of the bush tax cuts for individuals making over 200k and couples making over 250k.

  • oldschool Farmington, UT
    Dec. 18, 2012 11:10 a.m.

    Ms. Carbone says the problem is not family values. It's the chief problem. People nowadays condone, accept and even promote cohabitation and even having children before marriage. Divorce used to be strongly discouraged and people who had divorced were seen negatively by society and in some circles even shunned. Nowadays many people see divorce as a solution to problems. I'm certainly not in favor of judging a person based on his or her marriage record because nobody knows what goes on behind closed doors. But society should do everything reasonable to support marriage and discourage divorce. There should be tax incentives FOR married couples rather than tax penalties against them. As for Carbone's claim that income inequality is to blame, she can't have it both ways. She complains that the Donald Trumps of the world make too much money, and then she complains there are too many women (vs. men) who are college educated and well paid.

  • BYU Track Star Los Angeles, CA
    Dec. 17, 2012 11:51 a.m.

    I would like to remarry. But the aftermath of my long-term marriage is plainly: She was financially rewarded for quitting the marriage, She got Half my pension. Half my 401k Plus she gets Spousal support (about 30% of my gross) until I reach retirement age. She has a dis-incentive to remarry or cohabit as she would lose the Spousal Support which doubled her annual income. Its a real challenge to have to choose between paying a full tithe or making my house payment. Stories of miracalous financial events tied from paying a full tithe make me winch and fearful

  • Sponge Bob Rockwall, TX
    Dec. 16, 2012 3:13 p.m.

    I know the mood of this country right now is "we've got to do something " for every problem we have. Funny how we never had to "do" anything 50 years ago to avoid these calamities that have arisen in recent years. Is it because we have forgotten God? We allowed people to push God out of our public life and we allowed it to carry over to our personal life also. Creating a larger social safety net and providing free health care and gays to marry will not change this trend. The only way to change this tsunami is to put God back in our personal lives. Teach kids morals at home and at school. Teach them ethics at home and school. Otherwise...the problems will only continue to get worse!

  • Thinkman Provo, UT
    Dec. 16, 2012 2:42 p.m.

    Take away no fault divorce laws and limit alimony to 3 years maximum and you will see divorce drop in half. You would then see a much more favorable view from couples who are living together to get married.

    Easy divorce had led to a crumbling of the state of marriage.

  • very concerned Sandy, UT
    Dec. 16, 2012 11:02 a.m.

    There is a national interest in having strong families. 60%, as quoted in the article, is a huge number which will have significant national consequences. However, some of the liberal solutions - perhaps unintentionally - place a bigger burden on families through higher taxes for some, if not all.

    It is sobering that family researchers are learning things that have long been taught by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day-Saints and other organizations. Please see *The Family, A Proclamation to the World*; by going to LDS.org, then RESOURCES, then HOME AND FAMILY, and finally, the proclamation.

    *WE WARN that individuals who violate covenants of chastity, who abuse spouse or offspring, or who fail to fulfill family responsibilities will one day stand accountable before God. Further, we warn that the disintegration of the family will bring upon individuals, communities, and nations the calamities foretold by ancient and modern prophets.

    WE CALL UPON responsible citizens and officers of government everywhere to promote those measures designed to maintain and strengthen the family as the fundamental unit of society.*

    Never more timely and necessary teachings

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    Dec. 16, 2012 9:23 a.m.

    Allow gays to marry. Implement a single payer health care system to remove the burden and worry of health care from so many families. Create a broader social safety net.Make post secondary education more affordable. There are lots of things we can do as a society to help marriage and family besides just trying to force them into some mould a church imposes.

  • bandersen Saint George, UT
    Dec. 16, 2012 7:23 a.m.

    At the very minimum, the federal government must be contained by consitutional restraints, which is to allow the states to come up with their own plans to deal with not just this issue, but every related issue that is not the Federal Government's business. Penalizing marraige, and encouraging men and women to live together without it, is just one of them. The irony of all this is watching both political parties scramble to 'solve' the problem by means of compulsion, something that will only make things worse. Any person who believes that compulsion is the best way to deal with this is delusional at best. Until enough citizens realize that the best way to solve a problem is by teaching and living correct principles within the familly, we will continue to have a government that spends more and solves less. Right now our federal government promotes welfare, promotes living together without marraige (via tax policy and a host of other anti-family measures), and has abandoned its primary role of guranteeing rights and abiding by constitutional law.