Last edited: March 05, 2005

In Defense of Marriage, Families

State could do more for “traditional families.”

Connection Newspapers, February 11, 2005
7913 Westpark Drive, McLean, Va. 22102

If strengthening the traditional family and defending marriage are really the top priorities of many members of the Virginia General Assembly, there are many steps that could have a direct impact that this set of legislators have not yet considered.

First, what is the leading threat to marriage in Virginia and the United States? On the most basic level, it’s divorce, the dissolution of marriage vows. What is the number one cause of divorce? It’s adultery.

With that in mind, it would make sense to legislate a couple of things: One, make it harder to get married. Impose a waiting period. Require marriage education (like drivers education) before hand. Create a more precise and demanding contract for review before marriage.

Two, make it much harder to get divorced. Impose a longer waiting period. Require more education and formal attempts at reconciliation before a couple can file for divorce. And three, while adultery is already a crime, perhaps enforcement and consequences should be stepped up.

Having a family next door that is headed by a same sex couple is not likely to be much of threat to anyone’s marriage. But if the family next door with a traditional couple includes a husband or wife looking to have an affair, that could in many circumstances cause an end not only to that marriage, but to another one nearby as well.

Of course we would rather not see government impose its will on individuals in private matters. But they are proposals that would lead to more enduring traditional marriages in the Commonwealth.

There are other approaches. Families are often devastated by the costs of having a child with disabilities, or a family member with a substance abuse problem or mental illness. Families are often devastated if one income is lost. The immense cost of health insurance and health care means that any family with one member in crisis is facing pressures that often increase the likelihood of divorce, of the family breaking up.

More state funding for these contingencies, to support families in crisis, would also strengthen marriage and families in the Commonwealth.

Dig Deeper

Connection Newspapers, March 3, 2005
Letters to the Editor

To the Editor:

In your editorial “In Defense of Marriage, Families” [Connection, Feb. 10-16], you listed three things that should be done to protect marriage. Item 3 on your list—stepping up enforcement and consequences of adultery—is a joke in Fairfax County. It will never happen. The county government does not only condone cohabitation and adultery, both violations of Virginia Code, it approves these practices within the Fairfax County Court. I agree with the position you expressed in the editorial that we don’t want to see government impose its will on individuals in private matters. But, the department supervisors have an obligation to the people they are tasked with defending to ensure that the Court staff is not violating the Code they are hired to defend. Until the county government becomes proactive in protecting the Code and limiting the blatant violation of the Code by its staff, there is no way we the people can expect the government to enforce the laws designed to protect our social establishment or us.

A traditional role of the print media has been to carefully monitor the inner workings and hidden mechanisms of local government. I cannot recall any issues that have been revealed to us by The Connection Newspapers. You have a responsibility to your readers to keep an eye on the Fairfax County government and how it operates. The fear of seeing their picture on the front page has made may politicians and bureaucrats think twice about their conduct and how they perform in their jobs. We need The Connection to dig more into the newsmakers and those who control our lives.

Ed Mills
Fairfax Station

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