“Should our laws treat marriage and cohabitation as if they were identical? Is the old conjugal view of marriage as a lifelong union of husband and wife obsolete, an impediment to our dealing with the new realities of cohabitation, late marriage, divorce, and non-marital childbearing? Or is that old view essential to the sound rearing of the next generation? Is a marriage culture something to be revived and strengthened in our laws, or should its remnants be jettisoned in favor of laws better adapted to a culture of ‘close relationships’ and ‘family diversity’?”
Claudia Anderson poses this question in a report on a symposium on the status of marriage and legal definitions of said-institution.
“In the 15 years Leah Sears has served on Georgia’s high court, she has watched with alarm as its domestic-relations caseload has risen from 20 percent of all criminal and civil cases to 65 percent. And that doesn’t include the fallout from family breakdown in juvenile court. Georgia’s underfunded courts are swamped, she says–and, worse, they ‘are not the proper venue to solve our family problems.'”