Being raised by two married biological parents has considerable benefits for a child. By contrast, simple cohabitation by biological parents is highly unstable and does not deliver significant long-term benefits. On the other hand, sequential cohabitation by single mothers with men unrelated to the child can actually prove harmful to children. Unfortunately, it is the latter type of cohabitation that is celebrated in the New York Times article.
Actual marriage between biological parents continues to decline. In 2006, 38.5% of all children born in the U.S. were born out-of-wedlock, up from 28% in 1990. In 2006, the out-of-wedlock birth rate among blacks was 70.7%, among Hispanics, 49.9% and among non-Hispanic whites, 26.6%.
The American left has traditionally regarded marriage as an imprisoning institution that makes women neurotic. Most women and children are seen as better off when freed from its shackles. Thus the left has watched the steady decline of marriage with indifference or quiet satisfaction. This scornful attitude persists despite the overwhelming evidence that the decline of marriage is the principal cause of child poverty and welfare dependence and is linked to a vast array of other social problems.
The Obama administration will almost certainly persist in this anti-marriage attitude despite occasional lip service to the contrary. For example, in keeping with the ongoing liberal saga of “defining deviance down”, the Obama team apparently plans to abolish the miniscule “black healthy marriage initiative” created by the Bush administration inside HHS and replace it with a “healthy families” program resting on the tired false premise that single parenthood, cohabitation, and marriage are interchangeable and all of equal value to children, adults and society. Further erosion of marriage within low income communities can be expected.