Institute in the Public Square











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Slate on Why Marriage Matters
August 25, 2011
(Skip to 10:17)
Slate on Why Marriage Matters, August 25, 2011


Marriage is much in the news this month, and our scholars are at the forefront of the discussion. On Monday's PBS NewsHour, Institute president David Blankenhorn addressed new Census findings about marriage and divorce.

Census Data Reveals New Geography of Marriage for Americans

Ray Suarez, PBS NewsHour, August 29, 2011

"David Blankenhorn, Institute for American Values: In our parents' and grandparents' generation, when you got married you were joining an institution that had authority, told you the rules. You were supposed to act in accord with its procedures. Now the shift is toward private ordering. Each individual couple defines the relationship for themselves. One way to think about it is, in an earlier day, the marriage vow defined the couple. And now it's really the couple defining the marriage vow."

Watch Here

Meanwhile, the new third edition of our report, Why Marriage Matters: Thirty Conclusions from the Social Sciences, released this month by a team of family scholars led by W. Bradford Wilcox of the University of Virginia, has garnered widespread media attention and stirred debate in the U.S. and abroad. In addition to pieces in the New York Times and National Public Radio and many other outlets the week of its release, recent stories include:

A Shaky Foundation for Families

W. Bradford Wilcox, New York Times, Room for Debate, August 30, 2011

"Why is cohabitation so risky to children? Compared with marriage, cohabitation furnishes less commitment, stability, sexual fidelity, and safety to romantic partners and their children. Consequently, cohabiting couples are more than twice as likely to break up and four times more likely to be unfaithful to one another, compared with married couples. All this has obvious implications for children in these homes."

Read the Article

Parents Choose Cohabiting Over Marriage

Lisa Belkin, New York Times Motherlode blog, August 17, 2011

"A twelvefold increase in the number of cohabiting households over the last four decades is of concern, the report's 18 authors say, because marriage is better for children."

Read the Article

The Double X Gabfest: Momentary Lapse of Judgment Edition

Jessica Grose, Kate Julian, and Hanna Rosin, Slate, August 25, 2011

"In this week's gabfest, DoubleX founding editor Hanna Rosin along with Slate senior editor Jessica Grose and editor Kate Julian discuss . . . a new report from the Institute for American Values about the rise of cohabitation."

Listen to the Discussion (Skip to 10:17) | And read a response at and at

Before Kids, Put a Ring On It

Kathryn Jean Lopez, National Review, August 23, 2011

"More than 40 percent of children in the United States spend time in a cohabiting household. That's among the findings of the new 'Why Marriage Matters' study from the Institute for American Values and the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia."

Read the Article

The Cohabitation Revolution

Rich Lowry, National Review, August 26, 2011

"According to a new study by the Institute for American Values and the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia, cohabitation has increased 14-fold since 1970."

Read the Article | And read at

Cohabitation, not divorce, now top marriage threat

David Blankenhorn, Sr., Jackson Clarion Ledger, August 26, 2011

"This third edition of Why Marriage Matters makes the case that many cohabiting Americans are starting an 'intimate' relationship rather than a 'committed' one."

Read the Article

Study: Cohabitation more harmful than divorce

Mark Pattison, National Catholic Reporter, August 25, 2011

"'Family instability continues to increase for the nation's children overall, mainly because more than 40 percent of American children will now spend time in a cohabiting household,' according to the study, 'Why Marriage Matters,' issued Aug. 16 by the Center for American Families at the Institute for American Values."

Read the Article | And read here at

First in Print: Cohabitaton--Largest Threat to Children

Mike McManus, The Daily Reporter, August 29, 2011

"The Institute for American Values issued a landmark report, 'Why Marriage Matters, Third Edition' which states: 'The rise of cohabitation is the largest unrecognized threat to the quality and stability of children's family lives.'"

Read the Article

In our work on the future of parenthood:

Barn är ingen mänsklig rättighet

Anna Lagerblad, Svenska Dagbladet (Sweden daily paper), August 29, 2011

"'To protect their own feelings, parents often turn a blind eye to the difficulties that donor children can experience,' says blogger and founder Alana S., whose story was featured on the front page of one of Sweden's major daily newspapers."

Read the Article | And read a note about the article by Alana S. at

Tell kids early, says report on sperm donation

Michael Cook, BioEdge, August 12, 2011

"A well-publicised report last year from the Institute for American Values found that 'young adults conceived through sperm donation are hurting more.'"

Read the Article

Other media attention to our marriage and family work includes:

Divorce reform could save billions in government aid

Cheryl Wetzstein, Washington Times, August 15, 2011

"Even a 'modest reduction' in the U.S. divorce rate likely would benefit 400,000 children and save taxpayers significant sums, wrote retired Georgia Supreme Court Chief Justice [and Institute board member and senior fellow] Leah Ward Sears and University of Minnesota professor [and Institute partner] William J. Doherty, proponents of a new 'Second Chances' divorce reform."

Read the Article

Yount: A call to save marriage in America

David Yount, The Republic, July 27, 2011

"Last December, the National Marriage Project and the Institute for American Values noted that marriage is disappearing among middle-class Americans. A majority (60 percent) of first marriages happen after couples first live together. Three of every five unmarried couples have children."

Read the Article

Money, Education, and Marriage: The New Relationship

Voice of America, August 14, 2011

"[Institute senior fellow] Brad Wilcox is a sociology professor at the University of Virginia and head of a pro-marriage group, the National Marriage Project."

Read the Article


Family Happiness and the Overbooked Child

Alina Tugend, New York Times, August 12, 2011

"'Parents can say no to material things, but it's very hard to do that for what we call [enrichment] opportunities,' said Barbara Dafoe Whitehead, director of the John Templeton Center for Thrift and Generosity at the nonprofit Institute for American Values. . . 'Kids have to understand there are limits to what a parent can do for them, but it's very, very difficult to say, "I'm sorry, we can't afford it,"' she added."

Read the Article | And read at the Gainesville Sun and the Times of India

Government push to expand gambling is a bad bet for Americans, August 1, 2011

"The new website,, launched by the Institute for American Values, sheds light on the numerousand significant social ills caused by the partnership of governments with legalized gambling. Contrary to what elected officials would have citizens believe, state-sponsored gambling is bad public policy that costs all taxpayers."

Read the Article

Starved Budgets Inspire New Look at Web Gambling

Matt Richtel, New York Times, August 13, 2011

"'It's a business model built on addiction and indebtedness,' said Les Bernal, [Institute partner and] executive director of the Stop Predatory Gambling Foundation."

Read the Article | And read at Herald Tribune and

Congress may OK online gambling

Josh Kosman, New York Post, August 16, 2011

"Les Bernal, [Institute partner and] executive director of Stop Predatory Gambling, said, 'This is a government policy that shrinks the middle class and pushes people in deeper debt at a time the government should be encouraging people to save more money.'"

Read the Article

Gambling projections for Massachusetts no sure bet

Stephanie Ebbert and Casey Ross, Boston Globe, August 27, 2011

"'No matter where you look across America, the government policy to expand gambling has failed to deliver on its revenue promises and its job promises,' said Les Bernal, [Institute partner and] executive director of the national group Stop Predatory Gambling."

Read the Article

Gov. Patrick OK's racing simulcast bill

Boston Herald, July 29, 2011

"Les Bernal of the Stop Predatory Gambling Foundation [and Institute partner] is trying to direct viewers to a 60 Minutes segment set to re-air Sunday night on industry efforts to ensure slots are addictive products."

Read the Article

Business Digest for Aug. 2

Daily News staff, Milford Daily News, August 2, 2011

"The Davlin Philanthropic Fund, the first mutual fund to allow investors to direct charitable contributions from advisory fees, has announced that philanthropic author and historian [and Institute senior fellow] Claire Gaudiani of New York has been elected a board director of The Davlin Foundation in Wayland. Gaudiani is currently adjunct professor of philanthropy at the Wagner School of Public Service of New York University and chairwoman of Gaudiani Associates."

Read the Article

Ben Franklin's advice in 1782 about America revealing

David Blankenhorn, Sr., Jackson Clarion Ledger, August 12, 2011

"Franklin's 1782 advice to those who want to succeed was sound in 1782, and is so in 2011."

Read the Article

Parx officials tell state of child-abandonment deterrents

Suzette Parmley, Philadelphia Inquirer, August 18, 2011

"'Child neglect is a classic symptom of gambling addiction,' said Philadelphia attorney Paul Boni, a board member of the national [and Institute partner] Stop Predatory Gambling."

Read the Article

Gaming board gives Parx an earful about unsupervised kids

Suzette Parmley, Philadelphia Inquirer, August 19, 2011

"According to the national group [and Institute partner] Stop Predatory Gambling, outside Pennsylvania there have been five cases nationally since 2000 in which parents in Rhode Island, Oregon, Georgia, and Minnesota were arrested for leaving children in vehicles while the adults gambled."

Read the Article


September 30, 2011, "Three Views of Oman," St. Antony's College, Oxford, England

Please join us for the opening of a photography exhibit about society and religion in Oman, 1945-2006. The exhibit is curated by Institute Executive Vice President Raina Sacks Blankenhorn. Photographs are by Wilfred Thesinger, Charles Butt, and Edward Grazda.

View the Details


Upcoming conversations at our Center for Public Conversation:

September 22, 2011, "Our Call to Civil Society" New York, NY

A Conversation with Jean Bethke Elshtain, Laura Spellman Rockefeller Professor of Social and Political Ethics, Divinity School, University of Chicago, hosted by David Blankenhorn, president of the Institute for American Values. Please join us for a wide-ranging and riveting discussion on the state of American political life and culture with Professor Elshtain, one of the nation's most prominent public intellectuals and whose body of critical thought has shaped elite opinion for a quarter of a century.

View the Details

September 26, 2011, "Is Marriage for White People? How the Decline of African American Marriage Affects Everyone" New York, NY

A Conversation with Ralph Richard Banks, Jackson Eli Reynolds Professor of Law at Stanford Law School and Author, Is Marriage for White People? How the Decline of African American Marriage Affects Everyone, hosted by Leah Ward Sears, Georgia Supreme Court Chief Justice (retired). Based on his social science research, Professor Banks looks at the intimate lives of African American women and examines why they are not getting married and are the least likely to marry of any segment of the American population.

View the Details

See the most recent conversation held at our Center for Public Conversation:

Why Marriage Matters: An Argument for the Goods of Marriage

A Conversation with Elizabeth Marquardt, director of the Center for Marriage and Families at the Institute for American Values; Amy L. Wax, Robert Mundheim Professor of Law, University of Pennsylvania Law School; and W. Bradford Wilcox, director of the National Marriage Project, University of Virginia and chair of the team of scholars that authored the third edition of Why Marriage Matters; hosted by Jonathan Rauch, guest scholar at the Brookings Institution.

Watch Here


September 26, 2011, "The Ring Makes the Difference" Poughkeepsie, New York

Elizabeth Marquardt, director Center for Marriage and Families; Institute senior fellow and National Marriage Project director W. Bradford Wilcox; New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan; and Bruderhof Church Community senior pastor Johann Christoph Arnold discuss family and marriage.

View the Details


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