NOM BLOG

Smoot: Children Need Our Marriage Tradition

 

John Smoot, a trial court judge of Boston’s Probate and Family Court from 1990 to 2012, currently serves as a mediator at Boston Area Mediation. He writes in the Public Discourse that "Redefining marriage will make it harder for our children to develop their self-understanding and will sanction procreative methods that treat children like commodities":

Kids at Wedding"Chauncey is right; we transformed the “Normal.” We created a “new Normal.” The mantra of the revolution, “If it feels good, do it,” ultimately weakened the institution of marriage with its inherent restraints and responsibilities, ballooned the divorce rate, and brought the number of out-of-wedlock births to 40 percent of all children born in America. All of which translates into poverty, crime, and suffering.

Over the course of twenty-one years as a judge in Boston, I granted thousands of divorces and heard thousands of cases involving children of unmarried parents. Yes, there were adults and children who benefited from divorce just as there were children of single parent families who did fine or excelled. Overall, however, the revolution that encouraged “pleasure, freedom, [and] self-expression” brought an immense amount of pain and misery. Was it bad for everyone? No. Was it bad for millions? Yes.

Social policy and cultural change have an impact on all of us. And clearly, the impact is not always for the good. Now, we are transforming marriage by eliminating its inherent gender distinctions."