They do: The scholarly about-face on marriage

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Is marriage necessary?  Americans are marrying later in life, and more of us have never married at all. Having children outside of marriage is less stigmatized than ever, making “shotgun weddings” a relic in most quarters. Today, about 40 percent of children are born to unmarried parents. If you squint, it’s possible to imagine the end of marriage in America is on its way.

Skeptics look at this decline and say: Good riddance! Isn’t marriage an old-fashioned, oppressive institution anyway? Recently, however, a wave of research from think tanks on the right and left, as well as scholars in social sciences like economics and sociology, has made a forceful new defense of the venerable institution.

“It’s true that there’s a line some liberal sociologists won’t cross, that line of accepting marriage as the best arrangement,” said Andrew Cherlin, a sociologist and professor of public policy at Johns Hopkins University. “But I think there are a growing number of sociologists who would concede that in the world we live in today, marriage seems like the best way to give kids a stable family life.”




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