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Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Same sex marriage leads to a decline in marriage in the Netherlands.

July 21, 2004
There's a new development in the story of Europe's marriage meltdown. Recently, a group of five scholars in the Netherlands issued a letter addressed to "parliaments of the world debating the issue of same-sex marriage." The Netherlands was the first country to adopt full-fledged same-sex marriage, and this letter is the first serious indication of Dutch concern about the consequences of that decision. So it's worth quoting the letter at some length. After citing a raft of statistics documenting the decline of Dutch marriage, here is some of what these scholars had to say:

...there is as yet no definitive scientific evidence to suggest the long campaign for the legalization of same-sex marriage contributed to these harmful trends. However, there are good reasons to believe the decline in Dutch marriage may be connected to the successful public campaign for the opening of marriage to same-sex couples in the Netherlands. After all, supporters of same-sex marriage argued forcefully in favor of the (legal and social) separation of marriage from parenting. In parliament, advocates and opponents alike agreed that same-sex marriage would pave the way to greater acceptance of alternative forms of cohabitation.

In our judgment, it is difficult to imagine that a lengthy, highly visible, and ultimately successful campaign to persuade Dutch citizens that marriage is not connected to parenthood and that marriage and cohabitation are equally valid 'lifestyle choices' has not had serious social consequences....

There are undoubtedly other factors that have contributed to the decline of the institution of marriage in our country. Further scientific research is needed to establish the relative importance of all these factors. At the same time, we wish to note that enough evidence of marital decline already exists to raise serious concerns about the wisdom of the efforts to deconstruct marriage in its traditional form.

You can read an interview with two of the letter's signers here, and a front-page news story about the letter in the Dutch paper, Reformatorisch Dagblad, here.

Undeniable Decline
During last week's Federal Marriage Amendment debate, many senators referred to the Dutch scholars' statement, and to marital decline in Scandinavia and the Netherlands. Of course, you probably haven't heard about that, because, for the most part, the American press has refused to report the story. more ....

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