No matter how much social engineering we engage in and how much money we throw at the societal disasters we are creating (yes, we are creating-they do not arise in and of themselves), until there is a flourishing marriage and family culture, nothing can change.
Government cannot do what only families can do. Government can only try to contain the messes we are creating through increased numbers of police and courts, the two necessary institutions that follow from fractured families. When the family cracks, government has to grow to fill the void.
By definition government can make only a minimal difference in containing the disorder that flows out of disordered homes. This is one of the key points Robert George of Princeton University makes in his book, “Marriage.” The less contractual the relationship is between men and women who cohabit and produce babies, the more the courts will have to intervene to make the decisions that affect the future of those babies-visitation rights, financial obligations, health decisions, etc. Inevitably the police state has to grow to intervene as adults assert competing rights rather than cooperate based upon the comprehensive union that marriage is.
I have always been of the mind that no-fault divorce is at the root of much of the disorder. This makes marriage even less of a contract. Society has always demanded that marriage be regulated by the state, partly due to the consequences that flow to the broader society when the obligations it entails are diminished. Children, in order to flourish, require at the minimum 18 years+ of parenting by a present father and mother. Part of the devastation of the Supreme Court ruling on SSM, is its conclusion that the presence of a father and mother are not essential elements of marriage and of the environment needed by children to flourish. That ruling will affect all marriages because, as they say, the law teaches. And what the law has taught is that a man and woman fulfilling a contract necessary for the health of children is no longer a critical element in marriage.
Children are now fully vulnerable for the sake of the emotional fulfillment of adults. Because of what marriage is, divorce and abandonment of children are counter-nature. Marriage needs legal sanction to keep society safe from its breakdown and from having to step in when marriages disrupt, as society always has to do. Divorces and cohabitation arrangements are never self-contained.
As long as we see marriage as primarily and essentially emotional attachment we are on the cliff of societal dismantling.