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Friday, May 15, 2009

Marriage Matters: Encourage Vows, Discourage Adultery

I should jump more eagerly at opportunities to agree with the good Professor Blanchard. He offers one such welcome opportunity with this passage on marriage, which he labels an "artificial institution" that grounds civil society by ensuring children have stable, two-parent families:

That is the point of marriage, and any thinking about protecting, reforming, or extending the institution must bear it in mind. I am guessing that same sex marriages generate some of the same dramas as traditional marriage. While children are not usually the issue (forgive pun), jealousy and infidelity probably feel much the same. If marriage is to work for anyone, it needs a social sanction. We ought to demonstrate the same indignation toward adultery as we due towards racism and other forms of intolerance. If you really believe in gay marriage or any other kind of marriage, that indignation is what it means [Ken Blanchard, "On the Meaning of Marriage," South Dakota Politics, 2009.05.16].

Indeed, our state which has outlawed gay marriage by constitutional amendment imposes little if any penalty for adultery. And a spouse who has an affair commits a much more direct assault on the sanctity of those forgotten wedding vows than any two men or two women who choose to say those vows to each other.

Perhaps Senator Thune will as vocally reject the leadership of adulterers like Newt Gingrich (not to mention serial divorcés like Rush Limbaugh) as he vocally rejects the elevation of homosexuals, faithful or not, to the Supreme Court.


  1. Actually, there is a seldom-used statute in South Dakota that a spouse who has been cheated on can use to extract damages/punishment. It's called "Alienation of Affection."

  2. Well there you go. That's why we should legalize gay marriage: that way homosexuals could hold cheating spouses accountable, too!

  3. Cory, honestly I thought better of you than to advocate lawmakers sanctimoniously interfering in people's relationships, which they truly know nothing about. It's the same story as government interfering in medical care... in the abstract it makes sense, but in the personal it is absolutely totalitarian social engineering and un-American.

    The main reason adultery has been decriminalized across this country (starting with Ronald Reagan's wise decision to sign no-fault divorce into law) is to economically protect women and children. The alienation of affection law is (like many things in this state) a holdover from the times when laws like this were used to punish women (and men) who threatened the status quo. It simply doesn't make sense in the modern world, and that's why it's very difficult to apply.

    South Dakota family law, thanks to dedicated hard working people like Linda Lea Viken, is now focused on protecting the rights of women, men, and children, not punishing perceived evildoers.

    I really hope you were joking.

  4. Prof Blanchard: We ought to demonstrate the same indignation toward adultery as we due [sic] towards racism and other forms of intolerance.The truth is, we don't. Authorizing torture, OK. Lying to congress, OK. Warrantless wiretapping -- well we gotta be safe, bub, are you naive? Call a political colleague "That Jew", fondly reminisce about the Dixiecrats, draw Obama with super-oversize lips and a turban... fine enough.

    But John Edwards strays from his marriage vows,... and he's going DOWN along with his radical vision that we are in this together. There's a reason the Repubs like Gingrich have lots of handlers that keep *their* indiscretions under the radar. Don't tell me they aren't sending the message loud an clear that if you talk about their past too much, good luck getting an interview or even a press release.

    Sure, I'll give Blanchard his due. His arrogant ignorance is quite striking.

  5. Curtis focuses quite properly on the main point: hypocrisy from the right. Curtis also reminds us of the proper role of government: we're all better off if we get government out of the marriage business entirely.

  6. Frankly, the less government in everything, the better... but that's the Libertarian in me talking!

  7. There must be a change in the way Americans see marriage.

    A description of Tom Hanks in a Yahoo article: In 1985, Hanks had been married to Samantha Lewes for seven years, and they had two children together. Then he went off to make a film called "Volunteers." He never expected to fall in love with fellow castmember Rita Wilson. Hanks has since admitted to having an affair with the actress while still legally hitched to Lewes. But he ultimately did the honorable thing. He followed his heart, divorced Samantha, and married Rita in 1988. The happy couple, parents to two kids, have been together for 21 years and counting.

    So the honorable thing is to cheat on your wife before leaving the relationship? Is something wrong with that picture?


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