Bettina Ardnt one of Australia's leading social-affairs columnists came out strongly late last year on the benefits of marriage for children - giving chapter and verse for such bountiful claims.
Her list is a formidable one, and Ardnt never the wilting violet, goes gunning for the advocates of cohabitation with such force that one is left in no doubt as to the lye of the land.
Some of these are as follows:
Quotes a British High Court judge who set the record straight on the effects of cohabitation.
Longitudinal Study of Australian Children shows that break up of cohabitation relationships with children is three times more likely than marriage.
Quotes the findings of the Brookings Institute in Washington DC on such matters which find that marriage involves a period of know each other and this provides better long term decisions making.
Findings now reveal that the social divide between children of marriages and those from cohabitation is formidable providing references and statistics.
Cites situations and cases where the media is implicit in hiding these detrimental outcomes as so many within the media live in such cohabitation situations.
Ardnt makes the point that here in Australia there is deathly silence from our leaders - politicians, social scientists, the clergy, judges - about the increasing casualisation of relationships involving children, and more so, people working with disadvantaged communities and you hear a very different story. They witness the effects on children of being raised in unstable relationships - effects well documented in Australia.
What is pointed out is that contrary to expectations, children don't provide the glue to keep cohabiting parents together. Marriage, as Ardnt points out, often dismissed as just a piece of paper, "does make a difference".
Moreover, everything points to an impact on kids of the casualisation of family relations is no laughing matter and points out that although there are lasting relationships in such circumstances raising great kids it is not the norm by far, describing that claim as defining the link between smoking and lung cancer by the rare case of a 90 year old smoker who survived the odds.
Hormones run high
The presentation on the big screen, television, videos and DVD, song lyrics, the theatre, books and magazines and the like, have this one insatiable message. It's all about meeting your natural hormonal needs, the moment is all that matters, throw yourself into it and whether it lasts or not should never the immediate consideration.
All that is as opposite as could be from the stability that the evidences that Bettina Ardnt presents. This evidence points in the opposite direction.
It is agreed that hormones run high in every human being, and that pregnancy results from sexual intercourse in marriage as it does out-of-marriage. The children born from all such situations are either ultimately raised within a marriage relationship or outside it. Hello! There is no third alternative. That's the two options and as Ardnt illustrates, it's a no brainer.
Religious institution reports on marriage and cohabitation, surprise surprise have shown such outcomes and results 'for ever' (as it were). But who listens to these but the converted, however now there is a growing chorus from outside such cloisters confirming all this.
It has been shown over and over again that first marriages formed and established within a religious situation have a statistically huge advantage, the latest I have seen was 75% lasting marriages. Yes, there is still marriage failure but it is considerably higher than those who are without religious commitment.
What continues to be hidden in such statistics are the high number of break-ups with second, third, fourth and so on... marriages or cohabitations. This warps marriage and divorces figures showing that marriage has become rocky wherein the facts show otherwise.
The question is put as Ardnt does, who reports all this and what reflections are put on it all: Media outlet decision makers. Sacking a high number of key people in such editorial positions would certainly send a message, but sadly, it is media outlet income that determines all this and while ever we keep watching and reading, change will be difficult. We the consumer, each person, have the answer in the palm of our hands, as it were.
Dr Mark Tronson is a Baptist minister (retired) who served as the Australian cricket team chaplain for 17 years (2000 ret) and established Life After Cricket in 2001. He was recognised by the Olympic Ministry Medal in 2009 presented by Carl Lewis Olympian of the Century. He has written 24 books, and enjoys writing. He is married to Delma, with four adult children and grand-children.
Mark Tronson's archive of articles can be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/mark-tronson.html