Thursday, March 01, 2007

ND Repeals Anti Cohabitation Statute: Progress?

North Dakota's legislature recently repealed a statute on the books since statehood that made it a crime for a man and woman to live together without marriage, Time Magazine reported recently.

At first glance, one is tempted to think that progress has been made. How could it be in 21st century America some state or locality could be so benighted as to have such an antique law still on the books.

But social science is demonstrating that our forefathers knew what they were doing in firmly placing such arrangements outside the fences of legitimate society.

Cohabitation hurts people. As I wrote earlier "counter intuitive as it might seem, social science has demonstrated that couples living together before marriage suffer a 50 -100% higher divorce rate when they do marry. And it’s not just higher divorce rates that hurt: as a group those who live together are statistically less equalitarian, more violent, less successful in remarriage after divorce, more depressed, and less caring of children than their married peers, to name a few.

The reality is that while living together may be popular, it most often diminishes rather than enhances quality of life. For the sake of future happiness for millions, this misbegotten approach to relationship belongs in the dustbin of history along with other failed social experiments."

It is in the interests of our civilization to legislate morality. We hear it all the time that "you can't legislate morality," but even the most casual inspections of our national and state laws show that we do it constantly. In this case, North Dakota is taking a step further into moral darkness that will damage its citizens, not free them.

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