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May 25, 2004



Kurtz's arguments keep getting destroyed, yet, rather than be intellectually honest, he becomes more and more dishonest about the whole thing.


So it seems at times that Kurtz is arguing not that same-sex marriage will lead to an increase of out-of-wedlock birth, but rather the campaign for it will. Translation: So shut up about it, already!


I have a dumb/obvious question. Now that the Netherlands has several "marital-cohabitation" statuses, what does the Netherlands mean by non-marital births? If a child is born to registered partners, is that a marital or non-marital birth?


I believe a non-marital birth is still as defined before. One in which the mother was not married 307 days prior to the birth. So if at that time the couple was only in a registered partnership I believe the birth would still be classified as non-marital. I have no confirmation of this, but that is how I read the CBS definition. It is clear in other areas that they distinguish between RP's and marriages.

Now chances are that will not effect the numbers too much. It seems RP's are most common as a step leading to a quicker dissolution as explained here (link courtesy of Justin Katz). Still there are a few thousand RP's that do not appear to be for this purpose and as I said it would seem any children born into them would be non-marital even if the RP was converted into a marriage before the actual birth.


The other issue here is that who cares about the number of marriages going on or the trend? It's a meaningless statistic.

Here are some meaningful statistics: Scandinavian countries have a lower number of abortions per capita than the US, have lower infant mortality rates than the US, have higher average lifespans than Americans, and have a higher literacy rate than the US.

So perhaps people aren't getting "married" quite so much in Scandinavia (though I think it has little to do with gays marriage), but on these meaningful stats, Scandinavia is doing better than the US.


I have to admit, the idea that marriages could be converted into registered partnerships at all never occurred to me! (I find this a weird idea. But, it's obviously going to be a convenience to couples who wish to divorce.)

The page says "more than half" the registered partnerships are converted marriages.

Zip-- btw, I agree with you that it is very difficult to compare marriage rates in the US and in Scandinavia. I was asking the detail about the statistics, because I'm just trying to figure out what the number might mean-- even in Scandinavia.

There are so many possible questions:
1) In the US a fairly large fraction of non-marital births are to unmarried women who do not cohabit with the fathers. (Although, fortunately, our teen pregnancy rate has dropped. I think it the discussions of Same Sex Marriage in Hawaii must have caused this.)

2) Do parents stay together for a long period of time? (In the US, cohabiting parents who don't marry tend to split up. Is this the case in Scandinavia? Or do they cohabit for extremely long times without getting married?)

3) Do the children get health care, schooling etc. (In the US, children with only one parent tend to have few financial resources and live in neighborhoods with poor schools.)

You can add a whole list of questions when figuring out both what caused any non-marital births or what effect it will have in Scandinavia compared to the US.

I'll admit, I'd prefer parents to marry, because I think it does communicate something about a commitment to each other and a bond even if it has relatively few financial benefits in a socialist country. I think this idea benefits society and kids. But that doesn't mean lower marital rates in Scandinavia means exactly the same thing that they would here in the US.

Michiel Sonius

About the value of the "evidence", I once so a graph clearly showing the correlation between stork population and birth rate in Germany. The science of Kurtz (sure it's not Kuntz?) is like the Bermuda triangle theory.
At the risk of jumping similarly to hasty conclusions, I think the increase could well be related to the growing immigrant population in the larger cities. (Also linked with increase in domestic violence and other crimes in the Netherlands).

The trouble is that all this (common sense) is preaching to the believers. Politicians are not interested in the truth, but in what they think that their voters think is the truth.


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