The Case for Marriage

November 1, 2000

A new book out makes a common sense case for marriage, but apparently that was too controversial for a university press. The book is titled The Case for Marriage: Why Married People Are Happier, Healthier and Better Off Financially. It has been published to considerable fanfare by Doubleday, but it might be worth a peek behind the scenes to see why Harvard University Press decided not to publish it.

The thesis of the book is fairly simple. Back in the 1950s, the rules were clear: first love, next marriage, and only then the baby carriage. But the social tsunami of the 1960s that struck, changed everything. The Pill, the sexual revolution, gay pride, feminism, mothers in the workplace, no-fault divorce, and the rise of illegitimate births changed our views of marriage and family. The authors marshall the evidence to show that marriage is a good thing. As the subtitle says, married people are happier, healthier and better off financially. Numerous academic studies document this common sense conclusion.

Apparently, though, such a conclusion was too much for the original publisher of the book. At Harvard University Press, a manuscript is reviewed by two scholars. If the reviews are positive, the book is slated for publication pending the final approval of the board. Usually this is a formality. In this case, the board stepped in to kill the book because "its tone was too strong and it evidence too meager."

A recent column in the Wall Street Journal by Stanley Kurtz of the Hudson Institute debunks those comments. He compares this book to some of the books Harvard has published by radical feminist Catharine MacKinnon whose core argument is that male sexual desire is a close cousin to rape--whether women consent or not. Now here are some books presented in a strident tone with meager evidence, yet they were published by Harvard.

The Case for Marriage deserved to be published, and I'm grateful that Doubleday has made it possible.

I'm Kerby Anderson of Probe Ministries, and that's my opinion.