Family Research Council (FRC) President Tony Perkins was among those invited to a Capitol press conference Wednesday to discuss the Healthy Marriage Initiative, a part of the Welfare Reauthorization bill that is being considered by the U.S. Senate. Perkins felt President Bush’s proposed $1.5 billion for the Initiative was well justified.
"The need is clear. For every $1,000 we spend on public programs addressing the breakdown of the family, we only spend $1 trying to prevent that breakdown in the first place,” said Perkins during yesterday’s discussion. He mentioned that the public policy of no-fault divorce in the late 1960s weakened the institution of marriage.
“The President's initiative puts the emphasis in the right place – prevention,” he said.
If the bill is passed, the money for the Initiative will go toward programs around the nation that are helping couples get married and stay married.
Perkins called on the U.S. Senate to pass the Initiative to ensure the well-being of children in America.
Studies have shown that children in homes with married parents are healthier and engage in less risky behavior, said Perkins. He indicated that children who live with married parents are also less likely to live in poverty than children in single-parent homes. Perkins even quoted a statistic taken in 1999 showing 42 percent of children live in poverty with one mother as their guardian while only eight percent of children with married parents live in poverty.
“Strengthening marriage is a necessity for our nation, both financially and socially,” asserted Perkins.
Senators Rick Santorum (R-PA), Sam Brownback (R-KS) and Jim Talent (R-MO), sponsors of the Initiative, also joined yesterday’s panel.
“The two best anti-poverty programs are work and marriage,” said Talent in February. “This legislation strengthens these principals. The new welfare reform law should encourage and fund community-based programs that counsel young men and women about the benefits of healthy marriage and help them build relationship, parenting and communications skills.”
The Times noted that under the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, the bill would not benefit gay couples.
Perkins, the author of the first covenant law, said that the Initiative is vital in restoring the institution of marriage once again.
“We can preserve and promote the valuable institution of marriage and move beyond the harm that wayward public policies have wrought,” he said.