Tolo: Now with the spotlight shinning brightly on the problem … where do we go from here—what’s the next step?
Kemp: The next step is the national dialogue among community leaders, government leaders, media leaders, church and education leaders, business leaders, policy makers—all of us need to ask what things are working to strengthen marriage so that your kids don’t fall into poverty.
The discussion has barely begun; there are some wonderful programs. We know that marriage education and preparation lowers the risk of divorce. We know that couples who avoid cohabitation lower their risk of divorce by 42 percent … Marriages can be saved if couples plug into training skills resources, conferences and excellent marriage based counseling.
Tolo: Jeff, why should government care about marriage? It seems to be something (and you’ll forgive the political infusion here), but it seems like a liberal idea. However, the actual back-bone of the plan couldn’t be more conservative in nature. You talk about social conservatism: this is about preserving traditional marriage as God designed it and keeping the bearing of children within a marriage.
Kemp: This concern covers the political spectrum. I think that everyone in America … does care for children. If we face the truth then we know that the only way to improve outcomes for so many children living without their mom and dad … is to strengthen marriage as a life-long monogamous and faithful relationship.
If we speak authentically and give people the tools and training—in a culture that doesn’t do it in the media or often enough in our family of origin—then we can turn this tide around. We must because it is just not acceptable to let this continue.