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Stop using tax dollars to promote benefits of marriage

Published: December 8, 2013

Regarding “Critics call for divorce from marriage initiative” (Oklahoma Watch, Dec. 1): I'm new to Oklahoma and had no idea that the state's divorce rate was so high. I had no idea that tax money was being spent to lower it. It's a laudable goal. Divorce results in greater poverty, especially for women and children.

However, it seems to me that the initiative is using inadequate means to reach that goal — even setting aside accusations of favoritism and wrongdoing. The state would be better served to spend the money fighting poverty and promoting higher education. People with college degrees and the wealthy are more likely to get and stay married.

Financial stress is a leading predictor of divorce as well. Medical costs are the leading costs of bankruptcy. And yet Oklahoma is uninterested in helping those with the least money gain access to health care. People get married at a younger age in Oklahoma — that too is a strong predictor of divorce — and more education means older age at marriage. It would be nice to think my tax dollars were spent to help people gain access to higher education and health care rather than on public service announcements promoting the benefits of marriage. What good can that possibly do? The people whose marriages are at risk aren't going to listen. Those whose aren't don't need to.

Jessica Black, Norman


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