How’s ‘Traditional Marriage’ Working Out For You, Tennessee?
Tennessee legislators have decided that, what with all this talk of gay marriage flying around, “traditional marriage” just isn’t getting the praise it should. So what to do, what to do? They’ve got it! They’ve declared August 31 “Traditional Marriage Day.”
The resolution they just passed designates August 31 “Traditional Marriage Day” in Tennessee. They may want to designate the day after as “Find the Hashtag” to aid their desperate attempt to trend on Twitter, but I digress.
One glance at the resolution tells us Tennessee lawmakers are giving a big old shrug to the Separation of Church and State:
WHEREAS, in Genesis 2:24, matrimony is delineated; it is expressed only between a man and a wife;
and WHEREAS, the benefits of individuals engaged in said matrimony, known as traditional marriage, can be experienced in their physical, emotional, and financial well-being, and the children of traditional marriage also benefit in the same;
Yes, there’s a jab to the ribs for gay marriage there. Never fear though, non-married people don’t escape being disparaged either:
and WHEREAS, according to the Institute for American Values, Heritage.org, and Robert Rector, the benefits of individuals engaged in traditional marriage versus single individuals are as follows: married men are healthier and earn more than their single counterparts; married women have lower rates of depression and are more financially secure; and the children of traditional marriage have fewer emotional issues and experience a drop in the risk of poverty by eighty-two percent;
Wow, “traditional marriage” sounds great. It must really be doing some positive stuff for Tennessee, right?
First of all, a word in your shell-like Tennessee: unless by “traditional marriage” you mean the exchange of goods, livestock, land and/or services for your underage daughter or a relationship with a plurality of wives, you need to stop using the phrase “traditional marriage” because the modern so-called one-man-one-woman-for-life “Christian definition” is in fact a massive departure from said traditions. Ah, irony.
So with that cleared up, let’s take a look at some figures because if “traditional marriage” is so worth celebrating that it needs legislative action to enforce the point, it must really be benefiting Tennessee.
Tennessee is among the poorest of states with median household income at $43,989 compared to the national figure of $52,762, and 16.9% of the population below the poverty line compared to 14.3% nationally. Tennessee also has fewer high school graduates or kids going on to higher education (State: 83.2%; National: 85.4%).
Tennessee’s legislative attack on sex education has been well publicized and that the state demands strict adherence to the abstinence-until-marriage plan is no secret.
It isn’t a surprise then that Tennessee has teen pregnancy rates higher than the national average per 100o women aged 16-19 (State: 79; National: 70). It may also be worth noting a large discrepancy in birth rates (State: 50.6; National 39.1) and while reported HIV rates in Tennessee for women in that age bracket swoop in just below the national average, the state’s STI rates per 1000 women aged 16-19 are well above (State: 113.1; National: 100.8).
According to the Tennessee Council of Women, 60,718 women and 23,745 men were victims of reported domestic violence in Tennessee in 2011, and 96 women were murdered by their intimate partners, that latter figure being the third highest in the nation.
And finally, Tennessee is among the top 6 states in terms of highest divorce rates, with Tennessee’s figures coming out higher than the national average for men per 1000 aged 15 and over ( State: 11.4; National: 9.2) and per 1000 women aged 15 and over (State: 11.6; National: 9.7).
It would be wrong to say all these issues are caused by the traditional marriage meme, though there certainly are very obvious thematic links between the state’s hostility to women’s rights and sexual autonomy and some of the problems we see above.
However, while the state’s Legislature was busy messing with the above resolution to celebrate “Traditional Marriage Day” — when every day is Traditional Marriage Day” because the state bans gay marriage and vehemently opposes any and all LGBT rights measures — they could have been trying to fix child poverty or work to ensure the state is no longer among the top ten states relying on federal assistance.
Instead, Tennessee lawmakers have flirted with War on Poor bills that could have cut state assistance by 30%, legislation to out LGBT kids to their parents, and resolutions to honor themselves, their families and their interns.
In case you were wondering, Tennessee lawmakers have passed somewhere in the region of 476 resolutions this year. WSMV estimates each one cost taxpayers about $300.
So Tennessee lawmakers, do enjoy “Traditional Marriage Day.” Clearly you have a lot to celebrate.