How appropriate that Justice Alito brought up cellphones in the recent Supreme Court hearings on the marriage cases. Because these days it seems like it is easier to get out of a marriage than it is to get out of a cellphone contract.
It is no secret that marriage is in a state of severe crisis in America. And while academics, statisticians, and pundits may quarrel about the exact divorce rate or its causes, no one would deny that the widespread legalization of no-fault divorce beginning in the early 1970s saw an explosion of divorce in this country.
Yet as social conservatives, and even many liberals, wring their hands about marital and familial breakdown, few seem to question whether our experiment with treating marriage like a restaurant experience—order what you like and send it back if you change your mind—is worth reconsidering.
Instead, no-fault divorce has become an assumed feature of the landscape of unbridled American freedom. Whereas once freedom in this country meant the right to live a good life, the ability to be a moral agent in the human enterprise, the chance to chase happiness, it now increasingly appears to mean the right to do whatever you want whenever you feel like it, regardless of whom you destroy in the process.
No-fault divorce is destroying women, children, and men. More precisely, divorce destroys marriage, and the destruction of marriage harms every party involved. The legality of no-fault divorce just makes it infinitely easier to hurt people. There are no two ways about it. No one comes out of a divorce a happier and more whole person.
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