Monday, November 06, 2006

While I was away, I watched an episode of “Real Time with Bill Maher.” His guests were Alec Baldwin, Republican Rep. Jack Kingston, and AB Stoddard. One of the topics brought up was about Haggard and then, the gay marriage movement.

On the one hand, Jack Kingston just kept saying that it’s not right for marriage to include other than one man and one woman. And children need a mother and a father. And that almost a million children were born out of wedlock, and how sad that was. Then, Alec Baldwin had some angle where he said that if Republicans were against gay marriage because you needed a man and a woman to procreate, what did they have to say about heterosexual marriages where they couldn’t have a child and then adopted? Were their marriages and families just as unnatural and should they be unlawful?

Then Bill Maher said that just because there were almost a million unwed births that didn’t mean that the parents weren’t there to be parents. Maybe they didn’t want to formalize their union with a legal document, but still intended to be participating parents. And that he never married because he didn’t want the government in his bedroom or something like that.

This is where Maher’s libertarian streak just pisses me off. And then, I also felt that Alec was just making intellectual arguing points and missing the real issue. The real issue is that a high level of parental investment IS better for kids. Children do better when more adults invest in their futures – not just in terms of money, of course, but in concern, time, setting examples and so forth. And children born out of wedlock (which, incidentally has nothing to do with gay marriage – it was kind of hilarious, although understandable, that they were conflating these things – or rather, that Jack Kingston was) do tend to have less parental investment than children born to two committed parents. (I think Maher’s point, that the parents were committed, but not legally binding their union was sort of silly. If there are a million unwed births, a small percentage of them are in situations like the one that Maher was describing.)

Of course it makes no difference who those two committed parents are – and that they are even biological parents. In any case, marriage is good for a society in that it corrals, legally and publicly, the responsibility of two people towards offspring. I mean, the whole reason that natural selection selected for parental love was so that the child had better odds of making it. And while everyone knows there are lots of examples of shitty parents even though they’re married, in general, children are better off having two people to look out for them. And in that sense, Kingston is right, it’s just better for kids to have two parents and out of wedlock babies, in general, don’t have it as good. They do not do as well at school (in general), their home life is less secure and insulated from disaster, etc. Plus, if the parents are not legally committed to each other in terms of raising the child, the chance for other adults getting mixed into the family is higher – like new fathers, etc. And children raised by people other than their natural parents are at a higher risk for neglect. There are ways that nature can trick us (I mean, trick us in a good way) – like me, for example. I feel as attached and responsible for my daughter as if I were her biological mother.

So that’s when I thought all three of them were missing the real issue. The real issue is creating the best environment for children to grow up. (Peronsally I don't understand why people even get married unless it is for raising kids together -- or for insurance purposes, or because parties with special outfits are fun.) And anyway, the best environment for child-raising includes two or more committed adults to the welfare of that child or those children. And it means a family having enough money so that time can be devoted to that child. And that means that raising the minimum wage, and using tax laws to lessen the inequity between the rich and poor – laws like that (as opposed to opposing gay marriage) does MUCH more to create an environment that makes children better off and parents more likely to stay together. When families are terribly poor, father’s often, under the burden of being unable to provide for the family, have a greater incentive to just abandon it - or to have to travel far and wide to find a job, which can create further instability. And when families are very very rich, the ability of a father to leave and just start another family is higher too. Or for the mother to toss the father out because the greater income (from her OR him) allows for two independant households. So big differences in income in society is not good for keeping families intact, on both ends of the spectrum.

In that sense the Republican family values agenda is horrible. It penalizes the very people they are trying to protect, the children.

When I adopted my daughter, I was militant about the fact that I had the right to do so as an individual. And I think I’m doing a good job and blah blah blah. But now that I am truly in the trenches – even as a relatively high-income earner with a flexible job that allows me to be pretty full time in mothering Mulan – even though I am in that category – I think I was ridiculously naïve that I could handle this all myself. I think kids need – or rather, they are better off – having two parents and an extended family around them. I am now totally in favor of tribes. I want to be in a tribe! It’s so much better for everyone! Now I look at everything from the harsh, wide-eyed view of the vulnerabilities of our life – how everything can change in an instant. How easily people can die, for example. And having two parents who are hands on insures a child a little bit against that horrifying possibility. So in that sense, the Republican Representative is right – marriage, in so far that it’s two people committing to a child, makes the child better off. And that is something, that as a society, we should be pushing for, and certainly (like people opposed to gay marriage) not trying to legislate against.


Anonymous said...

There's an episode of Penn & Teller's "Bullsh!t" that deals with "traditional family values."

The conclusion is that the Republican/conservative/Christian idea of what a traditional family is is actually a very recent construct. Go back even a century, and you get plenty of arranged marriages, accepted mistresses, and all sorts of other things that don't fit into the "marriage for love, one man/one woman" kind of mentality.

They featured a gay couple with great kids, a non-married but commited couple who had incredible children, and a couple of other "non-traditional" families all doing fine.

But the common thread in all of them is that the family is one unit. Even not married, the couple was committed, and it showed in the kids.

I'm tired of hearing the false statistics the conservatives throw out about pedophiles, gay marriage threats, and the consequences of legalizing gay marriage.

"Marriage" is a LEGAL institution. You need a license to do it, and you don't need a priest. So saying it's a holy institution is just out and out wrong. At least in a democratic society.

If it's a terminology war, fine. Then let the Christians have "marriage" and let everyone else use "civil unions" WITH THE SAME BENEFITS. Anything other than that is forcing their religion down our throats.

I don't get the whole "keep the government out of my bedroom" attitude. Legal unions are VERY important for addressing things like custody of children. Look at how many gay couples have to lose a child if the biological parent dies and the partner isn't legally a parent. The dead partner's family can swoop in and take the child away. We NEED laws and legal unions to address this.

On the other hand, we don't want the government interfering too much. Trying to use the government to redistribute wealth will create a socialist country, and there are things to be said for the free market. Our corporations and government ARE abusing it, of course. But most are doing it illegally anyway. Enron, anyone?

So let's hope voters make a change tomorrow. If not, our country deserves whatever happens. There ARE more of us who want a change, but too many people won't vote against "God's party."

Let's hope people look for their children's futures and vote in their best interest.

Anonymous said...

Um... busy morning, and hard to keep up, but I am interested in the theory of the tribe as the basic unit of for human safety as contrasted with the nuclear family, particularly as 'nuclear family" can, realistically, no longer be considered to be heterosexual parents and children who all bear the same surnames by virtue of the approval of the State.
(Variety, is the spice of life, but it does raise some serious digestive problems.)
I grew up in a tribe. with two committed parents, and grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and extended family of friends who all emigrated from the same villages in Eastern Europe.
Such paid baby sitters, and no fears of the orphan asylum or complete abandonment - some relative, from among the same relatives who served the milk and cookies when mom wasn't home after school, would be sure to take one in to provide a roof over one's head where the same language was spoken and the same food served, the same jokes were laughed at, and more or less the same values were offered as immutable truth.
But WHO wanted those values?
No one I knew - the contraints were enormous, the prejudices ran deep, the conventions were crushing.
And th realization came early that were my tribe (sometimes even heartbreakingly loved) the hallmark of all that were true and good, the wheel would never have been discovered, and we might still be living in the caves.
Was my tribe evil?
No, they were not even bad folks - they were just victims of their own narrow confines, their fears, and their crippling manifestatiosn of their love of their children.
And that love was unquestionable which made wishing to throw off its shackles even more guilt inducing.
Well, I did escape from the confines, and moved far away with my own children, only to wake up one morning to find that my children HAD no tribe, and were in essence totally dependent on two parents who were (and are) simply mortals, fragile, and who could disappear at any moment..
There hung over us the dictum of the ethologist Konrad Lorenz:"the lone baboon is a dead baboon."
Can we survive outside the tribe? A tribe?
Do we have a choice?
What to do?
As it happens there was nothing TO do.. but let nature (and worry) take its course,
Luckily, both parents and children survived long enough to reach the age of reason, consent, and ability to care for themselves.
And the lesson is (I THINK) that there is no one way to live a life, and that most of us go with the flow of our circumstances and our abilities to provide sustenance and succor.
We do the best we can with what we have to give.
Nobody's life is ideal - if indeed there IS an ideal.
Humans are above all adaptable, because evolution demands adaptation or disappearance.
The chances are that one's children will be critical of whatever parenting we provide in one way or another, and that critical faculties are necessary for progress.
My theory is this: my own parents did not look at me in my crib, and coo "isn't she adorable? I think I'll fuck her over so that she can't put one foot in front of the other without tripping!"
Not at all.. they did the best they could with the equipment provided them.
And I can only hope that my own children (and yours as you raised the subject) recognize the same about me and their father: we had much more equipment for sure, but none of it had anything to do with being parents, so we did what we were capable of doing always sure it wan't enough but hoping against hope.
And while I look at my own children with wonder at how great they seemed to have turned out- I know it is in spite of rather than because of me..
Charles Bukowski has said (paraphrased) that if your parents approve of you it means they don't understand what you are thinking or doing... I would extend that to include the way children respond to the ministrations of their parents.
It may very well mean that if one is uncritical of one's parents it one simply doesn't quire understand how just plain nutty and incompetent to be parents they might have been.

Anonymous said...

I sort of agree with atheism quotes.

I see gay marriage is the natural progression of a much broader movement: marriages for love. A thousand years ago marriages were about cattle and making peace between communities. A hundred years ago men still needed to show a certain income level to marry. Fifty years ago it was still illegal to marry a person of another race in many states.

The natural progression has been away from materialism and toward love. Marrying someone for their gender when you love another isn't that different from marrying someone for their cattle. f there's no love, what's the point?

I think marriage is about so much more than kids. Yes, there are practical benefits, but it's primarily about love between two people. Or, that's what it's become. And here's what scares the anti-gay-marriage crowd...

We're winning.

Every year, ever poll, the direction of the public opinion is toward gay marriage. So only 40% support it now? Well less than 20% did a decade ago. And before that?

People's minds are changing. And that's why they want a constitutional amendment -- the majority of people will soon support gay marriage. So they want to put off change until a super-majority support it.

But we're winning.

Anonymous said...


I guess ultimately for me, people can get married for whatever reason they want to anyway right now. Straight people get married all the time without love. I had friends in college who got married specifically for the benefits one had on her job.

While I personally believe that people should be in love to get married, we can't really impose that restriction. The movie "Green Card" is a perfect example of what happens when the government tries that. People can memorize the details of the other's life, but that doesn't prove love.

In John Varley's novels, he had the concept of "limited term contracts" for marriage. People would enter into a marriage contract for a fixed period of time, and at the end, they could renew the contract, or move on with their lives and find someone else if they wanted to, without complications. I don't really think I'd like that idea personally, but I don't think I'd have a problem if it ever came to that. People get divorced all the time right now, so what difference would a limited term contract make? If it's a matter of trust, we've thrown that out with pre-nups anyway :-)

Sheldon said...

Julia, you've expressed a true, but unpopular, opinion in this blog entry. It takes a lot of courage and honesty to admit that you may have gone into the adoption thing a bit naievly.

My opinion about gay couples having children is equally unpopular but, I think, just as true. And as a gay man, it makes me unpopular with the people I like, and rather popular with a lot of people I'd rather not be popular with.

In short, when people have asked me whether Steve and I will ever adopt (he has grown children by the way), I say no. Of course, they then ask, "But, why?!" and I'm faced with trying to explain in a politically correct way that the current attitude toward gays and lesbians is too negative to bring children into the mix. I understand that gay people feel like they have a RIGHT to adopt, and maybe they do. I'm certainly not advocating laws against it. But, what I AM asking people to do is to stop and consider whether it's worth a child's happiness to use her/him as a socio-political tool. Knowing how hard it is to grow up gay, I can imagine how difficult it would be to grow up with gay parents.

Now, maybe if the child lived among the elite I would have less of a problem with it. (I mean, the child of Ellen DeGeneres or Elton John would probably get less harassment on the playground than one who lives with a working-class lesbian couple in Tucson, AZ.) But still, I just don't think we've come far enough as a society to justify putting a kid through that.

Of course, the opposition make some pretty good points, too. They ask me how far we would have come in race relations if people had feared marrying for the sake of their kids. They are also correct in asking me whether it's fair that only heterosexual people should have children, simply because so many of them hate us (a sort of "have your cake and eat it too" situation).

I can't help but agree with them, but I still err on the side of caution and protecting the children.

In regard to your comments about the Bill Maher show, I have to warn you about something, though. Be careful to not confuse Correlation with Causation. Just because children of two-parent households fair better in certain areas, don't automatically assume that it's because their parents are married. It could just as easily be that people who are less involved with their kids are ALSO less committed in their relationships (and therefore end up raising the kids alone). In such a case, people may find a high number of poorly performing kids with single parents, but the single parenting isn't the cause, it's just another symptom.

Sheldon said...

Hey AQ,

Regarding the John Varley novels: Leave it to a MAN to come up with an idea like that!


Anonymous said...


I'm not sure what the significance would be. Men aren't the only ones who end marriages, nor are women the only ones who are hopeless romantics :-)

Anonymous said...


I'm pressed for time so I'm just going to cut & paste something I wrote to my congressman which seems worthy of addition to todays comments...

Finally, I'm OK with same sex couples adopting and raising children. When was the last time a same sex couple had a child by accident? My hypothesis is that same sex couples who choose to raise children have made a very deliberate decision based on their ability and capacity to love and nurture, not because they are under any pressure to conform or because they failed to practice safe sex. I suspect there are a lot of kids in society today who given the opportunity, would gladly trade their dysfunctional, heterosexual parents for same sex parents who would love and nurture them into adulthood.

Anonymous said...

I'm sure that you ARE winning, and I congratulate you in advance for the victory.
But what are you winning exactly, other than the chance to be in the marriage lottery: "how many of the marriages will be intact in five years? And how many of the couples will still be happy to see one another at the end of of the day after 10 years?'
In other words, what arrogance allows you as a gay to assume that your judgment and your capacity to keep a loving relationship going is any more certain that it might be for an equivalent - in education, temperament, communality, and/or character- heterosexual couple?
Let's put it another way: how many friendships, uncomplicated by the twin imps of sex and money, have you sustained for at any real length of time through good times and adversity, povrerty and wealth,carreer disappointments, moves from one environment to another, complications of other, intruding attachments?
If you are normal, the chances are that you can't list too many.
Marriage, which was not invented for reasons having to do with romantic love, or sexual passion , but rather for reasons of clan. property and money, is not an act or ritual of sentimentality, but a business arrangement, usually to the detriment of the female who was not expected to seek emotional or sexual solace elsewhere, as might be tolerated for the male.
The only thing, really, that has allowed such a system to prevail into our own era, considering that the secular State has only relatively recently condoned divorce, is organized. Abrahamic religion which thus far continues to verbally condemn divorce even while they have lost their legal power to prevent it.
And so what we are left with by virtue of religious interference is the contrasting realities of marriages sundered by divorce usually unpleasant and permanently damaging, with children as perpetual victims, emotionally if not financially as most kids in the real world are.
Now this doesn't mean that you and yours won't be able to avoid such a scenario, and will by virtue of your wisdom AND your abiding passions for one another go off into the sunset of forevermore as beautiful and true as on the day you took your vows.
Of course it doesn't.
But it does mean that you might want to look around you in the gay community to observe how many couples that you met in 2000 CE are still together now, with or without benefit of clergy.
Some probably are - just as some of their parents are still together.
But many - to the same degree as your heterosexual sisters and brothers- are gone with the wind, faded memories, and saved from expense as well as vituperation by the fact that MARRIAGE was denied them.
Just a question (to which I am entitled being a staunch supporter of the rights of gays to marry if they so wish): what is wrong with a legal document that allows each part of a couple to decide matters fo life an death for the other, to own property in common should they desire, , to be legal guardians of each other's children?
Why not include in the document plans for a public signing as affirmation, and then throwing the god-damndest best party open to all and sundry, friends and foes alike?
And then treating each other as nicely, as thoughtfully, as possible while trying to beat the odds?
Am I missing something about what it is that people expect to find in marriage even though our common experience, not to mention our fiction and our art speaks tp something entirely otherwise?
Because while I I support your right to marry, I wish more energy could be put into the social problem of continuing to bolster an institution that has passed its reason for being, and is rapidly becoming obsolete with only religious institutions keeping it from lying down and dying altogether.
Norma Manna Blum

Anonymous said...

Marriage....45 years...married at 18 and 26. Hmmmm why? That's what was done. Do I think it important? Not to anyone but my husband and me. 3 kids, raised the best way we could at the time. Lots of difficulties but we did what we knew to do. Could we have done better? Undoubtedly, I can think of many things we could have done differently or better.

Now, kids have been gone for 13 or more years and being married is still important to me. I love this man with my being, We know each other well after all this time. There is a comfortableness that only comes with a long life together. I watched it with my parents and see it now in others who have been married many years.

Would I do it over again? Maybe, maybe not. I don't think everyone is cut out to be Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell...commited without marriage...comitment is important to me.

There are no absolutes, even in raising children. You're talking averages. There are plenty of kids with one parent who do very well. There are plenty of kids with two parents who don't fare very well at all. There are plenty of two parent families where one parent shoulders all the work of caring for the kids. There are plenty of one parent families where there is shared care by extended families.

In the grand scheme if there is one, we are evolving and changing just as we always have.

Anonymous said...

I think ideally EVERY kid should have a whole COMMUNITY of totally devoted, talented, and marvelous people devoted to them. They should also have every resource available to them: great health care, education, nutrition, etc. That is not reality, but that is the goal. And this means cultivating an all around healthy, caring, and rich(in every sense of the word) society.

Perhaps it is time that the traditional notions of community and family be reexamined, redefined, and recreated. The stereotypes, if they ever existed at all, are outdated. We need new ways of organizing family and community that are not based on outdated fantasies of perfect everlasting love, religious superstitions, and even blood ties. Any ideas?

Anonymous said...

I liked Atheism quotes post.

Sheldon, I'd predict that you don't have a strong internal desire to raise children of your own. I say that because I think if you did all these other issues would be less than meaningless. And there's nothing wrong with not wanting kids. Millions of people enjoy life without children. Perhaps I'm wrong, but it sounds like you're trying to make excuses for not wanting any.

As for children and environment, a very good book is the "Blank Slate" by Steven Pinker. While environment can play a role in a child's life, it's interesting that much of who we become is actually independent of our environment, and is acutually genetically "predetermined" to a great extent. So perhaps we put too much emphasis on home environment in terms of kids.

Anonymous said...

Ken said: Fifty years ago it was still illegal to marry a person of another race in many states.

Actually, very sadly, here in South Carolina it was only EIGHT years ago that the ban on interracial marriage was removed from the state constitution.


Anonymous said...

I agree with you Julia when you write:

"...I don't understand why people even get married...".

For men, marriage has been an umitigated disaster. Marriage has been a way to oppress men and keep them from expressing their naturally promiscuous behavior.

If you think deeply about marriage you will come to the obvious conclusion that it is contrary to the instinctive behavior of the human animal. That behavior is the result of the process of natural selection and hundreds of thousands of years of concomitant evolution. It rightly should not be thwarted. Furthermore, marriage puts individual men at a evolutionary disadvantage.

I first came to that conclusion several years ago while studying molecular genetics at the University of Texas. During a spring break on the beach at Corpus Christi, I read Richard Dawkins' "The Extended Phenotype" and "The Selfish Gene". What a revelation!

Like Dawkins (and like you Julia), I had already rejected the concept of God. In addition I came to see that our societal constructs (the law, honor, fidelity, duty, etc.) were artificial constraints on the expression of our natural behavior. In other words, I also rejected any morality that constrained my ability to express my natural behavior and to perpetuate my "selfish gene".

It became apparent to me that if I wanted to maximize my individual impact on the human gene pool I could not live a conventional life. While I finished my doctoral program in molecular genetics (I was already well along the way with it), I also embarked on a process of planning how best to maximize my contribution to the gene pool. You may say that was a selfish decision, but then I am merely the phenotypic expression of a selfish gene.

Of course, it was obvious to me that I could not live the conventional life of an academic or technical professional (much too public and traceable). And so I now work in construction. It meshes perfectly with my plan because I can travel all across the country, make decent money and since most of it is off the books remain untraceable.

I won't bore you with the details, but suffice it to say that in the years since I first embarked on this program I have fathered a great many children. My genetic heritage is assured.

And it has become easier. Since the enactment of the Baby Safe Haven laws (see the hyperlink associated with my "BigDaddy" handle at the top of this posting) things are much less troublesome. Even so I continue to conceal my true identity so that I can untraceably abandon the mother and child to the welfare system should she choose not to leave the baby at a Baby Safe Haven.

Actually, the trickiest part now is persuading the woman to carry the baby to term. Most women want to have the baby. But abortion is free and easy and some of my ladies have gone that route. That's disappointing, but its a numbers game. I just have to move on to the next one.

I find this life to be pleasant and productive. It conforms with my natural behavior as a male human animal. It is sexually satisfying. And most importantly, I am propagating my "selfish gene" to the maximum extent that I can. I commend this lifestyle to any man who reads this posting.

Good luck, Julia, with your baby Mulan. By the way, why did you name your baby after a Disney movie?

Anonymous said...

Hi Julia,
My comment really doesn't have anything to do with this BLOG. I stumbled across a video clip of "Letting Go of God" the other day. In a world of superficiality your monologue was a breath of fresh air. I appreciate your honesty, your humor, and your courage.

I currently am a Seminary student as well as a Youth Director at a local church. I think Christians should own up to their dark past as well as the inconsistencies in the faith. In doing so I think they/we should listen to wise people like you. We can learn a lot about our own faith by wrestling with the questions you ask. So keep up the good work!

Are you performing in Portland anytime? I'd love to see more than just the 12 minutes I saw on the internet. If you do, we should grab a coffee or a trendy micro brew so I can pick your brain.

Thanks again!

Anonymous said...

A reply to Shannon .
There is no eliteism in this reply ,just a question . What is the point of the "cheap shot " having rechecked the blog Julia said obnoxious , no mention of idiot in the comment . There is no eliteism in querying the ranting nature of your comments ( which by the way I find obnoxious as well ! ) if you are going to edit /missrepresent comments you a replying too it is hardly a valid method of arguement . I defend Julia not banning you for several reasons including the uncomfortable "freedom of speech" . On the question of bullshit , having lived on a farm I have seen it in piles behind a pedigree Hereford ,as a method of communicating ideas it lacks substance . Keep well Dan

Anonymous said...

Sheldon, growing up gay (or with gay parents) doesn't always require trials & tribulations. I know LOTS of gay parents, and their kids have the same growing up issues as those with straight parents. The most important thing a kid needs growing up is love and stability, not straight parents.

As for wondering why people want to get married anyway? It's an easy thing to reject...when you have the choice. My partner and I have been together for almost nine years, and for more than 8.5 of those years, she's been an illegal alien. She's been unable to work, unable to leave the country to see her family (in the far off land of Canada), all because we wanted to be together.

Really, I want to get married for the same reason other couples want to get married - for love. But, I sure would like those legal benefits that straight couples take for granted.

(By the way, Julia, the reason I commented on your blog the very first time was because of pomegranates - the POMWonderful Pomegranate Arils are back in stores...get 'em while you can)

Anonymous said...

Y'all have probably seen this... an open letter to Dr. Laura about her accusations (based on the bible) that homosexuality is an abomination. In case you haven't, here is a link

Anonymous said...

All very interesting, (married 3 times and 6 kids)sorta agree with atheism quotes. Gotta go vote. see ya

Sheldon said...

Hi again, Flippy! As I said in my comment, the "opposition" does make some good poings. Yours are among them. It's good to see you post, and thanks for the email a while back. I hope we get to see you in January when we're in town for TAM5!

-- Sheldon

Smartypants said...

The above wrangling reminds me of this:

On the TV show "Studio 60" on Monday, the Sarah Paulson character (the Christian) says to the Matt Perry character, "I don't even know what the sides are in the Culture Wars."

He says, "Well your side hates our side because you think that we think you're stupid, and our side hates your side because we think you're stupid."


Joe said...

All things being equal, marriage (state defined; churches also sanctify "marriages") very well can be good for the children. Sometimes, it simply is not. Other times, it might not be too important. And, esp. in a world of both working, a mom and dad is not enough anyway. Tribe indeed!

Julia's situation also is a telling pt. Often, we are not talking about all things being equal. Let's take Florida. Total ban on same sex adoption. IOW, orphan is child of best friend etc., can't adopt. Sorry.

One person here believes that society is such that having a child in the situation is ill advised. But, if a family or friend tragically left a child behind, the couple might just adopt if it's the best thing for the child.

In real life, things get complicated. Kneejerk libertarianism included.

Anonymous said...

Hi Julia. I wanted to order your CD, but it doesn't seem possible for non-USA residents?

Anonymous said...

As to the "I dont get why people even get married if they dont have kids" you missed a reason, which i why Im married without kids (I am only 25 for Pete´s sake): Immigration laws.

And in Denmark, they are strict. Marriage to a woman, even with kids, doesnt in it self give you the right to live with you family in your home country.

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