Institute in the Public Square
Institute for American Values.

Leah Ward Sears on Smiley & West
July 22, 2011
Leah Ward Sears on Smiley & West, July 22, 2011


The Conversation: Leah Ward Sears

Smiley & West, July 22, 2011

Judicial trailblazer Leah Ward Sears [board member and the William Thomas Sears Senior Fellow in Family Law at the Institute] is on President Obama's short list for the U.S. Supreme Court after making history in Georgia.

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Why Marriage Matters

Come on Tuesday, August 16th for a Conversation with Linda Malone-Colón, Founder of the National Center on African American Marriages and Parenting at Hampton University, Elizabeth Marquardt, Director of the Center for Marriage and Families at the Institute for American Values, W. Bradford Wilcox, Director of the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia, and Jonathan Rauch, Guest Scholar at the Brookings Institution, as they examine the important new findings on the benefits of marriage to couples, children, and the society.

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Marriage's Foundations Being Eroded by Intent

Rebecca Hagelin, The Washington Times, July 10, 2011

"Author [and Institute vice president] Elizabeth Marquardt writes movingly of the spiritual and emotional pain of children raised in fatherless homes and conceived by sperm donors (the only option for lesbian couples). Their pain persists far into adulthood, affecting their own adult relationships."

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Complicated Family Structures: Is More Openness the Answer?

Elizabeth Marquardt [Institute vice president], National Review Online blog The Corner, July 6, 2011

"Today there is a trend toward greater openness: less stigma for s--ual activity and the bearing and raising of children outside of marriage, less secrecy and shame around adoption, and perhaps a trend toward less secrecy around the use of sperm or egg donation or surrogacy -- although the latter movement, if it can be said to exist at all, remains nascent and tentative. My study of family-systems theory and my examination, with colleagues, of the experience of young persons conceived via sperm donation convince me that the emergent trend toward openness is the right approach."

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How to Destroy a Culture in 5 Easy Steps

Joe Carter, First Things, June 29, 2011

"In his book The Future of Marriage, [Institute president] David Blankenhorn, a liberal, gay-rights-supporting Democrat and self-professed 'marriage nut,' offers this sociological principle: 'People who professionally dislike marriage almost always favor gay marriage.' As a corollary, Blankenhorn adds: 'Ideas that have long been used to attack marriage are now commonly used to support same-s-- marriage.'"

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Waiting to be Wooed

Amber Lapp [co-investigator of the Institute's Love and Marriage in Middle America project],, July 1, 2011

"As [director of the John Templeton Center for Thrift and Generosity at the Institute, Barbara Dafoe] Whitehead explains, when women hit their late twenties, they find themselves asking, 'How do I find a man who shares my ambition to marry?....They had worked so hard in school, hit every bench mark. They'd done AP classes, and there was no AP in getting married.'"

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Let's Talk About S-- (Responsibly)

Kathryn Lopez,, July 15, 2011

"If you want to get even more practical, W. Bradford Wilcox, [Institute senior fellow and] director of the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia, points out: 'Needless to say, binge drinking and casual s-- tend to distract students from their studies. For instance, young women who engage in such activities are more likely to be depressed, and tend to do poorly in school when distracted by drinking and s--.'"

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Fix Families, Economy Will Follow

Mitch Pearlstein, Weekly Standard, reprinted at National Public Radio, June 30, 2011

"Wilcox [Institute senior fellow] and Marquardt [Institute vice president] sum up: 'The family lives of today's moderately educated Americans increasingly resemble those of high-school dropouts, too often burdened by financial stress, partner conflict, single parenting, and troubled children.' Moderately educated Americans are decreasingly likely to embrace 'bourgeois values and virtues' such as delayed gratification, temperance, and an emphasis on education -- the 'sine qua nons of personal and marital success in the contemporary United States.' Most highly educated Americans, by contrast, still 'adhere devoutly' to the sequence education, work, marriage, and only then childbearing, thus maximizing their chances of 'making good on the American dream and obtaining a successful family life.'"

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Marital Marshall Plan

Kathryn Jean Lopez, National Review Online, June 30, 2011

"Marriage breakdown, or failure to form families, is creeping upward into the middle class, as [Institute senior fellow] Brad Wilcox's studies have pointed out, and it's tied to diminished economic prospects for men. We don't live in the aftermath of a war zone, but Detroit and some of our other cities, denuded of economic opportunity and mother-father families, rival post-World War II conditions."

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Real Estate Recession is Halting Divorces

Katie Silver, Daily Mail, July 13, 2011

"'For some people, the recession led them to become more aware of the ties that bind, how spouses, parents, in-laws and kids stick with you when times are tough,' said the studies director [and Institute senior fellow] Professor Bradford Wilcox of the University of Virginia's National Marriage Project."

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Are 'Divorce Starts' the New Leading Indicator for the Housing Market?

Regina Lewis,, July 20, 2011

"It's unclear whether couples will continue with the practices they gravitated toward during the Great Recession if the economy picks up. 'The data indicated that about one in five married Americans have been hit with multiple financial stressors,' said Bradford Wilcox, [Institute senior fellow and] director of the National Marriage Project. But some of them are turning adversity into solidarity. 'For some, the financial stresses associated with the Great Recession have hurt their marriages. But, for others, this recession has fostered a new commitment to marriage that appears to have improved the quality and stability of their marriages.'"

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The Two-Biological-Parent Family and Economic Prosperity: Where to Go From Here

William Jeynes, The Public Discourse: Ethics, Law, and the Common Good, July 22, 2011

"Social science findings strongly suggest that Americans should encourage the formation of intact families that remain intact. [Institute senior fellow] David Popenoe concludes that 'the proliferation of mother-headed families now constitutes something of a national economic emergency.'"

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America's Marriage Debate Depends on Civil Society

Ryan Messmore, First Things: On the Square, July 22, 2011

"According to a joint report from the Institute for American Values and several other organizations, family fragmentation costs U.S. taxpayers at least $112 billion each year."

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Behind Mothers Who Abuse, an Absence of Marriage

Carolyn Moynihan, MercatorNet blog Family Edge, July 4, 2011

"Sociologist [and Institute senior fellow] Brad Wilcox comments: 'This new federal study indicates that these cases are simply the tip of the abuse iceberg in American life. According to the report, children living with their mother and her boyfriend are about 11 times more likely to be s--ually, physically, or emotionally abused than children living with their married biological parents. Likewise, children living with their mother and her boyfriend are six times more likely to be physically, emotionally, or educationally neglected than children living with their married biological parents. In other words, one of the most dangerous places for a child in America to find himself in is a home that includes an unrelated male boyfriend -- especially when that boyfriend is left to care for a child by himself.'"

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On Second Thought, Don't Get Married

Dr. Neil Clark Warren, founder of, The Huffington Post, July 5, 2011

"A significant amount of research data, including an in-depth report by the Center for Marriage and Families at the Institute for American Values, buttresses my clinical impressions that parental divorce (or failure to marry) appears to increase children's risk of dropping out of high school. Moreover, children whose parents divorce have higher rates of psychological problems and other mental illnesses. And ultimately, divorce begets divorce; i.e., when you grow up outside an intact marriage, you have a greater likelihood of having children outside a marriage or getting a divorce yourself."

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To Kevork or Not to Kevork, That Is the Question

Amy Ziettlow [Institute affiliate scholar], The Huffington Post, July 13, 2011

"Jack Kevorkian died several months ago, in a hospital bed, hooked to machines, suffering from chronic illness, a frequent flier in the same hospital where he died. He could have ended his life prior to going to the hospital one last time, but he did not. On first glance, we may be tempted to infer that his choices at the end of his life call into question the validity of his life-long crusade for the right to die. Maybe. Or maybe his choice gives us a glimpse of how knowing and following what we believe about life, and hence about death, is far more complicated than a checked box on an Advanced Directives document."

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A Million Stories: Betting on White

Holly Otterbein, Philadelphia City Paper, June 30, 2011

"Anti-casino activists see the issue in an even darker light: Paul Boni, a board member of [Institute partner] Stop Predatory Gambling, says, 'They can get as many Asian people as possible inside the casino to lose their money. They haven't made much progress on other diversity issues, but they're good on that one.'"

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Fighting to Keep Casinos Out of Homes

Charlie Butts,, June 30, 2011

"Les Bernal, [Institute partner and] executive director of Stop Predatory Gambling, is planning a vigorous fight against its passage. 'This is another effort by the predatory gambling interests in this country to try to put a casino into every home in America 24 hours a day, seven days a week,' he warns."

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Analysis: A Year After Pa. Gets Table Games, Younger Customers Are Bringing in the Bigger Bucks

Donald Gilliland, Patriot-News, July 10, 2011

"Paul Boni, a Philadelphia attorney and board member of the national group [and Institute partner] Stop Predatory Gambling, recently called on the Gaming Control Board to 'demand copies of the casinos' databases and make them public.' Boni contends the casinos know who's most likely addicted and prey on them."

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Pulling Up to a Curb Near You: Powerball

Danielle Douglas, The Washington Post, July 10, 2011

"Not everyone is keen on these efforts to gin up business. Les Bernal, [Institute partner and] executive director of D.C.-based Stop Predatory Gambling, argues that 'going into neighborhoods to push the lottery in a weak economy' is irresponsible. Mobile operations, along with D.C. Lottery's efforts to legalize online gambling within city limits, he added, will result in reckless spending and drive local residents further into debt."

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Casino Table Games Generate Millions for Pennsylvania

Suzette Parmley,, July 19, 2011

"Farrell expects table-games revenue to remain depressed until at least the first quarter of 2012, as 'offerings in Pennsylvania continue to mature.' But that 'maturing' only means more state residents will continue losing, said Philadelphia lawyer Paul Boni, a board member of the national anti-casino group [and Institute partner] Stop Predatory Gambling who has vigorously opposed SugarHouse and a potential second casino in the city."

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