This will apply to all marriages that were legal where performed, even if not recognized by the state the couple lives in. Examples of situations where it would apply include retirement benefits, survivor compensation, spousal privilege against testifying in court proceedings, conjugal visits in prisons and hospitals, and bankruptcy. The Justice Department will give further details in a policy memorandum to be released Monday, Feb. 10.
We've all seen a thousand articles reminiscing about how children used to roam freely through woods and city alike, inventing their own games and choosing their own playmates. But it's rare to find an explanation of WHY that's so important for children's development.
Think about the saying, "I'm taking my marbles and going home!" Would our children and grandchildren even know what that means? It is the fact that play is voluntary - - that your playmates are free NOT to play with you - - that makes us learn lasting lessons in how to get along with others; and that requires truly voluntary play, not a "playdate" or an "activity", Peter Gray writes in The Independent:
I’m a research bio-psychologist with a PhD, so I’ve done lots of school. I’m a pretty good problem-solver, in my work and in the rest of my life, but the real problems I’ve faced in life include physical ones, social ones, moral ones, and emotional ones ... . They require the judgement, wisdom and creative ability that come from life experiences. For children, those experiences are embedded in play.
I grew up in the United States in the 1950s, at the tail end of what the historian Howard Chudacoff refers to as the “golden age” of children’s free play. School days were six hours long ... half-hour recesses in the morning and afternoon, and an hour at lunch. Teachers may or may not have watched us, from a distance, but if they did, they rarely intervened. We wrestled on the school grounds, climbed trees in the adjacent woods, played with knives and had snowball wars in winter ... we were free – free to play for hours each day after school, all day on weekends, and all summer long. Homework was non-existent in primary school and minimal in secondary school. There seemed to be an implicit understanding, then, that children need lots of time and freedom to play. ...
The most important skills that children everywhere must learn in order to live happy, productive, moral lives are skills that cannot be taught in school. Such skills cannot be taught at all. They are learned and practised by children in play. These include the abilities to think creatively, to get along with other people and cooperate effectively, and to control their own impulses and emotions.
All mammals play when they are young and those that have the most to learn play the most. ... Play is the natural means by which children and other young mammals educate themselves. ... Children everywhere are born with a strong drive to play with other children and such play is the means by which they acquire social skills and practise fairness and morality. Play, by definition, is voluntary, which means that players are always free to quit. If you can’t quit, it’s not play. All players know that, and so they know that to keep the game going, they must keep the other players happy. The power to quit is what makes play the most democratic of all activities. When players disagree about how to play, they must negotiate their differences and arrive at compromises. Each player must recognise the capacities and desires of the others, so as not to hurt or offend them in ways that will lead them to quit. Failure to do so would end the game and leave the offender alone, which is powerful punishment for not attending to the others’ wishes and needs. The most fundamental social skill is the ability to get into other people’s minds, to see the world from their point of view. Without that, you can’t have a happy marriage, or good friends, or co-operative work partners. Children practise that skill continuously in their social play.
In play, children also learn how to control their impulses and follow rules. All play – even the wildest-looking varieties – has rules. A play-fight, for example, differs from a real fight in that the former has rules and the latter doesn’t. In the play-fight you cannot kick, bite, scratch, or really hurt the other person; and if you are the larger and stronger of the two, you must take special care to protect the other from harm. While the goal of a real fight is to end it by driving the other into submission, the goal of a play-fight is to prolong it by keeping the other happy. In sociodramatic play – the kind of imaginary play exemplified by young children’s games of “house” or pretending to be superheroes – the primary rule is that you must stay in character. ... The art of being a human being is the art of controlling impulses and behaving in accordance with social expectations.
"But marriage, besides being the best arrangement for children, has the added benefit of being good for grown-ups. ... we know that being unmarried is one of the highest risk factors for poverty. And no, splitting expenses between unmarried people isn’t the same. This is because marriage creates a tiny economy fueled by a magical concoction of love, selflessness and permanent commitment that holds spirits aloft during tough times. ..."
Actually, it's not some magical mystery mojo, it's another ancient human institution known as "contract". People are more likely to be there for each other, be each other's economic safety net, and forego their own individual career goals to specialize their funcitons in a larger unit, when they are in a defined relationship with some level of clarity, reciprocity and permanence. — JC
Parker also writes:
"... Democrats avoid the M-word for fear of trespassing on important constituent turfs, especially women’s. For many women, the push for marriage is seen as subterfuge for reversing their hard-won gains. [Most Republicans] shy away from the M-word for fear of being tagged Neanderthals who are wedded to old-fashioned gender paradigms and nurse secret desires to keep women pregnant, subjugated and in the kitchen where they belong (speaking as alleged, not as is). Or, God forbid, that they be accused of waging war against women.
"Then again, perhaps it is the way some Republican men talk about women that is so off-putting, rather than what they are trying to say about the value of marriage. It is not helpful when, for example, they insinuate that single mothers are using welfare to avoid marriage. Or when some of the more nostalgic members of the GOP latch onto the idea of 'welfare queens.' See what I mean? It’s hard to separate the value of marriage from the 'mawidge' of loaded rhetoric and demeaning insinuation.
An article by Rachel Aviv in the New Yorker magazine of December 2, 2013 follows very closely and scrupulously the inexorable process our present legal system provides to turn children into adoptable commodities and parents into strangers. In portraying this process and system, the author gives a very detailed history of one case, quoting the exact words of the child, the parent, and the social workers, lawyers, judges and psychologists involved. This is supplemented by excerpts from various academic studies of the process. It also gives a brief history of how child neglect came to be viewed as a problem for the legal system and adoption came to be regarded as a “felt need” and then a right. This is a mostly unprecedented article that could prove very informative to lawyers and judges who see such cases in the course of their work. — Richard Crouch