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Did Governor Reagan contribute to gay marriage?

Dr. Jim Denison is the CEO of Denison Forum.
His Daily Article and podcast globally reach over 160,000 subscribers. Dr. Denison guides readers to discern today’s news—biblically. He is the author of multiple books and has taught on the philosophy of religion and apologetics at several seminaries. Prior to launching Denison Forum in 2009, he pastored churches in Texas and Georgia. He holds a Ph.D and a Master of Divinity from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Jim and his wife, Janet, live in Dallas, Texas. They have two sons and four grandchildren.

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Republican Ronald Reagan is sworn in as governor of California as he takes the oath of office from California State Justice Marshall F. McCombs in Sacramento, California, January 2, 1967 (Credit: AP)

The younger they are, the more accepting of same-sex marriage Americans tend to be.  For instance, support among the “Millennials” (adults from 18 to 32 years old) has risen from 51 percent in 2003 to 70 percent in 2013, the largest increase for any generation.  Could a bill signed by Ronald Reagan in 1969 be to blame?

As governor of California, Mr. Reagan signed the nation’s first no-fault divorce bill; it took effect on January 1, 1970.  He later called this decision one of the biggest mistakes of his political life.  Nearly every state in the Union quickly followed suit.  Previously, a divorce was granted only if a spouse was shown to have committed adultery, abandonment, felony, or similar acts.  After no-fault divorce was legalized, divorce rates skyrocketed.

For instance, the divorce rate among baby boomers has surged by more than 50 percent in the last 20 years.  At the same time, more adults are remaining single.  In 2010, a third of adults ages 46 through 64 were divorced, separated or had never been married; this proportion of the population has risen by 250 percent since 1970.

How is this trend relevant to the same-sex marriage debate?

Last week, an article in American Thinker pointed out “the huge number of . . . young people, perhaps a majority, who are children of divorce.”  As a result, “these young people are being polled as to whether there should be legalization of homosexual marriage; however, they very often do not even have the frame of reference to understand what is meant by traditional marriage.”  The author likens marriage in their minds to “going steady,” a once-popular trend where teenage couples dated exclusively until they “broke up.”  If marriage is the new “going steady,” why not make it available to anyone?

Here’s one reason: A study by a University of Texas sociologist documents notable differences between children raised by same-sex parents and those who grow up in a mother-father home.  The author concludes: “Children appear most apt to succeed well as adults when they spend their entire childhood with their married mother and father, and especially when the parents remain married to the present day.”

For the sake of our young adult population and their children, it is vital that America reclaim Jesus’ teaching that marriage is intended for a man and a woman, and that “what God has joined together, let man not separate” (Matthew 19:5-6).  If you’re married, have you asked God to protect and strengthen your marriage today?  If you’re unmarried, have you prayed for the married couples close to you?

Actress Audrey Hepburn said, “If I get married, I want to be very married.”  Do you agree?

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