What’s so good about marriage anyway?

The Economist reports that the divorce rate is down, that marriage contributes to higher wages, increased responsibility in American males and more well-adjusted kids. The emphasis, however, is on the fact that Americans at lower income and lower education levels have less stable marriages and more children out of wedlock. But marriage itself is almost always contributes to measurable benefits. [Economist]

Meanwhile, two sociologists, one from Boston College and one from the University of Massachussetts, are arguing, essentially, that modern marriage is a negative force: "Marriage and community are often at odds with one another…. Instead of bolstering community involvement, marriage diminishes ties to relatives, neighbors and friends." [Washington Post]

Unqualified talk about the goodness of marriage is hard to come by.